Aspiring First-Generation College Students Hone Legislative Skills in Washington, D.C. "Mock Congress"

June 13, 2018

In a Mock Congress this week in Washington, D.C., nearly 200 high school student delegates from low-income backgrounds who aspire not only to be first in their families to attend college, but also to become future leaders, examined current policy issues such as net neutrality, human cloning, border security and online privacy, discussed viewpoints for and against those issues, and researched, wrote, debated, and developed legislative bills.

Mock Congress is part of the National Student Leadership Congress (NSLC), a rigorous week-long leadership experience in the Capitol for students across the country who participate in the federal TRIO programs that help students overcome class, social, academic, and cultural barriers to higher education. Student delegates who participate in the D.C. program are rising TRIO juniors or seniors who are nominated by their local TRIO directors because of their leadership potential.

"To really drive home the values of democracy and citizen participation, it’s important to engage students in activities that target their current issues of concern," said Maureen Hoyler, CEO of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education, which sponsored this week’s event. "NSLC gives these students with high potential the leadership skills that will enable them to compete academically and to participate fully in our democratic society."

During the NLSC week, the students sleep, study and dine on the Georgetown University campus, engage in conflict resolution workshops, and diversity training, and visit historical and cultural sites. They also meet their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. The program is in its 29th year.

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