Constitution Week at Brown University

As we walked the free speech walls out to one Brown’s populated greens, I looked up to the clear blue sky and with the sun shining high, I savored the fact that it was a beautiful day for liberty. With the cafeteria to our backs and the green stretch before us, we intended to catch the lunch rush as the afternoon approached. Setting the walls up, I looked at the manifestation of our work, with the question above posed, “What does liberty mean to you?”

Wall 1

With our walls in position, and our Constitutions and material spread across the table, I and another member took our seats in anticipation as students began to pour out of class.

As time continued to pass, more and more students approached the walls with either curiosity or excitement compelling them. Our expectations were far exceeded, as the number of participants and liberty lovers continued to grow. Many students came up and engaged us in lengthy political and philosophical discussions, which only enhanced the attraction of the wall to those passing by. As discussions and debates would fizzle out we couldn’t help but feel invigorated with the sense that we were spreading awareness and opening channels for healthy discussion.

By the end of the day we had experienced a plethora of students, parents, and visitors who expressed their view of liberty. Some came up and wrote statements of simplicity, while others pondered the wall for moments on end, until scribbling deep insight on a vacant space. Regardless of what was written, the intent of promoting liberty and bringing awareness to this value in an engaging manner was achieved. With numerous signatures of interested students in hand and the sun sinking, we stood back to admire the artful expression. The walls represented all the varying perspectives and views of the student body, many of the phrases witty, humorous, or deep. Nonetheless, they all played a part in producing something far bigger –- an expression of liberty.   

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