Students Read Aloud Constitution to Encourage Voting

Associate dean of the Honors College Philip Philips reads a portion of the U.S. Constitution in front of the Honors College building. (Photo by Lillian Chapman)

Story by Lillian Chapman

Students are reading aloud portions of the U.S. Constitution over loudspeakers at different locations on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus every day this week for “Constitution Week.” The annual celebration commemorates the Sept. 17 anniversary of the Consitution’s signing.

In 2004, Congress made it a federal law that any institution that uses government funding must observe Constitution Day. Most colleges disregard the importance of Constitution Day, but MTSU puts a lot of effort into getting students to take part in and learn about their government. 

“This is an opportunity for everyone to participate on a yearly basis reading of the Constitution to create greater awareness and hopefully engagement and participation,” said Philip Philips, Associate Dean of the Honors College.

“Constitution Day is a ratifying of the Constitution by each and every one of us American citizens every year.”

Mary Evins, head of the American Democracy Project at Middle Tennessee State University

Mary Evins, head of the American Democracy Project at MTSU, said that it is important for the younger generation to be educated on the government in which they will be voting for, yet many Americans have never read even a part of the Constitution. Open-air reading of the Constitution encourages students to vote in elections and learn more about government. 

“Constitution Day is a ratifying of the Constitution by each and every one of us American citizens every year,” said Dr. Evins.

The students who participate in the readings get a deeper understanding of the Constitution and feel more involved with MTSU campus activities. 

“I think Constitution Day is extremely important because Tennessee is really dropping the ball as far as civic education goes,” said Kayla Jenkins, a student involved with the project. “Most students get to MTSU, and they don’t know that they have to register to vote, what’s going on in their communities, or how the government really works at all, so I think that we as a campus organization are trying to make up for where our education system is lacking.”

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