Model Senate attracts students to campus

Deidre Ball


On a chilly Saturday in November, thirty-six high school students dressed in business attire visited our college. They came from schools as far as Pennsylvania and ranged in grade level from freshmen to seniors. Why were they here? To spend the day learning about the senate with Goucher’s Model Senate Program. Model Senate in general is a program where participants are assigned a senator and must take on the role of that senator. This includes supporting the issues their senator would support. It also includes following parliamentary processor on the senate floor and attending community meetings. Goucher’s Model Senate Program is going on its fourth year and attracts about 40 or so students from high schools all around Maryland and Pennsylvania. The students that attend this program aren’t necessarily the students most interested in American government; some teachers send students they think that are struggling with learning about government in the traditional classroom setting. Faculty adviser for the Model Senate Club and Political Science professor Nina Kasniunas says, “Model Senate seems to give participant students a much better understanding of how the Senate works — the good and the bad. They tend to walk away with a greater level of confidence in themselves as well as a desire to know more. I think this probably leads to higher levels of political efficacy and builds leadership skills.” PSC 243 American Political Systems, a class taught by Kasniunas, was very involved in making the Model Senate Program go smoothly. “Model Senate showcases how engaged our own students are, and this sometimes creates greater interest among participant students in considering Goucher when they apply to college.” says Kasniunas. The high school students aren’t the only ones that benefited. Ned Ryan ‘17 a sophomore in PSC 243 class says, “Working with the high school students re-enforced my own knowledge of the senate. It’s always good to get a refresher in the senate process.”


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