By Jessica Robinson, Editor-in-Chief
With just two weeks left to sign up, LUPSA is urging students to consider attending Model Parliament, this year being the event’s 25 year anniversary.
LUPSA (the Laurentian University Political Science Association) is a campus club that promotes anything and everything involved with politics. As a nonpartisan group, they don’t support any particular political groups, but instead provide a space for discussion.
“We come from different backgrounds with different political opinions, so certain members of LUPSA will be hosting political panels, where students are welcome to join in and discuss,” explained Jordon Williams, LUPSA President.
The exec emphasizes that this is not just a club for Political Science majors. “We have people from all kinds of disciplines,” said Nick Higgins, another executive member. “Our bilingualism officer, she’s a biology major. Really we’re just trying to incorporate as many people as possible, trying to promote politics in general.”
The club’s biggest event is Model Parliament; so big in fact that they began planning for it on April 13th.
“Our event starts on Thursday, January 19th, 2017,” Williams explained. “And we go straight through until Sunday, January 22nd. Our day in the house is on Friday, and everybody gets a free day on Saturday.”
Students are put into eight different parties. No matter what, everyone gets 60 seconds to make a speech, about whatever they want.
“We keep it serious, because the structure keeps the event on track. But for that one minute, people can support their party’s bill, or they can recite a poem, or anything really,” added Higgins. “It’s the perfect balance of seriousness and comedy. None of these bills will actually going into effect, right, but it’s still fun, and it’s great experience, understanding how our political system works.”
This is certainly the year for Laurentian students to take advantage of the opportunity, as so few universities offer up the chance, and this marks the 25th anniversary of Model Parliament’s inauguration.
“Because it’s the 25-year anniversary, alumni are coming back to form senate; so you not only have to pass the bill in the House, you have to pass the bill in the senate as well,” noted Williams.
But that’s what the leaders are for. “Party leaders and exec make sure that the event runs properly, that it’s actually parliamentary, and then that allows students to have fun and enjoy themselves, and not be stressed out about trying to pass bills,” Higgins assured.
Because of the fundraising LUPSA has done to subsidize students, it only costs $175 (cash or cheque), covering your travel expenses, three nights in a hotel, a day in the nation’s House of Commons with lunch, and then dinner at the Château Laurier.
To sign up for Model Parliament, you can visit the Political Science office on the 3rd floor of the Arts building from 10am to 3pm during the week; or, contact the club through the LUPSA Facebook page.
It really is a unique, unforgettable experience. “My only regret from last year is not going first year,” Higgins finished.