The Governance Club at Tompkins High School provides students with opportunities to learn more about different types of government and how they work. They host different activities like simulations, where students play the part of a politician and have ‘fight to the death’ debates, and there are various courses of action for certain situations in certain countries. This sparks interesting discussions and allows students to see things from different perspectives.
“For example, our first simulation will be Gran Colombia during the Latin American Wars of Independence. The question of federalism will be very important if you don’t want Simón Bolívar’s dream of a united Latin America to fall apart. Or maybe you’re Venezuelan and want independence. Who knows?” said club leader Senior Ike Chen.
Students in this club learn about specific incidents in history that have influenced politics to this day and learn about governments where there is little to no citizen involvement. These topics help inform students about both past and present problems that have yet to be solved or have shaped countries’ governments into what they are today.
“I hope this will help encourage our club members to participate more in American democracy, since we have rights that many people across the world don’t and we have a civic obligation to let our voices be heard,” said Chen.
In the Governance Club students from many different backgrounds come together to share their interest in politics and government. Although not everyone has a lot in common and are a part of different sports or hobbies, everyone is able to freely express their opinion and share their beliefs on how they think countries should be run.
“There’s someone who plays football and a lot of people who play Paradox games. Even so, we all come together in this one club where we can speak about practically anything without being ostracised from society,” said Chen.
Understanding events that have happened in history that impact the way the world is ruled and governed will provide students with essential knowledge that can help them in debates or conversations in the future. These topics are important for society to be informed on and educated about, so that past unfortunate occurrences do not repeat themselves.
“So many things that ‘just are’ can be explained by history and culture, and knowing that will help us understand our globalised world better,” said Chen.
Club activities are currently being held on an app called Discord because of the pandemic, but instant access to the club is granted when joining the server and any student is welcome. The meetings start at 3 p.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. every day. Everyone is accepted and it is a comfortable environment for people to joke around and have fun while learning more about government.
“Members of Governance Club have access to a small community with a penchant for political jokes and memes, people who will steadfastly defend their beliefs (you’ll learn from debating with them), and a lot of interesting historical tidbits that are vital to understanding our globalised world,” said Chen.
This club does not offer any sort of college credit, however it does inform students on topics that they are passionate about. It offers an opportunity for students with shared interests to come together and discuss things that a lot of people don’t know about, and being able to have real debates and mature conversations with classmates will build character for who they become as adults.
“The people who are in the Governance Club are in it because of passion. Colleges may not care about this club, but they’ll certainly care about a widened perspective and greater interest in the world’s future,” said Chen.