Future Leaders Convene at Harvard Model Congress


On Thursday, February 20th, I boarded a bus for Boston along with ten other Greenwich Academy girls. Accompanied by Ms. Rachel Powers and Ms. Sarah Stapleton, we headed for the heart of the city to attend this year’s Harvard Model Congress.

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GA was one of many schools from all over the country represented at HMC. Prior to the conference, students are assigned a committee, either within the House of Representatives, Senate, or other Special Programs (including the Supreme Court and the Presidential Cabinet, among others).

Furthermore, each student is assigned a representative, either a Democrat or Republican, who actually serves on that committee. Throughout the weekend, students assume the role of their representative on their respective committee.

The weekend began with opening ceremonies on Thursday afternoon, where participating students learned about the schedule for the weekend and rules of procedure for Committee sessions. We also heard from a guest speaker who had served in Washington. From there, Harvard Model Congress officially began, consisting of committee meetings and larger meetings with all members of the House, Senate, or Special Programs.

During committee meetings, representatives discussed current issues concerning their committee. For example, the Homeland Security committee discussed human trafficking, the War on Terror, and immigration.

During each session, there was first time for representatives to state any thoughts they had concerning the matter. Next, delegates would discuss possible solutions to the issues pressing the nation.

From there, delegates could break of into smaller groups to draft bills to solve these issues. If the bill passed in a committee, it could be introduced during the House or Senate meetings. Ultimately, each bill had the opportunity to pass in the House, Senate, and then become law.

“I really enjoyed learning about congressional procedures such as passing bills that we drafted ourselves. Also, I loved meeting kids from schools all over the country,” said Laura Guo, XI.

Whether or not it was their first time attending Harvard Model Congress, everyone who participated learned a lot and had a great time. At the beginning of the weekend, the four-hour long committee sessions seemed tedious, but by the end of the program, we all surprised ourselves with our newly acquired knowledge and our ability to engage in committee meetings. “Harvard Model Congress was a great hands-on experience that gave us the opportunity to have in depth discussions and debates on current issues. It was a great learning experience in persuading and compromising with others and I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about attending the conference next year,” said Katrina Kraus, XI.

Although tiring at times, Harvard Model Congress was an excellent experience for us. As we boarded the bus heading back to Greenwich, we all laughed as we shared stories from our respective committees (such as bills passed that legalized prostitution and destroyed Canada). The laughter died down slightly about thirty minutes into our ride when the bus broke down. But after accepting the situation, our laughter then continued again around hour two of being stranded on the side of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Not even this bump in the road could ruin our amazing experience at Harvard Model Congress.