YAL at Central Michigan University is a proud advocate of the principles this country was founded on. For this reason, Constitution Week was an exciting time for us. Helping spread the word about our rights as citizens of these United States to try and return our country to these principal roots, especially during a time where some of these most basic Constitutional liberties are being neglected, was an opportunity we at CMU were ready to seize.
We began our efforts with chalk. Prior to Constitution Day, we posed the question across our grounds: Do you know your rights? One member hand wrote a portion of the Declaration of Independence in the center of our campus in an effort to remind our peers just what these rights were intended to be.
Using our Constitution Week activism kits, YAL @ CMU set up a table in our library to muster up more information. When asked directly whether they knew their rights and wanted to protect them, most students were intrigued.
The idea that rights were being neglected had percolated in many of our peers. Students expressed interest in current issues such as free speech on the internet, the right to bear arms, and the overreach of federal government in what should be matters of the state. With pocket Constitutions in hand, we were able to help remind interested students exactly what their rights and the government’s responsibilities were.
For Constitution Day, our President, Ty Hicks, set up a presentation all about the philosophy and founding principles of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and how they are still incredibly relevant today. Members and interested students all received pocket Constitutions and were encouraged to help spread our message to their friends – Our Constitution spells out our rights as citizens, and it is imperative that we retain and protect these liberties.
The week following Ty’s presentation, though not technically Constitution Week any longer, YAL@CMU stayed within the theme by having Michigan Constitutional Advocate and Political Activist Peter Konetchy at our meeting to speak. Mr. Konetchy outlined in detail the enumerated powers of government as written in our Constitution and noted some of the ways our current system is abusing these powers and in some cases, completely ignoring them.
Overall, Constitution Week at CMU was a great success! We received 40+ sign ups from tabling and saw a great turnout (25+ head count for each) at our Constitution Week and Constitutionalism presentations. We passed out nearly all of our pocket Constitutions, so if nothing else, we can be assured that thanks to our efforts, CMU knows its rights!