Students role-play Congress

Hall of Letters 100

WHAT: The special U.S. congressional committee tasked with finding ways to trim the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade failed to reach an agreement but political science students at the University of Redlands are trying to change that. These students are learning by doing and will get to experience a full floor session of Congress in their U.S. Congress class taught by California politics expert and Associate Professor of Government Renee Van Vechten.

As part of their class, students will dress up in business attire and simulate a full floor session of Congress by role-playing the current U.S. representatives in the Republican-led Congress, debating bills, moving to approve rules and then voting on these measures.

Each student has been assigned to role-play a U.S. Representative (regardless of gender) and both the Republicans and Democrats have been communicating via e-mail prior to the floor session to decide on the topics that the Energy and Commerce and Judiciary Committees will be discussing.

Some of the topics to be debated at the full floor session of Congress include:

  • Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act 
  • English Language Unity Act 
  • Elder Abuse Prevention Act 
  • Healthy Children Through School Nutrition Education Act 
  • Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act

WHEN: 1 to 2:20 p.m. Monday, December 5, 2011

WHERE: Hall of Letters Room 100, University of Redlands
1200 East Colton Avenue, Redlands, CA 92373

WHO: 10 to 20 University of Redlands freshman and junior students and Dr. Renee Van Vechten, associate professor of government.


  • College students role-playing the current Judiciary and Energy and Commerce Committees of U.S. Congress 
  • Hall of Letters classroom’s classic ambiance which is a perfect setting for a Congress simulation 
  • Full Floor House Session setting with a opening prayer from a chaplain and pledge

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Redlands has 12 recent Fulbright Scholar recipients.

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