September 6, 2007

Sacramento State celebrates Constitution’s 220th anniversary

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Most people know July 4 is America’s birthday, but they may be unaware that Sept. 17 is the birth of our official government. It was on that day in 1787 that 39 delegates signed the Constitution, and Sacramento State is observing the occasion with a week of activities, Sept. 17-21.

“Constitution week offers students, faculty and staff a variety of programs engaging civic and social issues to showcase the U.S. Constitution as a living document,” says Brendan McVeigh, of the Community Engagement Center, one of several organizers of the event.

The week’s lineup includes:

Monday-Friday: Voter registration and education with copies of the Constitution. Library Quad.

Monday: Chalk! a short film by Philippe Gosselin followed by a discussion, 1:30 p.m., Delta Suite, University Union.

Tuesday: “Federalist No. 51: The Shaping of the United States Constitution,” a lecture by Sacramento State Government professor Robert Friedman and Kristina Victor, 9:30 a.m., Cable Channel 17.

“Immigration Forum,” a discussion on the U.S. immigration debate, noon, Delta Suite, University Union.

Wednesday: Screening and panel discussion of Please Vote for Me, a lesson in democracy in which three 8-year-olds run for class monitor, 12:30 p.m., Hinde Auditorium, University Union. Co-sponsored by Hands On Sacramento.

“Democracy in Action,” the Associated Students board meeting, Foothill Suite, University Union, 2 p.m., or watch the meeting at www.asi.csus.edu.

“Women, Communities of Color and the Constitution,” a panel discussion, 3 p.m., Library Room 1010.

Friday: Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangara Maathai, 11 a.m., Redwood Room, University Union.

Thursday, Sept. 27: Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, screenings at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7 p.m., followed by panel discussions at noon and 8:40 p.m., University Ballroom.

Observance of the Constitution is mandated for every institution that is federally funded. Sacramento State’s program was launched three years ago by Mary Kirlin, associate professor in the public policy and administration graduate program.

She and McVeigh emphasize the importance of getting the students and as many campus disciplines as possible involved in the process. “Which is sort of the point,” Kirlin says.

Kirlin acknowledges that many people don’t know the specifics of the Constitution, but adds that most understand their general rights and responsibilities. “People have a sense of it,” she says.

This year’s observance has several sponsors, including the American Democracy Project, Associated Students Inc., the Women’s Resource Center, UNIQUE, the Community Engagement Center, and Student Activities.

For more information on the Sacramento State’s Constitution Week, visit www.csus.edu/cec/constitutionweek. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.