What is Model Congress?
Model Congress is a realistic simulation of actual United States Congressional, Supreme Court, and National Security Council sessions. Students convene to debate the same topics that elected officials in the United States Senate and House of Representatives grapple with on a daily basis. By representing states and party members of their choice, students participate in a variety of congressional and specialized committees.
In each House and Senate committee, students represent the interests of their state, their party, their country, and their own conscience by debating the topics on the agenda. Together with their colleagues, students collectively develop bills, joint resolutions, and amendments in committee that best serve the interests of their constituents by speaking through formal and informal debate and forging compromises. Along with debating the topics on the provisional agenda, students also experience the influence of lobbyists in their legislative duties, and are faced with a variety of realistic crisis simulations throughout the weekend.
Students participating in the Supreme Court render written decisions on actual cases after hours of intense debate, based on available evidence and oral arguments. In the National Security Council, students are challenged to decide the proper course of action when faced with real-world crises and attacks on the economic, social, and geo-political security of the United States.
Other advanced committees give participants the opportunity to address contentious issues from varied perspectives. Past examples of these committees include the New York City Mayor’s Office, the New Brunswick City Council, the Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and the Federal Communications Commission, among countless others.
Preparation is vital to an enjoyable conference experience. Students who research their topics and develop thoughtful and realistic solutions to today’s most pressing issues will be better prepared to adequately participate at the conference. In addition to developing an in-depth understanding of the issues under discussion, students should also be able to formulate ideas and policy stands in the general interests of their state and party.