It begins with a famous paragraph of fifty-two words: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Since 1952, Sept. 17 has been set aside to celebrate the signing of the United States’ founding document, according to the Library of Congress’ website.
Throughout this week, the constitution is being celebrated here on campus, culminating in Constitution Day this Saturday. All state schools are required to recognize Constitution Day in some way.
“Beyond being required, it’s just a great thing to do,” says Ginger Zierdt, Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education.
One of the signature features of this year’s Constitution Day recognition at MSU is the “Democracy Plaza,” located outside the west entrance of Armstrong Hall. Large sheets of paper have been set out which pose new thought-provoking constitutional questions each day, such as [EXAMPLES]. Students are encouraged to express their opinions using the markers provided.
“This year we’re trying to be even more intentionally engaging with the students’ actual thoughts on various matters related to the Constitution,” says Zierdt, adding that she’s been impressed with the level of engagement at Democracy Plaza.
“[It’s about] being able to have free expression and dialogue, lending to our Bill of Rights, to be able to have an open discussion about disparate viewpoints and perspectives.”
Zierdt says the idea was formed in the early 2000’s by the University of Purdue and Indiana University and has since spread across the country.
She adds that “[we’re] trying to build a case that perhaps someday in Minnesota State, Mankato’s future, we might be able to have a permanent installed Democracy Plaza.”
In addition to Democracy Plaza, students will also be able to participate in constitutional trivia this Friday. From 11:30 to 1:00 in the CSU, costumed colonialists will be in the CSU, reading off trivia from scrolls and offering prizes.
Along with more on the Constitution Day events at MSU, a wealth of information on the Constitution can be found at mnsu.edu/constitutionday.