Georgia State University Takes on Constitution Week

Photo by Toni Odejimi | The Signal

With midterms rearing its head and eyes on Georgia, Georgia State University decided to bring politics into its conversation with Constitution Week. 

Constitution Week extends outside the confines of the university. In 1952, Congress asked the president to set aside the third week of September for “Constitution Week.” While Congress wasn’t pulling the strings at GSU, the Social Action Alliance and the Student Government Association organized the week’s events. 

The main event was WABE’s live taping of Political Breakfast. It’s a political radio show with moderator Lisa Rayam, Democratic commentator Tharon Johnson and Republican commentator Brian Robinson. 

During the show, they focused on the midterm elections, specifically polling and how college students could change the political climate. 

“I think that young Americans, Gen Z… are getting screwed,” said Brian Robinson. 

All the panelists claimed that voting and being more educated on the candidates could push the needle to improve issues like expensive housing, inflation and voter representation. 

But not every college student agreed with that sentiment. 

Another event hosted during Constitution Week was “Pop Talks.” Lounged around colorful chairs were students discussing their role in this election. One student, Caleb Johnson, shared an opinion that has been becoming increasingly popular with young voters. 

“I think people overrate the power of the vote.” 

He explained that the systems of government are inherently unjust and that it’s impossible to vote out those inequalities. This thought was shared by other students around the room, chipping in that voting was only a piece of the democratic puzzle. 

The students also went on to talk about understanding the Constitution and National Suicide Awareness Month. 

Another event in Constitution Week was the Value My Vote Townhall. The panelists here touched bases on another topic not mentioned during the Political Breakfast: the down ballot. 

The down-ballot are the lesser-known candidates. They’re usually local and don’t have the same media attention as the senate or governor race would have. 

To the panelists, they’re still a significant cog in Georgia’s machine. 

 Dawn Randolph talked about the labor commissioner, who oversees unemployment claims. Nicole Robinson spoke on the Secretary of State and the huge role they play in the voting process. They highlighted the candidates that aren’t usually included in college students’ political conversations. 

Other panels were hosted for the week, some online, some in person. The week ended with the “Hack for Good” cohort, which challenged students to present solutions to some of Atlanta’s biggest problems. 

But besides WABE’s Political Breakfast, which filled the auditorium with people in pressed suits and students, there weren’t many people at the events. One student even admitted that they were only attending because of their class. 

Low attendance aside, there was a reason to invite commentators, journalists and community leaders from different corners of Georgia to speak. There was a reason for the professors who asked their students to sit on rickety chairs to attend a political event. 

There was a reason to give attention to one of America’s most forgotten holidays. 

“I don’t think most people know anything about the Constitution,” said a student at the Pop Talks. 

And while students didn’t analyze every drop of ink on the Preamble, they learned about the effect of the Constitution in today’s politics. 

Constitution Week still did what it was created for: educating the public about the power of a single document.