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Students were treated to a first-hand, interactive experience in the political process on Saturday by the Harvard Model Senate (HMS).
About 50 to 60 students attended the one-day government simulation program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government where they assumed the role of senators, National Security Council members, cabinet members, Supreme Court Justices and lawyers.
Delegates were addressed by Douglas L. Baily, founder and chair of the American Political Network and publisher of the Hotline, National Journal's daily briefing on American Politics.
Baily expressed satisfaction with the program, nothing that it is important for Harvard students to be politically involved.
Barbara E. Martinez '00, HMS co-president and a Crimson editor, agreed.
"Our participation in the conference shows we still think politics are good," she said.
According to Martinez, "the mission [of HMS] is to stimulate active debate and interest in the political process."
Complementing the political experience was IBM Professor of Business and Government and Harvard Model Congress (HMC) faculty advisor Roger B. Porter, who served in the White House for Presidents Ford, Regan and Bush.
Porter addressed the student in a speech peppered with anecdotes of his own government experiences.
Following Porter's talk, students gathered outside for a lunch catered by various Harvard Square restaurants, including Pizzeria Uno and Wrap Culture.
Participants said the conference was a worthwhile educational event.
"The program helps you understand how the government functions and that compromise is essential for making progress on any significant issues," said Robert Buror '00, a NSC participant.
Sean Carmody '01, a member of the senate committee, added that the speeches were timely and witty, focusing on current political issues.
Others were impressed by how smoothly the event ran.
"It was organized very efficiently. Staffers obviously put a lot of planning into it," said Emilou Macleain '01, also a Senate committee member.
Funded by HMC, HMS serves as a recruitment opportunity for HMC junior staff members. The event is designed to give an exciting introduction to government simulation programs.
"I hope the students who participated will continue to pursue their interests in the political process or at least take home a new and valuable perspective on how it works," said Jay F. Chen '00, HMS chief of staff and a Crimson editor.
Applications for HMC are available in 1 Thayer Basement.
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