Welcome to Yale Model Congress!
“Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.”
– Chester Bowles, Yale Graduate and former Governor of Connecticut
Yale Model Congress provides high school students with an opportunity to learn about and experience the American legislative system first hand. YMC delegates, always a diverse group, debate important issues in a forum that encourages individual thought. Student delegates:
- attend small committee sessions,
- debate their own legislation,
- participate in plenary meetings of the Senate or House of Representatives,
- hear from distinguished guest speakers,
- represent themselves and their ideas rather than playing the roles of others,
- and receive personal attention from YMC’s dedicated staff.
Yale Model Congress, like the U. S. Congress, consists of small, specialized committees (of 15 to 25 students) and larger plenary bodies modeling the House and Senate. By writing and debating legislation on issues of personal interest, delegates set the agenda for committee sessions. Bills and resolutions passed in committee sessions earn consideration in the full House or Senate. Those passed during plenary sessions reach the YMC President, who signs them into YMC law.
Our committee chairs are devoted Yale students eager to create an enjoyable educational experience for every delegate. They encourage stimulating debate and delegate participation. General debate promotes public speaking and analytical skills as well as personal insight on substantive issues. Sessions follow a modified version of Robert’s Rules of Order, available online.
Each year, the Yale Model Congress features guest speakers, allowing students to interact with prominent political figures. In the past, Yale Political Science Professors Gaddis Smith and Mark Lendler spoke about the 1996 elections, and former Chief Speechwriter for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Charles Hill, talked about his experiences and contemporary international politics. Delegates have also heard from Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU; Paul London, an economist of the Department of Commerce; and Speaker James Amman, author of Connecticut’s Megan’s Law.
. . . and Out of Session
At Yale Model Congress, delegates enjoy experiences beyond committee sessions. They can tour Yale’s beautiful campus and attend college classes on Yale Day. Delegates also have access to Yale’s world renowned museums and libraries. The delegate dance allows students to socialize in a less formal setting. YMC events often feature Yale’s exciting performance groups, such as The Duke’s Men and the Exit Players. And, of course, the conference takes place in New Haven, the birthplace of the pizzeria and the hamburger joint.