Model Congress Takes D.C.By IKBAL AHLUWALIA ‘18 Staff Writer From Thursday, November 19 to Sunday, November 22, 2015, the Rutgers Prep Model Congress attended the Princeton Model Congress Conference at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The club, which is led by Mr. Russ Bartlett, Mr. Robert Kuchar, and Ms. Mariana Stevenson, participated in a busy schedule that included simulating Congressional and committee sessions. Through PMC, students get the opportunity to practice what it is like to serve in Congress or sit on the bench as a Supreme Court Justice in a mock setting. Andrew Zwicker, the current Assemblyman-elect for the New Jersey General Assembly, attended the conference as the keynote speaker. Participants learned precise parliamentary procedure and wrote and debated bills before partaking in the conference. In committee sessions, students’ bills were debated, and either passed or failed. If a bill isn’t passed or reaches a significant amount of abstaining votes in its House or Senate committee, the bill proceeds to be debated in the full House or Senate sessions. After, it is sent to the President of the Conference, who is elected beforehand. Similar to the U.S. government’s House and Senate, if a bill is vetoed, it can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote. Gita Ganti ’17 and Jacky Zou ’16 both passed their bills in full sessions. Ganti, Vignesh Jagathese ’16, and Bianca Pergher ’16 all won Honorable Mention Awards. In order to prepare for the conference, students first prepared for their committees and congressional assignments. The congress was divided into four separate congresses, labeled by color. Students studied their committees’ jurisdiction, researched for their bills, and expected rebuttals. Before attending the conference, bills had to be submitted to PMC’s online submission portal. Lyle Zullo ’17, member of the orange Senate, said, “The thing I most enjoyed about Model Congress was spending time with friends and touring around the nation’s capital. I also enjoyed the committee meetings and debating whether or not to pass various bills.” In addition to being part of the Senate or House, students could engage in four special programs: the position of President or Vice President, serving on either the Presidential Cabinet, Supreme Court, or Press Corps. Candidates for the position of Presidency are chosen first through an application process, and later elected, commencing the conference. The President and Presidential Cabinet debate policy initiatives and practices, and re- solve crisis scenarios, whereas the Supreme Court examines constitutionality of the various proposed bills, and the Press Corps covers and produces newsletters for the conference. Although the participants had a packed schedule, they were given time to spend with friends and meet new people. On Saturday, November 21, students were allotted time to hear former Maryland governor, Robert Ehrlich, speak, or watch movies, like Interstellar and Mean Girls. Saturday night, from 11 pm to 12:30 am, there was PMC’s Congressional Ball. Zullo said, “I was able to meet a lot of people in my committee. During the short breaks in committee, I was able to socialize and get to know other students.” Matt Schafer ’17 said, “I enjoyed being in D.C… I enjoyed listening to other people’s views and opinions while voicing my own.”
Trackback from your site.