LSC-CyFair's “Constitution Café” Book Project a Success Sparking Cross-disciplinary Conversations

Lone Star College-CyFair’s English, History and Political Science Departments spearheaded a semester-long project last fall that drew more than 1,000 participants into cross-disciplinary conversations and 15 campus events.

Among the goals of LSC-CyFair’s “CONVERSATIONS: Citizens, Community and the Constitution” project were to create dialogue across the campus by engaging students, faculty and the community in events on topics including citizenship, the U.S. Constitution, the electoral process and the 2012 Presidential election.

“The semester project was a great success and we have plans to continue the project next fall with another common book,” said Matthew Turner, chair of the English Department.

The project started in the classroom with students in multiple disciplines – English, American History, Sociology and Political Science – reading a “common book,” Constitution Café by Christopher Phillips, and learning how to critically read, write, think and discuss a variety of topics such as the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen.

Then students, as well as community members, attended Constitution Week activities, scholarly presentations and more related to the book throughout the semester. Phillips, author and professor, delivered several presentations himself on campus in November.

Among the September events were voter registration drives (resulting in 128 new voters), a Thomas Jefferson presentation, a Constitution Café Forum and “A Changing Texas? Shifting Demographics, Political Realities and Voter Participation” forum. In October, several Presidential Debate Viewings and Discussions were held as well as a Think Factory on Political Cynicism.

The semester project ended with congratulations going to the winners of the student essay contest “What Being a Citizens Means to Me.” Receiving a certificate of recognition and cash prizes, were first- through third-place winners respectively, Kevin Kwok, Raiyah Al Droubi and Vinnie Lam.

For information on this project or future such projects, contact Turner via email at Matthew.G.Turner@LoneStar.edu. For information on the college, go to LoneStar.edu.

CONVERSATIONS: Citizens, Community and the Constitution   CONVERSATIONS: Citizens, Community and the Constitution

Christopher Phillips, author of Constitution Café, the “common book read as part of a Lone Star College-CyFair semester-long “CONVERSATIONS: Citizens, Community and the Constitution” project, signed copies of his book after a presentation at the Barker Cypress campus. Joining Phillips, bottom right, are from left in top row, history faculty members: Rob Holmes, Blake Ellis, Bobby O’Brien, Esther Robinson and Sandra Harvey and at bottom left English faculty Matt Turner.

Lone Star College-CyFair’s President Dr. Audre Levy, left, and English Department Chair Matthew Turner, right, congratulate Kevin Kwok, first-place student essay winner. The “What Being a Citizens Means to Me” essay contest was part of a semester-long “CONVERSATIONS: Citizens, Community and the Constitution” project.