Disa Woodland, Copy Desk Chief~

Lynchburg College participated in the Mid-Atlantic European Union Simulation Consortium in Arlington, Virginia from Nov. 8 to 11.

Dr. Marek Payerhin, professor of political science and a twelve-year veteran of the simulation, took a contingent of LC students (and one Randolph College student) to the EU simulation.

It was the 24th year of the event and the 20th year that LC has participated. LC students represented the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The other participating schools in the mock parliament were John Carroll University, West Chester University, the University of Scranton, York College of Pennsylvania, Susquehanna University, Lebanon Valley College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, McDaniel College and James Madison University. Students were tasked with taking on the personas of different members of the European Parliament and representing countries from all across the European Union.

For three days, under the watchful eyes of the professors, the students, within their European Parliamentary parties, dissected and amended several documents pertaining to the immediate concerns of the current MEPs. The EP parties were divided into committees.

The Constitutional Affairs Committee included budgetary amendments for the upcoming exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, aptly nicknamed Brexit. This committee also addressed the possibility for special trade and border considerations for Northern Ireland, to which the EP tried to include Scotland and almost brought about World War III.

The Civil Liberties Committee was tasked with addressing the migrant crisis in southern Europe and Turkey. They also discussed potential courses of action against Hungary and Poland whose governments are currently refusing to accept more migrants into their borders. Once all sections of the European Parliament were brought together, the documents were merged and voted upon.

Unfortunately, the parliament was not able to reach a middle-ground which caused the documents to revert to their original state in many places.

Senior political science major Logan Hancock who represented Ireland and is a second-year participant in the simulation said, “I was really prepared since Dr. Payerhin pushed us to do research, have knowledge of important documents and to believe in ourselves when giving speeches. The most interesting part of the simulation was to realize we are all students who have different viewpoints; however, we are willing to work together to compromise for the member state we are representing. Representing the European Council as a Head of Government and State you start to realize that compromise and working together is key for success.”

Katherine Santos, senior international relations major and a first-time participant in the EU simulation, said,“My impression of the European Union simulation was the overwhelming realization of just how many working parts are required to move the political machine that is the EU. I was frustrated after realizing that despite careful planning and hard-fought battles we could still walk away without having reached a general consensus. I expected more people to be able to articulate the positions they had taken after being assigned their alter ego. I think many students were unaware of what their role actually was.”

The LC contingency of students was also able to visit the British Embassy and spend time discussing the simulation and  politics with British diplomat David Riley. The students were also able to briefly tour the Ambassador’s home and garden.

Students interested in participating in future EU simulations should register for POLI 283.