UNH hosts mock national political conventions Nov. 2

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The University of New Hampshire is hosting learning-based mock nominating conventions on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, that will bring together over 300 students from five colleges in 23 different courses to simulate the 2020 Democratic and Republican national conventions.

In this nonpartisan event, students will represent 50 state delegations, as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. Participants will spend the morning discussing the issues of energy and citizenship, and then draft party platforms. In the afternoon, students will draw on polling data and analysis to predict the distribution of delegates for their state and determine the parties’ presidential nominee.

“As a nation and a community, we come together every four years to establish common goals and values in an activity that celebrates the American electoral democratic process in all its complexity” says Alynna Lyon, professor of political science and an organizer of the event. “Students will take part in this celebration and walk away with a better understanding of how national and state laws and party rules — i.e. the rules of the game — shape outcomes in presidential politics.”

Delegates represent a wide range of disciplines, from political science and history to philosophy and classics. Students come from the University of New Hampshire and four Community College System of New Hampshire institutions: Great Bay Community College, Lakes Region Community College, Nashua Community College and River Valley Community College.

According to Lyon, participants have spent the last several months preparing for the convention and learning about history, presidential nominations, the issues of energy and citizenship, and each state’s culture, economy and politics.

“Students are also learning research skills, technical writing, negotiation, compromise and how to build consensus — all essential for 21st Century citizenship,” says Lyon.

As part of the convention, participating faculty from all five institutions will attend a workshop and presentations on the Presidential Primary.

The event is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the UNH College of Liberal Arts and the New Hampshire Humanities Collaborative.