Students get presidential

The Presidential Gala came amidst major leadership changes within Mock Convention

Callie Ramsey

The Mock Convention Presidential Gala on Saturday marked the last major event for the organization before convention weekend in February.

“Gala is of course a fundraiser, but it really generates hype,” General Chair Andrew McCaffery, ’16, said. “The delegate fair got everyone involved and now it’s time to celebrate. Gala marks the beginning of the home stretch.”

The gala was the first event since Mock Con saw some leadership changes.

Former Political Chair Katherine Hodges, ‘16, recently resigned.

Hodges, who has been political chair for two years, was not able to be reached for comment before the Phi’s publication.

“There was confusion within the organization regarding the University’s on-campus alcohol policies as they pertain to Mock Convention,” McCaffery said. “We are working closely with Student Affairs to make sure that Mock Convention is compliant with University policy at all future events.”

McCaffery said the confusion led to a discussion about the structure and organization of Mock Con. Following the discussion, he says, Hodges resigned.

The Speakers Chair and Speakers Committee moved under the General Department and the Platform Chair and Platform Committee shifted to the Communications Department. The National Political Chairs, Regional Chairs and State Chairs remain in their current capacities in the Political Department.

“Every cycle Mock Con, which is a very very large organization, finds itself needing to rework its organizational structure,” Mock Con faculty advisor Professor Bill Connelly said.

For the Gala the Warner Center received a facelift. Red and blue light strands hung from the ceiling and faces of Presidents flashed across screens.

Students recognized the formality of the event and dressed in long evening gowns and tuxedos.

There was an air of excitement as the school entered the final stretch of the convention cycle.

Many students experienced wait times trying to get into Warner Center, where the gala was held. There were also stretches of time that went by without music or with music quietly being played through the speakers. But many students enjoyed the gala.

“It was an awesome event,” Arizona State Chair Katie Clemmons, ‘17, said. “Now I am even more excited for convention weekend.”

The organization has now shifted its focus to convention weekend, and preparations are picking up steam.

Almost half of the speaker slots for convention weekend are filled, according to McCaffery.

McCaffery says he believes that Virginia is in play for the upcoming elections and he hopes that this factor, along with the potential that Liberty University will host a mid-January presidential debate will draw a lot of attention to the convention.

“The research team is trying to capture how dynamic the race has been” McCaffery said. “This may be the toughest pick in a long long time for Mock Con. Right now New Hampshire could hold their elections before or after convention weekend so we are really hoping they end up falling before.”

Despite the tough field, Connelly remains optimistic.

“The political team is very strong and I have more faith than ever before that mock con will get the prediction right,” Connelly said.