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Mock Convention Continues 84-Year OWU Tradition of Presidential Politics


February 18, 2004

[ Mock Convention 2000 Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- A simulation of the U.S. Presidential Nominating Convention comes to life on Friday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 21, at Ohio Wesleyan University's Gray Chapel -- continuing a tradition dating back 84 years in OWU history.

Organized by students, the Democratic Mock Presidential Convention will feature the stereotypic convention-like atmosphere including cowbells, foot stomping, colorful posters, singing and highly animated interaction between student politicians and state delegations. True to its tradition, the Mock Convention is organized for the party currently out of the White House.

"As far as we know, ours is the longest continuing mock political convention in the country," says OWU politics and government professor and faculty advisor of the mock convention, Joan McLean, who has served in this capacity for two prior conventions. "The Mock Convention captures the substantive elements of the Presidential Nominating Convention. It makes what people read about in the newspapers and texts come alive."

Delegates representing all the states of the union will debate party platform issues ranging from the war in Iraq to tax cuts to health care reform. They also will nominate presidential and vice presidential candidates from the slate of Democratic Party contenders.

"I feel it is important to be involved in the Mock Convention because it brings students together outside of class to discuss important world issues," says OWU senior Courtney Cook, a politics and government major and Platform Chair of the convention. There are majority and minority planks for the platform issues, fostering discussion and debate on both sides of the issues.

"I became involved with the Mock Convention because I think it is a great way to generate energy and enthusiasm about American politics," says Wes Goodman, a sophomore majoring in politics and government and pre-law, and Deputy Director of the Mock Convention. He and his co-director, Joni Roberson '05, were responsible for recruiting 56 chairpeople for each state and territory of the U.S., and also assisted the state chairs in recruiting delegates to attend the convention.

"I hope that I have been able to show others the greatness of our political system, and that they will be encouraged to become more active and involved citizens of our country."

The 2004 body convenes in Gray Chapel at 3 p.m. Friday and features platform debates, a video tribute to Geraldine Ferraro and other presentations and performances. The convention reconvenes at 9 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to attend any time. Additional speakers and guests have yet to be confirmed. Nominating and balloting for the presidential candidate begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The 2004 Democratic Mock Convention is organized by a student committee headed by Executive Chair and OWU senior, Nick Barnes, a politics and government major. For more information, call the Mock Convention office at 740-368-3883.