This year, four members of Woodland Student Government; Noelle Guerrera, Adam Murray, Kaylee Walsh, and Anna Witkowski, took part in Yale Model Congress. This four day event held on December 1st through the 4th provided students with a simulation of holding a position in government as a Senator, Representative, member of the President’s Cabinet, or Supreme Court Justice.
During this conference, delegates picked a committee, and then wrote bills that were later considered by their committee. When a motion was made for it to be considered, a debate then took place where the bill can be amended. After this, the entire committee voted on the bill to decide whether it will be passed. Both sophomore Adam Murray and junior Anna Witkowski had their bills passed by their committees.
Murray says that he believes his bill was passed because it was something he is very passionate about preserving- fine arts. His bill was titled, “An Act to Establish a Higher Tax Pay to Allow More Funding for Fine Arts in Public Schools,” and it was intended to increase tax to help fund fine arts in public schools.
Murray says, “The fact that I was passionate about my bill was really the thing that helped me get it passed, especially when it was time to give my pro speech.”
Witkowski’s bill entitled, “An Act to Prohibit the Use of Polystyrene Foodservice Products and Polystyrene Loose Fill Packaging,” was intended to prohibit the use of Styrofoam food containers and packing peanuts. To get her bill passed, she says that her main strategy was to remain calm. As a novice, she says this was very nerve racking, but she could not let the nerves get to her and let others in on how nervous she felt.
Witkowski says, “Going into the conference, my anxiety was through the roof. I presented my bill, my hands were shaking. With a lot of the other delegates, you can’t show fear, because they’re experts at this.”
For students considering a career in politics, like Murray who is planning on working in government, this provided an interesting and realistic experience as to what it is like to work in his desired field.
He says, “Since I want to work in congress, it was solidifying for me in terms of where I want to work specifically.”
For Witkowski, who is not considering a career in government, it was still an interesting experience.
She said, “YMC helped me learn to advocate for myself because no one else there is rooting for you unconditionally so you must learn to stand up for your beliefs with your bill.”