MBU Connects Local Teens To Lawmakers

Posted by Liesel Crosier | March 27, 2018

MBU faculty and students pose with local Staunton teens during the Model City Council.

Thanks to a grant from the Alpha Kappa Gamma chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Honor Society for Political Science, Mary Baldwin University students have organized an event to engage local high school students in a simulation to learn more about local government.

“The goal is to increase civic engagement by having students observe, learn, and then play the roles of City Council members.”
Laura van Assendelft, Professor of Political Science

Model City Council will take place at 6:30 p.m. April 4 at City Hall, and is open to the public. The event coincides with Local Government Week, and, according to Professor of Political Science Laura van Assendelft, allows MBU students to help teens from Robert E. Lee High School and Stuart Hall School bridge the gap between the civics classroom and the real world of politics.

“The event will foster connections with elected officials and administrators in Staunton government that bring local issues to life,” van Assendelft said. “The goal is to increase civic engagement by having students observe, learn, and then play the roles of City Council members.

For weeks, MBU students have mentored the high schoolers, connected them with members of city council mentors, hosted an event at MBU’s Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, and attended several City Council meetings and work sessions, and explored topics of local interest.

In advance of the Model General Assembly session, MBU will host a private dinner and model work session on campus for the participants.