JSA Attends Winter Congress

Lucy Duchac and Autumn Treml

This past weekend, February 19th and 20th, Arrowhead’s chapter of JSA attended Winter Congress. 


Winter Congress was comprised of “students from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan,” says Timothy Tower, Arrowhead’s Sociology teacher, and JSA leader. Along with Arrowhead’s chapter of JSA, Oconomowoc was the other chapter from Wisconsin that attended the event.


This was the first in-person JSA convention in over two years due to COVID-19. While Winter Congress was held in Chicago and not Washington DC this year, as it would usually be, it was an in-person event.


With the new covid updates as more and more congresses are held, Grace Erdman a chair member of JSA says, “Join JSA next year because next year as we are moving out of this pandemic, more chance for in-person conventions.”


At this event students “participate in a Mock Congress,” says Tower. “They write legislation and then work to defend their bills during the day. Students are placed into rooms where the legislative docket is set. Each bill is then debated and voted on.” 


Just like in congress, the students are split into two houses: “a house and a senate,” says Tower. “At the end of each session students also vote for the best speakers in each session.” Arrowhead’s JSA had three of their students voted as best speakers at Winter Congress.


Along with student interactions the Winter Congress had keynote speaker Karen Alter from Northwestern University, Erdman said she found this speech to be important because she talked about “We can make changes in our own circles, and how we need to build our skill sets as we are now in order to make change in future.”


Winter Congress was open for all students and JSA members to join, as long as they paid the fee. However, for students that did not have the funds to pay, there was a scholarship available to apply to get the fee paid for (in part).


In addition to the legislation and voting process, there were also fun events for the students to participate in says Tower, Arrowhead “won the chapter caucus cheer and participated in nighttime activities.”


Reflecting on Winter Congress Erdman says, “For our first in-person convention since the pandemic started it went really well, a lot of people were really excited to be back in person and see people and experience an in-person convention as opposed to a virtual one. With all the logistics aside, there were a lot of places where we had to think fast or change something because we were going overtime, or something wasn’t working out, even with that being said, it was really well planned out and went really well.”


JSA’s spring convention is currently in the works. It will also be held in Chicago at some point in April.