Penn State to observe Constitution Day events Wednesday

September 15, 2008

University Park, Pa. — More than a simple celebration of history, Penn State students and faculty will transform Sept. 17, United States Constitution Day, into hands-on explorations of what the nation's blueprint for democracy means amid the confusion of 21st-century electioneering, armed combat by American troops, technological challenges to privacy and Internet access to nearly everything.
Students will provide interactive installations open to the public throughout the day at the Willard Building patio, the Pollock Road Entrance to the HUB-Robeson Center, the Palmer Museum of Art patio, and the Obelisk between Willard and Sackett Buildings. Multi-dimensional structures, called writers' blocks, will make it possible for individuals to share their responses to a variety of constitutional questions with others. The writers' blocks were designed by faculty member Peter Aeschbacher and his architecture students.
Voting, of course, is the bedrock of any constitutional democracy. Each of the locations will provide nonpartisan access to voter registration in time for citizens to cast their ballots in the Nov. 4 general elections. A coalition of student groups led by Represent and is hoping to top last year's single-day registration record.
"The foundation of American patriotism is a democracy that eschews celebrity and empty promises in favor of enlightened public decision-making based on education and information — and that's what Penn State is all about,"  according to Jeremy Cohen, associate vice president and senior associate dean for Undergraduate Education.  "Embedding constitutional understanding into the curriculum and then sharing that curriculum with others provides an effective laboratory for democratic learning," added Cohen, who has overall responsibility for Penn State's Constitution Day activities. Constitution Day at Penn State is sponsored by the Laboratory for Public Scholarship and Democracy and the Office of Undergraduate Education.
Implementing the vision of a curriculum embedded with citizenship preparation this year are students studying architecture, classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, communication arts and sciences, communications, education, English and political science who will facilitate the installations, provide relevant reading, and host other campus activities.
Students from English and communication arts and science classes will deliver public readings in the Willard Building area.  
"A Constitution Day 2008 Community Forum on NAPSTER" is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in room 102 Chambers Building.

State College Area High School juniors and seniors have been invited to participate as well as Penn State students and the community at large.

The rain date for outdoor events is Friday, Sept. 19.      

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009