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Civic Engagement: From the Inside Out

We consider the Game of Politics simulation to be a signature practice in civic engagement. We hope that many of our campuses will encourage their students to participate in this simulation at the ADP National Meeting. After the meeting, we also hope that our participants will consider running their own Game of Politics simulations on campus.

By Don Jansiewicz, author, The Game of Politics Simulation

I invite faculty members and students to participate in a Workshop on the Game of Politics American government simulation at the ADP National Meeting in Florida this coming June.  You can examine the simulation by exploring the Game of Politics website. The three-session simulation workshop will be able to accommodate from 15 to 75 participants and should take about 2 ½ hours.  Please let me know if you are interested in participating and I will give you a role assignment and necessary materials in advance.  You can reach me at janstrat@comcast.net; but please reserve your space by May 16, 2011.

Ten years ago when I retired, after thirty years of college teaching, I decided that the most meaningful way for me to make a difference in the life of students was by creating an American government simulation that not only gives students insight into how the wheels of government grind out public policy; but also gives participants an insider’s view by putting a human face on politics.  In doing so, I created a simulation that pulls students in multiple directions and gives them an accurate portrayal of American politics, from the tragic to the mundane.  Earlier, I had the good fortune to experience politics from the inside out by (1) spending a summer at the Kennedy Presidential Library researching Presidential policy formulation plus (2) interviewing Congressional staff members over time.

Now, the finished project is available for others. In the Game of Politics simulation, which is set 4-6 years in the future (to get beyond current issues), participants are assigned a role in the Presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court (including lawyers) as well as the media.  Then, of course, they work on legislative, budgetary and judicial issues; but also they face multiple and multi-session story lines that cover (1) lobbying efforts (regarding legislative and budgetary matters), (2) emerging domestic and foreign policy issues, (3) constituency service matters, (4) legislative and executive wildcards, as well as (5) plain old distractions.  The complete simulation runs from three up to twelve sessions and participants walk away with a new respect for the task of governing as well as a much better knowledge of how to influence the political process.

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