Malik Newson, senior in journalism, was the emcee at the Feast on the First soapbox speeches during the 2017 First Amendment Days celebration. Photo by Emily Blobaum
Malik Newson, senior in journalism, was the emcee at the Feast on the First soapbox speeches during the 2017 First Amendment Days celebration. Photo by Emily Blobaum

Billboard-size mosaic, souvenir prints, free food and demonstrations on Central Campus April 12 during First Amendment Days

The Iowa State University community will gather on Central Campus Thursday, April 12, to put their First Amendment freedoms into action with fun, food, freebies and free expression during First Amendment Days.

At the center of it all, an 8-foot by 6-foot mosaic will come together live and in real time with the help of Twitter and Instagram photos taken by the Iowa State campus community and alumni.

To contribute to the mosaic, community members are encouraged to use their own smartphones to post pictures to their public Instagram or Twitter accounts between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday using the hashtag #isufirst. Those who participate can pick up their free souvenir prints at the First Amendment tent on Central Campus until 4 p.m. A photo booth and props will also be available in the tent to encourage picture-taking.

The mosaic will be revealed at 2 p.m. with free Insomnia cookies. It will showcase an iconic Iowa State image taken by university photographer Christopher Gannon and serve as a visual reminder of the five freedoms—religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. The mosaic will be displayed in Hamilton Hall after the event.

The First Amendment Committee, which is made up of members from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State Daily Media Group and Leo Mores Society of Professional Journalists, is working with New York-based Luster to bring the activity to campus.

“Social media can be a powerful tool for free expression, and this activity will hopefully encourage us all to stop, look up from our phones and think about that,” said Maria Charbonneaux, Greenlee School communications specialist and First Amendment Committee member.

To kick off the day, the Democalypse March, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on the steps of Curtiss Hall, will take participants around campus as they theoretically lose their First Amendment freedoms. Students from area high schools will also join in the demonstration and work with Iowa State Daily students afterward to learn about freedom of the press.

The Feast on the First will take place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will include free Jimmy John’s sandwiches, soapbox speeches and music. Free T-shirts that showcase this year’s theme, “Talk Is Cheap. Free Speech Isn’t,” will be available throughout the day while supplies last.

The Thursday events on Central Campus are part of a three-day celebration taking place April 11-13.

This year’s events will also include public lectures by Kirsten Anderson, vocal advocate for harassment-free work environments, at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday in 163 Hamilton Hall; John Whyte, Canadian constitutional law scholar, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Alliant Energy-Lee Liu Auditorium in Howe Hall; and Paul Kix, Iowa State alumnus, magazine editor, and author, at 8 p.m. Thursday at Benton Auditorium in the Scheman Building.

Depth and Dialogue sessions on Wednesday provide opportunities to explore First Amendment topics in a small-group setting.

Friday includes the presentation of the Greenlee School and Kappa Tau Alpha Diversity & Inclusion Awards at 9 a.m. in 169 Hamilton Hall and artmaking sessions with Ally Karsyn of Siouxland Public Media at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in 172 Hamilton Hall and the ReACT Gallery in Morrill Hall, respectively.

Throughout April 27, a First Amendment exhibit curated by University Museums will also be on display in the ReACT Gallery, 0003 Morrill Hall. Admission is free.

Julie Roosa, who joined the Greenlee School faculty in January as adjunct assistant professor and First Amendment specialist, is heading up planning efforts as chair of the First Amendment Committee.

“We are thrilled to offer such a variety of activities this year, and we strongly encourage the ISU community and the public to participate in some or all of the fun and learn a little more about the First Amendment as they do,” Roosa said.

Now in its 16th year, First Amendment Days is an annual event meant to celebrate and educate about the five freedoms of the First Amendment.

See the complete First Amendment Days 2018 schedule on the Greenlee School’s website.