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Heartland students tackle big Constitutional questions

September 8, 2020

Heartland Community College students will be engaging with foundational questions about America’s guiding document as Constitution Day approaches on September 17.

Heartland’s Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Team in collaboration with faculty, the Student Government Association, and Political Science Club have undertaken an effort to organize Constitution Week activities for students who are primarily engaged in online instruction.

The Constitution Week activities are part of an overall goal of student civic engagement exemplified by the recent ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge pledge which Heartland committed to this summer. Heartland’s Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Team has set a goal of a 55% student voter rate which will be measured through the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement.

“It is important for our students to understand their role in voting, community, and citizenship, said Karla Huffman, Service-Learning & Civic Engagement Faculty Coordinator. “By engaging in constitutional questions, students will have an opportunity to think about issues that can motivate them to get involved in the democratic process.”

Heartland will engage students in open ended discussions via announcements, class activities, assignments, extra credit and other avenues. The focus of the discussions will be on Constitutional rights that reflect on recent events.  Samples include:

  • “Should the government be allowed to restrict church gatherings during a pandemic, or does this violate the 1st Amendment freedom of religion?”
  • “Can peaceful protests be banned? Does this violate the 1st Amendment right to free speech or assembly?”
  • “Do mask mandates violate the 1st Amendment right to free speech/expression?”

The Service-Learning and Civic Engagement’s motto prompts students to “learn, serve, and engage” other students as active community members. The civic engagement exercise is not a mere extracurricular opportunity for students, as it also encourages faculty to incorporate it as part of class activities.

Constitution Week at Heartland will extend from September 14 through September 18.

Written by: Steve Fast