We the Lopes: Constitution Day hits campus
By Ryan Kryska
GCU News Bureau
Freshman government major Nolan Dominguez stood outside Prescott Hall with patriotic shades, an American Flag bandana and a microphone in hand on Monday to speak aloud amendments to the Constitution.
Dominguez read amendments 22-27, while seniors Cristian Clementi and Jacob Root facilitated the trio’s Constitution Day booth. They passed out stickers, flyers for future events and emptied their stock of pocket Constitutions — more than 150 booklets donated by the Leadership Institute.
“It’s important that we have Constitution Day because not everyone knows the first five amendments to the Constitution,” said Clementi, a sports management major and vice president of Turning Point USA at Grand Canyon University. “We’ve all gone through American government and history classes, but we just forget it. And to know that we have our right to privacy, we have the right to free speech and free assembly and the freedom of religion, all of this is what makes America such a great country.”
Dominguez read for about 15 minutes, not minding the sweat dripping down his face and the valuable time he was using between classes.
“It’s a privilege, really, to be able to speak the words our forefathers gave to us,” Dominguez said. “And it’s still relevant in today’s world. We live in a time where people are like, ‘Oh well, he’s this. I don’t believe in that, so I’m not going to listen to what he’s saying.’ And it’s like this Constitution is what breaks down the barriers. This was written so long ago that they never intended for us to have this party system that we have now today. It’s just so important that we take time to reflect back on the past to change the future.”
The students ran the stand with support from College of Humanities and Social Sciences Professor Kevin Walling, who spent the day teaching about the Constitution in his class Government 357: Philosophy of Law.
“Constitution Day helps us reflect on and appreciate our chief social contract of the United States,” Walling said, “(It) helps us understand how our government functions and what our relationship with our government is. It also helps us better understand our rights and how our government should protect our rights.”
Walling said he looks forward to the lesson at the beginning of every academic year. He says he teaches students basic structure of the U.S. government and helps them understand their rights.
“To know that we have our right to privacy, we have the right to free speech and free assembly and the freedom of religion, all of this is what makes America such a great country,” Clementi said. “And people say, ‘Yeah, America is great.’ But they don’t know necessarily why and the liberties that we have that makes it such a great nation. It’s essential to me, and I’m glad that everyone was able to get a free pocket Constitution today.”
Contact Ryan Kryska at (602) 639-8415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.