by Madison Murphy and Sheryl Marlar

The University of West Georgia has accepted the challenge to be all in.

To celebrate Constitution Day and to kick off its participation in the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, UWG will hold an inaugural reading of the Constitution Monday, Sept. 17, outside East Commons, beginning at noon.

Buttons that say voteThe live reading is a reminder of the continuing importance of the document 231 years after its ratification.

“We are not just celebrating the U.S. Constitution, though it is a document that deserves its own celebration,” said Dr. Chapman Rackaway, professor and chair of the political science department in the College of Social Sciences. “After more than 200 years in practice, it remains the oldest operating written governing document in the world.”

The ALL IN challenge is a non-partisan effort to increase campus voter registration and participation, as well as civic engagement. Created in 2012, the challenge is built on the belief that more young people need to participate in the electoral process.

Dr. Kathleen Barrett, political science lecturer, recommended UWG for the challenge in June after learning about it at a conference. Upon her return, she was inspired to challenge her own institution. Barrett truly believes in the effect the ALL IN movement can have on the campus.

“I believe in the UWG students and the power of their voices,” Barrett said.

The ALL IN challenge strives for a more inclusive democracy in which all voices are heard. The program’s mission is to provide engaging activities and programs on college campuses across America. The challenge allows students the opportunity to make participation in local, state and federal elections a social norm, with a goal of educating students with a better understanding of democratic engagement as an accepted, as well as expected, part of the culture and curriculum on college campuses.

Barrett recommended the university for three reasons.

“First, it will support voting turnout efforts that are already being planned and give us access to additional resources to make those efforts successful,” Barrett explained. “Second, it demonstrates UWG’s commitment to increasing student voter turnout and participation. And finally, this challenge will create a fun competition that will encourage student participation.”

With the approval of Dr. Micheal Crafton, provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. N. Jane McCandless, dean of the College of Social Sciences, and Rackaway, West Georgia accepted the ALL IN challenge.

More than 350 campuses across the nation are participating in the ALL IN challenge. University System of Georgia institutions – including Georgia State University, Middle Georgia State University, North Georgia College and the University of Georgia – have signed up for the challenge as well.

“The recitation of the constitution is a reminder of what the document aspires to be – a beacon of hope and opportunity for all people,” Rackaway concluded. “As part of the American Democracy Project, we also hope this will inspire students to exercise the civic leadership that a democracy requires.”

Posted on September 14, 2018