* Purdue University Constitution Day Page

September 8, 2008

Purdue to celebrate Constitution Day on Sept. 17

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's celebration of Constitution and Citizenship Day on Sept. 17 will use displays, exhibitions and quiz shows to help educate people about the freedoms of every American citizen.

Events will be in held in the Purdue Memorial Union main lobby and room 118 and Provost Randy Woodson will speak during the opening session at 9 a.m. Purdue's ROTC color guard will present the colors. Others scheduled to participate are state representatives Sheila Klinker of Lafayette and Joe Micon of West Lafayette. Events are scheduled to conclude at 3 p.m.

Phillip VanFossen, the Ackerman Professor of Social Studies Education and director of the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship, said the focus this year will help citizens better understand how the U.S. Constitution helped shape the nation they live in today.

"It's important that every American be more educated and aware about their freedoms and rights, but this is especially important with those who are in college because these are our future leaders," VanFossen said.

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," VanFossen said. "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."

At 1:30 p.m. a "Jeopardy"-style quiz show will give Purdue and local celebrities the chance to try their hand at answering questions about the Constitution and U.S. history.

The following events also are scheduled:

* Continuous play 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.

* An interactive timeline from the National Constitution Center and a "Save the Bill of Rights" multimedia exhibit.

* The League of Women Voters' display with information about voting centers and local government officials. The group also will be registering voters.

* A video of Justice Learning's "Conversations with Supreme Court Justices." Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer talk about the Constitution with high school students. The justices discuss why we have and need the Constitution, what federalism is, how implicit and explicit rights are defined, and how separation of powers ensures that no one branch of government obtains too much power.

Refreshments will be available, as well as giveaways, including an autographed Purdue football and basketball, Purdue Constitution Day T-shirts and pocket-sized Constitutions.

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

Writer: Clyde Hughes, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Phillip VanFossen, (765) 494-2367,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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