Constitution Day at St. Norbert College

The Constitution Day event at St. Norbert College was a success!  Albeit, it wasn’t as big of a success as we had hoped.  We happen to be a small campus that tends not to participate much in programs or hold events on campus; we hope to change that.  And of course, because of the draconian rules on displays, etc., we were put in a low traffic area.

However, we made the best of it.  We created a great display that included both the Free Speech wall, and the giant Consitution; actually, it was all 4 pages of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.  We also weren’t allowed to recruit during the event, but we had a sign-up sheet for those who wanted to learn more about the Constitution and participate in events such as this, and we were able to recruit an additional 7 people.

Entire Display

Left panel: Description of event, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights

Middle panel: Free Speech wall

Right panel: 4 pages of the Constitution

Bill of Rights and Declaration

Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights

Constitution

All 4 pages of the Constitution

The replicas of the documents are more of a “new organization’s solution.”  Since we didn’t have many members to help out, we decided to print the pages.  We went to the local FedEx Office, and printed 2ft x 4ft pages of these documents at 75 cents a square foot for a total of $8 a page.  We then followed the lead of UTSA by darkening and browning the documents with tea, and burning the edges.  And, to keep them protected for future Constitution Day events, we bought clear contact paper from the local Ace Hardware and essentially laminated them ourselves.  We also tried to place a strip of paper at the bottom of the Constitution and the Declaration for students to sign, however, it didn’t work out nearly as well as it did at UTSA.

Thankfully, our Free Speech wall was a much bigger success.  This was the first time anyone on campus had ever done anything like this, and people loved it.  We left it to one panel due to the lack of campus participation, which happened to work out just fine.  Instead of covering it with paper though, as had been suggested, we decided to allow students to write directly on the plywood.  It seemed to be a more interesting, intriguing experience for students to be able to write whatever they want on a “wall” in the middle of campus.

Free Speech wallStudents writing on wallStudents writing on wall2

We also had a table to give out free information regarding the Constitution and the founding of the country, and for students to take quizzes.  We had 3 ten question quizzes on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.  For students who got 3 correct, they could pick between the books The Morality of Capitalism, Strangle-hold: How Union Bosses Have Hijacked Our Government, Freedom Champions: Stories from the front lines in the war of ideas, and A Guide to Sound Money.  If they got 5 correct, they could also pick from a Ronald Reagan calendar or a bumper sticker “Big Government = Big Problems.”  And if they got 7 correct they could win a poster or a t-shirt from BureauCrash.  Not surprisingly, the most popular posters were of Friedrich Hayek which went first.  And of course, if a person took all 3 quizzes, they could win 3 different prizes, and many did.

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We also gave out many pocket Constitutions, but we had a lot left over, so we’ll continue handing them out to those who didn’t get any during our event.

The biggest problem we had with this event, was that we didn’t do enough marketing.  We didn’t have much time and only had our posters up for a couple of days.  We also didn’t utilize social media enough.  And, we failed to do enough to earn media attention such as following up releases with phone calls.  Lessons to be learned!

We also attached the quizzes, poster, and materials we used during this event.

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