Model Congress team excels with seven best delegates


Oliver Konopko, Staff Writer

At the Harvard Model Congress (HMC) tournament, seven of the Model Congress (MoCo) team’s 19 contestants won Best Delegate for being the most effective at creating and debating legislation. Over 1,500 delegates competed in the conference’s 37 committees from February 23 to 26.

In MoCo, delegates propose, debate, and approve bills in committees. Typically, delegates advocate for their own opinions, but at HMC, they were assigned to represent real-life congresspeople, Malcolm Furman (12) said. That meant each delegate adopted the ideological views of their congressperson.

While most committees are part of Congress, HMC also hosted a mock Supreme Court and even a committee where students pretend to be Founding Fathers, co-president Alexa Turteltaub (12) said. Turteltaub worked on the transportation committee and acted as the Secretary of Transportation, discussing bills on topics like electric vehicles in rural areas.

Though delegates are not always assigned topics they are interested in, they get lucky sometimes, Heidings said. Heidings, who is interested in finance and economics, was fortunate enough to be on the senate finance committee and connected his arguments to his economics class in school.

 Often, the topics discussed in a given committee can shift suddenly when a crisis event occurs that delegates must respond to. Zoe Turteltaub’s (10) crisis event was dealing with asbestos contamination at a medical supply factory that produced essential healthcare supplies.

Before the conference, delegates read their assignments and brainstormed strong arguments, Zoe said. HMC differs from a regular MoCo conference because delegates do not have to submit a bill beforehand, which reduces the amount of preparation needed, she said.

HMC was the team’s final conference this year, making it particularly special for the seven seniors. Heidings joined as a shy freshman, but found a place in MoCo and developed as a person, he said. “It’s been a very transformative experience for me. I’ve become a more eloquent speaker and really improved my critical thinking skills.”