Purdue to celebrate Constitution Day

September 12, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's celebration of Constitution Day on Tuesday (Sept. 17) will feature videos, exhibits and quiz shows aimed at educating American citizens about the freedoms they enjoy.

Events will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Purdue Memorial Union, Room 118. The celebration is free and open to the public.

Student teams and local celebrities will take part in Jeopardy-style quiz-offs on the Constitution at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. outside Room 118. Participating in the celebrity quiz-off at 12:30 will be the mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette, state representatives and Purdue faculty.

Other activities, most of which run throughout the day, include:

* Democracy Plaza. Set up with whiteboards and social media, it provides participants an opportunity to express and read diverging thoughts on social, political, economic and other issues relevant to the campus, city, state, country and world. Event organizers will offer a question every hour, and participants can Tweet their answers to @PUConstitution. Those who do not have a Twitter account are welcome to leave their responses on the whiteboard in Room 118.

* Online interactive games iCivics, which are simulations of a Supreme Court hearing and constitutional law firm.

* Showings of "A More Perfect Union," a video by the National Constitution Center.

* A banned-book exhibit, sponsored by Purdue University Libraries, displaying books that have been censored throughout history.

* Showings of America Rock's "The Preamble," a classic cartoon treatment of the events leading up to the Constitution's signing.

* A League of Women Voters display with voter information and registration.     

* A video of Justice Learning's "Conversations with Supreme Court Justices," featuring Justice Stephen Breyer and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Congress passed a provision in 2004 declaring Sept. 17 as Constitution Day. All federally funded schools are asked to develop educational programs to celebrate this foundational day in U.S. history.

"The point we want to make everyone aware of is that no matter who you are, the Constitution has an impact in nearly every part of your life," said Phillip VanFossen, the Ackerman Professor of Social Studies Education and director of the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship. "It's something we all take for granted, and studies have shown that a vast majority of people don't know much about the document. Constitution Day gives schools a brief, yet important, chance to change this."

The College of Education's Ackerman Center is coordinating the events, which are sponsored by the offices of the president and vice president for student services, Purdue Student Government, and the Purdue Student Union Board.

More information on Constitution Day is available at http://www.purdue.edu/constitution-day/ 

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Sources: Phillip VanFossen, 765-494-2367, vanfoss@purdue.edu

Asta Balkute, 765-496-3335, abalkue@purdue.edu

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