SMU celebrates Constitution Day on campus


SMU celebrated Constitution Day on Tuesday in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center with food, games and prizes to honor the three branches of government. The student body memorialized the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“The Preamble to the Constitution states that the document is made by the citizens of the United States ‘in order to form a more perfect Union.’ Today should be a celebration of how far our nation has come to unite together since the ratification of the Constitution,” College Republicans Secretary Mary Anna Billingsley said.

Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 men on Sept. 17, 1787. The document, beginning with those famous words, “We the people…,” also recognizes all American born citizens as well as those who have become naturalized citizens.

“This is an opportunity to highlight civic education, which is in a dire situation right now,” President of College Democrats Michael Wilburn said.

Federal law established this observance in 2004, requiring all public institutions of learning receiving federal funds to acknowledge Constitution Day and host education programs. In addition to celebrations such as ours at SMU, schools also provide web links where people can gain more knowledge on the subject.

“This day is important because the Constitution is the supreme law of the United States and today we follow it just as we did hundreds of years ago,” Billingsley said.

Most of the students on campus did not know today was Constitution Day or that SMU was hosting an event to recognize it.

“I had no idea that today was Constitution Day. I feel like we typically celebrate the Fourth of July as an Independence Day holiday,” SMU junior Katie Bonds said.

Wilburn believes this lack of education about major events in America’s history is because the Constitution is just a written document. Young audiences frequently find this boring compared to the firework type celebration of Independence Day that is full of “images of revolution.”

“I think it’s important for us not to forget our founding fathers,” sophomore Nick Sotta said, “It’s because of them that we have our freedom and rights as citizens.”

Many SMU students enjoyed participating in the trivia games and were awarded prizes for their correct answers. It was a creative way of educating the attendees of the duties of each branch, the limitations of power and how the Constitution, our most powerful document, created these three branches to work with one another to make freedom and democracy possible.

The Office of the Provost, Central University Libraries, Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Office of Student Affairs all cosponsored this event.

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