Constitution Day 2016 celebrations planned across Penn State campuses

Penn State’s annual celebration of Constitution Day will take place on Friday, Sept. 16 at University Park, with events happening throughout the month of September across Penn State campuses. Highlights, listed by campus, can be found below.

Constitution Day is a national holiday and day of educational programming enacted by Congress. This is the 10th year Penn State will be promoting thoughtful observation of the creation and signing of the United States Constitution.

Penn State activities from around the Commonwealth include voter registration tables, U.S. Constitution trivia, and special presentations by faculty members and community leaders.

At University Park, the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS) will host a special event, “Constitution Day: Between the First and Second Amendments,” from noon to 2 p.m., in 232 HUB-Robeson Center. The University Park event will encourage conversations about the spaces between the First and Second Amendments and a companion website featuring essays by 14 faculty and graduate students in CAS will offer a space to further explore these often divisive issues from different perspectives. Topics include immigration policies on the U.S-Mexico border, brutality in video games, legal cases, reflections on teaching, safe spaces, Hollywood violence, and the history of race relations in the United States.

The event will also feature posters by undergraduate students motivated to educate their community about the U.S. Constitution and a guest provocation written by Harry Shearer, satirist, multimedia artist, and the voice of dozens of characters on “The Simpsons.” Pocket copies of the U.S. Constitution will be available for attendees. The event and website will help students and other community members learn about and reflect on the document that began the United States’ ongoing process toward a “more perfect union.”

University Libraries is also featuring a Constitution Day research guide with information about the history of the day, as well as programming ideas and links to online resources.

In addition, an event will be held from noon to 2 p.m., in 321 HUB-Robeson Center, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the HUB Lawn shooting as part of a new Penn State series, "Talking Together About Guns" (TTAG), that provides campus and community members the opportunity to speak, listen and be heard in regards to the national epidemic of gun violence. "Talking Together About Guns" is sponsored by the Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose; the College of Communications; the University Libraries; the Program on Social Thought; the McCourtney Civic Deliberation Professorship; the Rock Ethics Institute; and the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences.

Visit local campus event pages for details on Penn State’s Constitution Day celebrations. Highlights include:


Invisible Wounds: A Family’s Story | Monday, Sept. 19

Presentation by Major General (Ret.) Mark Graham and Carol Graham

Washington D.C. Trip for Students | Sat., Sept. 24


Noontime Constitution Day Activities and Voter Registration | Friday, Sept. 16


Voter Registration | Wednesday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Sept. 24


Constitution Day Celebrations | Friday, Sept. 16

Noontime voter registration, live music, games and activities, complimentary pocket copies of the United States Constitution, and Ben Franklin impersonator


Constitution Day Trivia | Friday, Sept. 16


Voter Registration | now—Friday, Sept. 16

Special library displays and patriotic music in the Carillion


Constitution Day Celebrations | Friday, Sept. 16

Informational tables and online quiz on the Constitution; complimentary pocket copies of the United States Constitution


Voter Registration and Constitution Day Facts | Friday, Sept. 16


Constitution Day Celebrations | Friday, Sept. 16

Readings from the U.S. Constitution by Uncle Sam and complimentary pocket copies of the United States Constitution


Current Events and the Constitution | Monday, Sept. 19

Anne S. Douds, lecturer in criminal justice, moderator. Speakers Steven A. Peterson, professor of politics and public affairs, and Paul B. Thompson, senior lecturer in homeland security


Constitution Day: The Quiet Celebration | Thursday, Sept. 15

Lecture by Harold Aurand Jr.


Common Hour: Campus Symposium Discussion of Immigration | Monday, Sept. 19

Complimentary pocket copies of the United States Constitution


Wear Your Red, White, and Blue Day | Friday, Sept. 16

Constitutional games and activities, photos with Uncle Sam (photos are encouraged to be tagged with #PSNKConstitutionDay), and complimentary pocket copies of the United States Constitution


Constitution Day Celebrations | Friday, Sept. 16

U.S. Constitution Trivia, How State Became State interactive session, more here.


U.S. Constitution Facts Scavenger Hunt | Monday, Sept. 19


Constitution Day: Between the First and Second Amendments | Friday, Sept. 16

Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights Against Progressive Reform | Thursday, Sept. 15

David Bernstein, professor of Constitutional Law, George Mason University

Hosted by The Penn State Law Federalist Society and Penn State Law

The Constitutional Right to Counsel | Thursday, Sept. 15

A panel discussion on access to justice, including the crisis in legal aid funding which prevents many low-income people from accessing critical legal services

Hosted by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the Centre County Bar Association

On Sept. 6, Penn State's Dickinson Law School in conjunction with the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, co-sponsored the Winfield C. Cook Constitution Day Address, “Celebrating a Dead Letter or a Living Document?” presented by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn. Since 1992, Rev. Lynn has served as executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to the preservation of the Constitution’s religious liberty provisions.


Constitution Day Celebrations | Monday, Sept. 19

Special Constitution displays in the library and complimentary pocket copies of the United States Constitution.


Constitution Day Celebrations | Friday, Sept. 16

Complimentary pocket copies of the Constitution


Annual Constitution Day Quiz | Monday, Sept. 19

Visit your local campus event page for further details.

For more information on University  Park events, contact Rosa Eberly, associate professor and director of the Intercollege Minor in Civic and Community Engagement or Brad Serber, postdoctoral scholar and coordinator of the intercollege minor in civic and community engagement.