Constitution Day

The Intercollege Minor in Civic and Community Engagement, in tandem with the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, hosts the annual Penn State “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” celebration on September 17. This event highlights the ongoing societal relevance and dynamic quality of the United States Constitution, and offers an opportunity to reflect on the rights, responsibilities, and perils afforded by the United States' constitutive document.

Constitution Day 2020 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by engaging students in active research and collaborative learning with other students and community members on issues surrounding the U.S. Constitution. This year, our collaborating organizations focus on civic engagement around the 8th as well as the 19th amendments to create positive change and work toward “a more perfect union.”

The 19th Amendment, ratified on August 18, 1920, declared that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The 8th Amendment, part of the U.S. Bill of Rights, ratified in 1789, declared that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

You can read the full text of each amendment at the U.S. National Archives website.


Thank you to Dr. Clarence Lang, Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, for providing a foreword for the event, which you can watch below.


Thank you to Dean Danielle Conway of Dickinson Law for offering remarks about "Women's Suffrage, the 19th Amendment, and the Duality of a Movement,” which you can watch below.


The core of Constitution Day is the work put forth by the students in Foundations of Civic and Community Engagement (CAS 222 / CIVCM 211), the only prescribed course for the Intercollege Minor in Civic and Community Engagement. These students have created posters on a specific element of the constitution that interests them, with the goal of educating and engaging other students and the community. These posters can be viewed through Kaltura.

Having difficulty accessing posters through Kaltura? You can view the posters on the Poster Gallery page.


Thank you to our four participating organizations for offering information below on how you can become engaged with collaborative projects around the 8th Amendment.

The Bail Project

You can visit the Bail Project website and the After Cash Bail Policy Framework website for more information


The Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

You can visit the Center for Immigrants' Rights Clinic website for more information


The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and The Prison Journalism Project

You can visit the Prison Journalism Project's website for more information


You can also find information below about registering to vote.

Constitution Day is sponsored by the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, which also houses and sponsors the Intercollege Minor in Civic and Community Engagement (CIVCM), and by the College of the Liberal Arts. 

Follow this link to Constitution Day events at Penn State Dickinson Law, including a 7 p.m. livestream talk on Sept. 17 by Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning historian and author of How to Be an Antiracist.

To register to vote in Pennsylvania in November's general election, visit https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/pages/VoterRegistrationApplication.aspx

For information about mail-in and absentee ballots to vote in Pennsylvania in November's general election, after registering to vote visit https://www.votespa.com/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Mail-and-Absentee-Ballot.aspx

For information about other states' deadlines and processes for registering to vote and voting in this November's general election, visit https://www.campusvoteproject.org/state-student-voting-guides 

Many thanks to William Aungst, Emily Bush-Clark, Kevin Conaway, Dean Danielle Conway, Robin Duffee, Justin Kulp, Dean Clarence Lang, Zoë Martin, Bonnie Sierlecki, Benita Smith, Denise Solomon, Andrew Wright, Mason Slingerland, and Courtney Verdelli for helping to make Constitution Day 2020 happen.

This event places Penn State in compliance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2005, which requires public schools and governmental offices to provide educational programs to promote a better understanding of the United States Constitution.