A quirky requirement for receiving federal funds – hosting a Constitution Day event – was celebrated with a reading of the founding document, historic speeches and ice cream in Post Hall on the Mount Vernon campus last week.
About 200 people attended the event, which featured free ice cream and live readings of the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sept. 17 was officially recognized as Constitution Day in 2004, and universities who receive federal funds must celebrate the holiday, said Jen Solt, associate director of Mount Vernon Campus Life.
“The University has celebrated Constitution Day since it was mandated, though this is only the second year that we’ve done so in the form of a live reading and interactive fair,” Solt said in an e-mail.
University Marshal Jill Kasle, who teaches about the Constitution as a professor in the Honors Program, said “the most enjoyable part is actually reading the Constitution.”
Members of Kasle’s “Justice and the Legal System” class read the Preamble and attended most of the event.
“I really liked the reading of the Gettysburg Address and the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, especially because I came thinking that they were just going to read the Constitution,” sophomore Josh Benjamin said.
The sides of Post Hall were lined with tables that featured both student and University organizations. The organizations were presenting Constitution facts and information about how the Constitution affects the various groups.
Attendees had the option of completing a Constitution Day quiz in order to be entered to win the grand prize of two tickets to see Colonials Weekend headliner Jon Stewart.
“I wish more people were interested in this,” Solt said. “It’s a great event, and I would love to be able to get more students involved.”
The event was organized by Mount Vernon Campus Life and University Events.