Feature Story

Mock Convention, Real Issues

September 30, 2019 – by Dmitri Ashakih ’22

During Ohio Wesleyan’s 2016 Mock Presidential Nominating Convention, students nominated John Kasich and Nikki Haley for the GOP presidential and vice presidential ticket. The University’s 2020 Mock Convention will be held in February. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Ohio Wesleyan Students Begin Platform Hearings for 2020 Mock Presidential Nominating Convention

Every presidential election year, Ohio Wesleyan University students hold a Mock Presidential Nominating Convention. The 136-year-old campus tradition imitates the proceedings of what is happening on the national stage.

OWU students represent state delegates from the political party currently not in control of the White House. The 2020 event will take place Feb. 21-22. Students will adopt a Democratic Party platform, and select candidates for president and vice president.

In preparation for next year’s convention, several platform hearings will be held discussing issues critical to the party and concerns of constituents. The first of these hearings, a discussion of climate change’s role in the coming election, will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Bayley Room of Beeghly Library.

“The party platform delineates where the (Democratic) Party stands on issues and what the party would plan to do,” says Mock Convention co-executive director, Mallorie Watts ’22. A Delaware local, Watts is majoring in social justice.

Ahmed Hamed ’20 is also serving as a co-executive chair. Hamed is an accounting and politics and government major from Hilliard, Ohio.

“It is a way for students to get an in-depth look at how really important aspects of our political system operate,” Hamed says. “We dive deep into the kinds of experiential learning that makes this University the incredible place it is.”

Climate change is just one of the issues that will be included in the final party platform. At the Oct. 2 panel discussion, faculty members Ellen Arnold, Sean KayJohn Kryger, and Nathan Amador Rowley are scheduled discuss key issues and field questions.

In November, students across campus will weigh in on candidate issues.  The results will then appear in a brochure for the  2020 Mock Convention.

At the event student groups, classes, and individuals will be assigned positions as state chairs and delegates, depending on the size of the group.

“[It’s] a cool way to get people from OWU involved and the Delaware community involved and learn how conventions happen and what they do,” Watts says. “You don’t have to be political to get involved in it, although everything is political.”

The 2020 event is not only for politics and government majors. Financial directing, communications, and public engagement are all facets of the Mock Convention committee.

“I wish more people knew that there are so many ways to get involved,” Hamed says, “from helping with the planning and execution of the convention, attending our fall events, and being part of the conference in February as a state chair or delegate.

“There are many opportunities to be a part of the event,” he says, “and it only comes once every four years, which means it will be the only one for most students that are here right now. It is not an opportunity to pass on.”

Learn more about the Mock Convention and its OWU history at www.owu.edu/mockconvention.