Purdue celebrates Constitution Day with fun, learning events

September 10, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – One of the nation's most important documents will be the focus of a fun, learning celebration during Purdue University's Constitution Day.

The annual event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 16), in Purdue Memorial Union, Room 118. The activities are free and open to the public.

Online games, simulations and videos are intended to teach people about the U.S. Constitution, as well as the freedoms citizens enjoy as a result. Participants can test their knowledge of the Constitution with online quizzes to enter a giveaway for Constitution Day T-shirts and autographed Purdue sports memorabilia.

Student teams will face off in two Jeopardy-style quiz shows on the U.S. Constitution at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. A celebrity quiz show will take place at 12:30 p.m. with featured contestants including state Rep. Sheila Klinker, Purdue Dean of Students Katie Sermersheim, Tippecanoe County Judge Michael Morrissey, Purdue Student Government Vice President Becca Wilmoth and Purdue Graduate Student Government President Andrew Zeller.

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

"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, Ackerman Center director. "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 an important chance to change this."

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

* In an area of PMU 118 named Democracy Plaza, participants can use Twitter to express and read thoughts on a litany of issues. Event organizers will prompt participants with a question every hour, and participants can tweet their answers to @Ackerman Center, #USConstitution. 

Those who do not have a Twitter account are welcome to leave their responses on the whiteboard in PMU 118 on the day of the event.

* "Which Founder are You?" and "Constitutional Rights, Origins and Travels" – online interactive games and resources through the National Constitution Center.

* Create your own constitutional law firm with “Do I Have Rights?” – ­an online simulation through iCivics.

* 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.

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

* 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 the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

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

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

Marianne Isaacs, 765-496-3335, misaacs@purdue.edu 

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