Last weekend about 800 delegates came together at Woodbridge to discuss what our nation truly represents and what underlying values we have.
After the opening session, Carol Murphy, the newly elected Democratic representative for New Jersey General Assembly addressed the students about topics such as ensuring pay equity, raising the minimum wage, funding women’s health care, reducing gun violence, funding public schools, paying pension obligations, providing affordable medication to seniors, standing up for LGBTQ rights, and reducing property tax. She also answered their questions bringing up topics such as standardized testing and the minimum wage. All in all, Carol Murphy left the delegates with the message that they were all tomorrow’s leaders.
At Fall State 2017, debates about issues ranging from the economy, to foreign policy, to the environment challenged students to put themselves in the shoes of policymakers all within the umbrella of “Our Nation, Our Values”. Students discovered various points of view and had the opportunity to defend their own through various debate styles such as thought talks, crossfire and devils advocate debates. In this debate format students were encouraged to find pragmatic solutions, or just challenge their own perspective all convention long. There was a gripping Supreme Court Case (Carpenter vs US) that not only helped students understand how the judicial branch works to resolve controversial issues but brought into light the increasing privacy issues in the digital age.
Aside from the new debate styles, there were other new components such as a meal plan, in efforts to have more affordable dining through the convention. Other attempts to make convictions more affordable included various fundraisers such as “Guess the Number of M&M’s?” and Starbucks and Chipotle Raffles. All proceeds went to the Scholarship Fund to help lower convention costs for those who need it. Also, for a break from debating there was a fun dance that was preppy themed.
The great thing about this convention is that we were able to see students pushing through ideology to find common ground – a skill rapidly diminishing from today’s politics. This ability pushed Fall State 2017 to greater heights. We look forward to see you at Winter Congress in February! Congratulations to the best speakers! For pictures check here!