On Tuesday, the Baker Ambassadors and the Chancellor's Honors Program jointly planned events to honor Constitution Day. Events were scheduled for the morning, but midday rain pushed the activities back to the evening at the Baker Center. A little rain, however, did not dissuade the students.
"We originally planned to have a booth set up to distribute copies of the Constitution and ask thought provoking questions about it," said Charleigh Cagle, junior in political science. The evening plans included voter registration, signing the Constitution and a guest speaker.
Constitution Day is a federal observance memorializing the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. Schools around the country use the day to raise awareness about the Constitution and its history. Since 2004, when the day became a national observance, thousands of young people have learned more about one of the most important founding documents of their country.
Abigail McKamey, junior in the College Scholars program, said that it is important for citizens to understand their Constitution.
"It is a document that affects us all, and it will continue to be in our lives because it has stood the test of time," she said.
"It is a testament to the power and veracity of the document."
Next to a table where the Constitution was displayed, another table offered voter registration forms. The Ambassadors and Honors students made it a priority to register students to vote. Most young people associate greater responsibilities and careers with adulthood, but the students present believed voting is a vital facet of citizenship, too.
"It is the first time that many students are voting and it's important for them to get involved in the process," said Aaron McClellan, senior in civil engineering.
Cagle agreed, adding that students should start voting now, making it a lifelong habit.
Although many students express reservations about voting in a state that is considered a pre-determined conservative victory, McKamey believes that the vote means more than the election for which it is cast.
"It is easy in a conservative state to feel like your vote may not have an impact on the election," said McKamey, "but when you vote, your vote becomes a part of history."
Students were also encouraged to sign a copy of the Constitution.
"We started signing the Constitution two years ago to show support for the Constitution and for America," said Cagle.
The signing of America's foundational document was more than just an individual gesture.
"We're sending a big message to everyone who sees it: that we're behind our country and we're behind the Constitution," said McKamey.
The evening concluded with a talk given by Dr. Ted Brown, a professor in the political science department. His talk focused on the importance of the Constitution as a living document that was intentionally written in vague terms. The drafters of the document wrote it this way so that it could be reinterpreted by subsequent generations.
"At 225 years old," said Brown, "the U.S. Constitution is the oldest constitution in the world today."