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The Civic Participation Project at UNO, a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project (ADP), seeks to engage our university community - students, faculty, staff, and administrators - to understand and participate in activities designed to increase their civic engagement. The goal of the project is to promote the development of an informed and contributing citizenry for the United States in the 21st century. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a metropolitan university with a mission to disseminate knowledge through teaching and research, and by offering public service to the citizens of the state, particularly the residents of the Omaha metropolitan area. The American Democracy Project's goals match those of our institution well. Metropolitan universities like ours bear particular responsibility to be not only in the community, but of the community.
Constitution Week Student Reflections
Comments to Norman Rockwell's "The Four Freedoms" and what their thoughts of freedom are.
"Respect for others."
"Rockwood expressed ideas not even contained in the Constitution. No one in 1787 promised freedom from fear, or want. Only a push by some contemporary leaders pushed the Bill of Rights, guaranteeing freedom of speech and worship. Yet, the preamble says it all: 'In order to Form a more Perfect Union.' IT's not that we ever prefectly lived up to our own ideals, it's rather that we've not yet quit trying to do so."
"I think of freedom is to express one's self and to pursue the humerous opprtunities around you."
"When I see these pictures, what comes to mind is not everyone has all of these freedoms. Freedom of Worship and Freedom of Speech are backed up by the constitution, but Freedom of Want and Freedom of Fear are not being protected. People are still living with hungry stomachs and the fear that they are not safe."
"I see a respect for authority, country, and family. More importantly, however, I see a respect for the authority that every individual carries as a human. With all great authority comes great responsibility and therin lies our duty to assert our own authority over that of the government. Whether or not our rights are given freely, they are ours to maintain. Freedom is not a gift to the world, but the fact that we possess power that cannot be taken away."
"I see the right to live without being judged. I see the ability to push the boundries of our own potential and achieve greatness. I see the idea that peace can happen if every single person does their part. We must all come together and get rid of the racist or ethnic tensions forever."
"The freedom to stand up for what you believe in; to be yourself."
"When I see the four pictures of Freedom, I think about all the tings people have worked for in their life."
"I look at the pictures and admire all that we as the United States of America stand for. But then I think about how far we have yet to go to guarantee these freedoms to every citizen.
"I think of how grateful I am for living in a country where I am free to live, love, and worship God."
"I thought of a sentence I read about this morning: 'Everyone should be treated as a human and such right itself is justifiable in spite of their contribution to the organization or society they belong to.' I think that is the most important thing I ever learned since I came to this country.
"I see the freedom to vote for who I want."
Comments on the "Eight Great Inventions" of Governtment
Revolution by Legal Means
"...means that people can change government. In my mind, this 'revolution' is one of the most important points...If people could not change government then our lives and society would be much different. We would probably be living in a dictatorship...The people have the power to choose their senators, representatives and the President. If we do not like one of these, they can be impeached..." - Allison Ahlers
"This great American invention is important because a civilian has the right to voice their opinion. We live in a country where we do not have to succumb to laws we think are unjust. We have the power to try and change them. Stand up for what you believe in because it is important." - Natalie McGovern
"This thought was by our founding fathers, in particular, Thomas Jefferson. I love to read his quotes and thoughts which puts things into perspective for me... Without this idea, America would not be the free country it is today. This idea also grants the people the unalienable right to overthrow the government if need be. God willing we will never have to, but the power is within the people." - Benn Rayment
Seperation of Church and State
"Seperation of Church and State is the most important invention that Americans came up with in the Constitution. This is because it allows people to choose their beliefs instead of being told what to believe, which also adds to our freedom as Americans. Other countries have civil wars and millions of people are killed due to religious intolerance. That is why it is so important to be able to believe in what you want to, not what you are told to beleive." - Mike Ricchini
"I have been raised Catholic... I'm very thankful that my church and my government can remain separate... First, my religion is something I follow myself because I want to, not because I'm forced to. Next, because I'm able to worship freely, unlike women in Afghanistan. Last, because although I'm religious, I don't expect everyone in my country to have the same values as I, and I want diversity in my country." - Tara Tipton
Military Power Subordinated to Civilian Authority and General Warfare
"I believe these both are key points when it comes to the Constitution. They remind us of the fact that government's true role is to first protect it's citizens against foes foreign and domestic. Also, it reminds us that such a protection is first answerable and accountable to those citizens." - Ken Lantz
General Welfare As a Primary Responsibility of Government
"You would never know by looking at me or talking to me that I've ever been on welfare. My mom was a single mom with three kids after my parents got divorced. My dad never paid child support and my mom needed to go to school, so we ended up on welfare. Most people think welfare is for people who just want to use the government and not work. That's not true. So I can appreciate the fact that there was welfare available to my family when we needed it." - Anonymous