By Lori Dresner, Managing Editor/News Editor
Those who walk over the Millennium Student Center Bridge this month will likely notice the array of cards on the windows that respond to the question, “How can we secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our children?” The Bridge Expressions project will be just one of many events that are part of Constitution Week this year.
Lynn Staley, associate teaching professor and Assistant Director and advisor of Gender Studies, was a committee organizer of Constitution Week. She explained that the planning committee decided to focus on the Preamble this year and that each of the week’s events ties in with something listed in the statement.
Staley said that the MSC Bridge was chosen as the place for the Bridge Expressions project because, “We see the bridge as our most useful public space because everybody crosses it.”
She continued, “It’s really gratifying when you’ve worked at a project like this and you see people stopping and looking at your project.”
Constitution Week begins September 12 and runs through September 17, which marks the signing of the Constitution in 1787. The week will kick off with awards for winning artwork and essays and presentations at 2:30 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge. In the art and essay contests, students were asked to respond to the question, “What can we do to be more united and truly form ‘a more perfect union’?”
Patricia Zahn, Director of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision, and committee organizer of Constitution Week, explained how UMSL commemorates the signing of the Constitution, saying, “Each educational institution in the United States that receives federal funding must ‘observe’ certain special days of action and reflection. Constitution Day is one of these. But instead of merely taking note of the day, we at UMSL use this as an opportunity to create a campus-wide initiative that both observes the day, and tries to make it meaningful for the campus community.”
Two film screenings that tie in with different elements of the Preamble will be held during the week. On September 13 at 11 a.m. in Century Room C, an interactive discussion will follow the film screening on Where Soldiers Come From. On September 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in 494 Lucas Hall, the film Standing up to Bullying will be screened and a discussion featuring Tina Meier from the Megan Meier Foundation will follow.
Triton Toastmasters will be held on September 15 at noon in 101 Woods Hall. The event will feature speeches focused on the Preamble. Also on September 15 at 12:30 p.m. in Century Room C, an interactive discussion called The ‘General Welfare’ Gets Specific: Sex, Skin, and the Constitution will take place. Panelists will be discussing relationships between race, gender, sexual identity, and the U.S. Constitution.
Staley encourages students, faculty, and staff to get involved in the Bridge Expressions project by filling out a card and responding to the liberty question in six words or less. The filled out cards will be displayed on the MSC Bridge through the end of the month.
Throughout the week, information and forms for voter registration will be available through the Office of Student Involvement and the Political Science Department. Various student organizations will also be hosting voter registrations.
To fill out a card or obtain a set of cards to distribute to a class, contact Lynn Staley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Student organizations who would like to get involved in Constitution Week can contact Staley as well.