IUP will celebrate Constitution Day on September 13, 2010, with several events free and open to the community.
Constitution Day events are sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement and Student Leadership,
directed by Dr. Caleb Finegan, IUP professor of history. Constitution
Day commemorates the September 17 signing of the Constitution, which is
223 years old this year.
“I am watching, firsthand, the transformation of college students into concerned and active citizens,” Finegan said.
“Here at IUP, student interest in volunteerism and community service has increased steadily over the last few years, and I am especially heartened to witness the ways our students are–in the course of helping others–developing a political consciousness and what I hope becomes a lasting commitment to civic engagement. And, of course, this campuswide event celebrating the signing of the U.S. Constitution provides the perfect opportunity for all of us to reflect on our government, our freedoms, and our responsibilities as citizens of this country.”
Events begin with a public reading of the Constitution by members of the IUP community on September 13 from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Oak Grove. Dr. David Werner, interim president, will begin the reading with the inaugural passage of the Constitution.
Participants will receive a special Constitution Day T-shirt and a pocket-sized Constitution.
In the event of inclement weather, the reading will be held in the Hadley Union Building Delaware Room.
In collaboration with the Center for Student Life and Dr. Gwen Torges, Political Science Department, the Center for Civic Engagement and Student Leadership is offering “A Casual Conversation with the Framers of the U.S. Constitution” on September 13 at 6:00 p.m. in the Hadley Union Building Ohio Room.
The presentation is a conversation with five of the Constitution’s authors–Ben Franklin, James Madison, Charles Pinckney, Alexander Hamilton, and John Dickenson–and one of the most influential opponents of the documents, George Clinton.
The discussion is designed to provide insight into the authors’ thoughts when they wrote the U.S. Constitution, as well as how they might view contemporary constitutional challenges. Audience participation and questions are encouraged.
The presentation is the opening program for the Six O’Clock Series. This series, offered Monday evenings throughout the semester, gives students, employees, and community members the opportunity to learn about current issues and approach familiar topics from a new perspective.
“Everyone likes to say what an important, almost sacred, document the U.S. Constitution is,” Torges said. “But survey research suggests that most Americans haven’t read the Constitution and don’t have a clear idea of just what’s in it. The commemoration of Constitution Day provides an ideal opportunity to take a closer look at how our government is structured and what powers it does–or doesn’t–have. In the past, these events have generated a surprising level of interest and discussion about just what the Founding Fathers were thinking and what they hoped to achieve in writing the Constitution.”
Constitution Day events will conclude with distribution of mini-Constitutions on September 18 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the courtyard between Delaney and Putt halls, along Grant Street near Pratt Drive. Students handing out the mini-Constitutions are affiliated with the Center for Civic Engagement and Student Leadership.
This event has been planned in collaboration with the Center for Student Life in celebration of IUP Day, an event that allows student organizations to showcase their activities and recruit student members. Nonprofit agencies in Indiana County also
are invited to participate and recruit student volunteers.