Penn Model Congress strives to enhance political awareness and responsible citizenship through the study and debate of political issues in an intellectual setting. Founded in 1997, PENNMC has promoted these goals by providing high school students with a unique opportunity to participate in simulated sessions of the United States Congress.
For four days, students from across the nation gather at Penn to confront the most challenging domestic and foreign issues that face America today. By writing their own legislation and preparing for debate, delegates learn to actively engage in contemporary political discourse. PENNMC aims to help mold today's youth into tomorrow's citizens and leaders.
Penn Model Congress is designed to help delegates develop expertise in a specific legislative area as well as expose them to a broad array of political issues. The Congress is divided into a Senate and House of Representatives, which, like the real Congress, are composed of individual committees that focus on particular legislative topics.
To view the entire list of committees, click here.
Delegates split their time roughly evenly between committees and full session. Committees consist of approximately 20 delegates each, and full sessions have between 80 and 100 delegates. Legislation is first debated in committee session, and selected bills that pass committee then move on to be debated and voted on by the full assembly. Bills that are passed in full session become part of official Penn Model Congress "law."
To view the full schedule of conference sessions, click here.
A major element of the conference is delegate legislation. Each delegate gets the opportunity to introduce his or her own bill in committee session. Prior to the conference, delegates are expected to research and prepare for debate on their bill. Delegates may choose any bill topic they want, as long as it falls within the jurisdiction of their assigned committee. At the conference, each bill receives approximately 30-45 minutes of debate in committee.
For information on drafting legislation and preparing for debate, click here.
PENNMC would not be possible without its highly dedicated and enthusiastic staff. The conference is organized and run entirely by Penn students. The Executive Board and Conference Board are responsible for planning the conference throughout the year. Each committee is chaired by two staff members, who in addition to moderating the debate, usually possess a strong interest and expertise in that particular legislative area. Our staff is eager to learn and interact with delegates throughout the conference.
To learn more about us and our club here at Penn, click here.
Penn Model Congress is also distinguished by its integration with the University of Pennsylvania and the historic city of Philadelphia. Staffed by Penn students and held directly on Penn's campus, the conference allows high school students unique access to one of the nation's premier Ivy League institutions. In addition, students have ample opportunity to explore Philadelphia and its many historical attractions, including Old City, Independence Hall, the new Constitution Center, the Liberty Bell, and the U.S. Mint, just to name a few.
For more information, visit our Visiting Penn and Exploring Philly sections.