YORK, Pa. — Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 men on Sept. 17, 1787, and celebrates the birthday of the government of the United States of America. Penn State York will celebrate Constitution Day on Monday, Sept. 18, with the fourth annual WE ARE the People trivia event at noon in the community room of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center. The event is free and open to the public.
Everyone who attends will be given a clicker and then try their best to answer 20 questions offered in a PowerPoint presentation. These questions are taken from the civics portion of the Naturalization Test to become an American citizen. So as not to embarrass those who may not be up on American history, using the clickers provides a way for participants to remain anonymous. Participating in this activity can be an enlightening experience for participants as they realize that immigrants need to know this information in order to become a U.S. citizen.
Do you know how many amendments the Constitution has? The answer is 27, and very few people get the answer right, according to Barbara Eshbach, head librarian at the Lee R. Glatfelter Library on campus, and an organizer of the event.
There are 100 questions in the naturalization test, and during the naturalization interviews, applicants are asked up to ten questions from that list. They must answer six questions correctly to pass the civics test. Participants in the trivia contest will keep track of how many of the 20 questions they answer correctly, with the hope of answering at least 12 right, which would correspond to the same percentage of questions actual applicants have to answer correctly in order to pass.
The current national pass rate is 91 percent, and following the group’s participation, the success of the participants is revealed. Eshbach notes that some years campus participants beat the national pass rate, and some years they do not.
Prizes are given out randomly, and participants don’t have to be correct to win. Those who might like to study for the trivia event can find the questions and answers available here.
This civic and social literacy event is offered as part of the Penn State York library ConnectED program. ConnectED events are based on one of the five literacies of PA Forward, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Library Association.