WSU celebrates Constitution Day

WESTFIELD – Engaging students in the democratic process is one of the goals of Westfield Engages (WE), a civic engagement initiative that Westfield State University launched earlier this year. Civic engagement encompasses active citizenship, community involvement, advocacy, awareness of social issues, and the development of personal and social responsibility. One goal of WE is to integrate students into the democratic process. In honor of the 227th anniversary of the signing of the constitution, Westfield State University will hold constitution-themed activities on Constitution Day, Thursday, September 17.
Organized by the Westfield State University Department of Political Science, the university will host a voter registration drive from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Tim and Jeanne’s Dinning Commons. Cathy Molta, Director of Secretary of State William Galvin’s Western Mass. office, will conduct the registration.
The drive was planned by adjunct professor and former State Representative Michael Walsh of the political science department.
“It’s in everyone’s best interest to vote,” Walsh said. “In the ten years I’ve taught at the college level, I try to stress to my students if you aren’t willing to step up and protect your interests by voting, someone else will happily take your place and protect theirs.”
While the drive is geared toward students, it is open to the public and unregistered community members are welcome to sign up. Participants must have a driver’s license or state-issued ID in order to register.
Committed to creating socially informed and responsible citizens, Westfield State University encourages students to explore their interests in politics by offering various opportunities to learn about the democratic process. The university has a partnership with The Washington Center which allows students to live and intern in Washington, DC for a semester or summer. Potential work locations include the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, the university organizes trips for students to attend presidential inaugurations and every four years, allows a select number of students to attend the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
In preparation for Constitution Day, Westfield State professors Tom Gardner of the communication department and David Smailes of the political science department held a discussion last week titled “Preparing for Constitution Day” to share ideas about integrating the constitution into college courses.
In addition to the voter registration drive, there will be an open mic event titled “Feel the Bern in a Trumped up Summer!” at 12:45 p.m. in the Ely Garden Lounge. Led by Professors Elizabeth Stassinos, Erica Morin, and Gabriel Aquino, students will have the opportunity to practice their right to free speech and take the microphone and ask questions or offer their opinions about the upcoming election. Stassinos, Morin, and Aquino will moderate the discussion and respond to the students’ questions and comments.
Constitution Day events were made possible with support from the Westfield State University Department of Academic Affairs.

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