Harvard Model Congress returns to in-person following virtual year

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Roles of BHS HMC members

The Harvard Model Congress has made a full return after last year’s adjustments to a virtual event due to COVID-19. The Harvard Model Congress, otherwise known as the HMC, is a conference including 1500 students, organized entirely by Harvard undergraduate students. The conference is a government simulation structured to imitate the process of today’s congressional process.

It was founded in 1986 and is a nonprofit organization to help students get interactive, hands-on experience with how our government and legislation works. Students that are a part of the HMC will be going to Harvard University in Massachusetts, in-person, this year.

However, there are challenges to being in-person. HMC “delegates,” meaning high school students in the HMC, don’t use computers during the conferences so it will require more preparation because delegates need to collect and organize all the information before they go into each meeting.

In preparation for the Harvard model Congress, Bernards students are meeting two to three times a week- currently they’re going through the bill presentations, meaning that each student wrote a bill corresponding to the senator or house member they’ll be representing and the committee they’re on. Ivey Mistele, class of 2023, describes that “if it’s your first year [in the HMC], you request a House of Representatives role, and if it’s not your first year, you can either do a senate or [other] special role.”

As an example, another participating member of the HMC, Sophia Santoro, class of 2023, states that she “will be representing House member Rick W. Allen is from Georgia, and [she’ll] be on the committee of Education and Labor, so [she] wrote a bill from Allen’s perspective about expanding funding for charter schools. Each committee will have specific topics to discuss at the conference: [her] topics are charter schools and early childhood education.” Right now is all about preparing for the conference.

The Harvard model Congress has locations in Boston (the one our school will be attending), San Francisco, Asia, Middle East, and Europe. The HMC has 37 committees with a nine to one delegate to staff ratio. In total, there are 1500 delegates and 37 committees. The HMC not only offers engaging, new learning experiences, but also has awarded more than 250 scholarships, and more than 20 states represented.

Bernards students participating in the Harvard model Congress will arrive in Boston, at Harvard, on Thursday, February 24th 2022. They will perform opening ceremonies, committee meetings, House and Senate Committee Meetings, special programs committee meetings, and later House and Senate activity. February 25th, the next day, will be Harvard Day. They are scheduled for Emerging Voices FTF Careers Panel, the Free the Facts presentation, special programs committee meetings, House and Senate full session, House and Senate committee meetings, and lastly committee meetings.

Following these meetings, on Saturday they will have a House and Senate full session, special programs committee meetings, scholarship reception, committee meetings, and the delegate social. On the last day on Sunday, February 27th,2022 there will be a House and Senate full session, special programs committee meetings, conference reflections, and closing ceremonies. As conveyed through this comprehensive schedule, the HMC provides countless opportunities to understand our legislative branch better.