Although the next presidential election may seem far away, preparations for Mock Convention 2016 are already in full swing.

At its core, Mock Con is a large research project conducted by students at Washington and Lee University every four years. The goal of Mock Con is to predict whom the party not in control of the White House will nominate to run for President of the United States.

Katherine Hodges, ’16, Political Chair for Mock Con 2016, oversees and organizes the political aspects of Mock Con. She says that the dedication of the student body to doing quality research is what makes Mock Con such a nationally acclaimed project.

“[The reason] why Mock Con is so important is because it relies on the personal aspect,” said Hodges. “We are on the ground, talking to people within their states; we are creating actual relationships…we don’t just rely on polls.”

The convention is technically a political research project, but you do not need to be a politics major or a political genius to become involved with Mock Con.

The leaders of Mock Con 2016 encourage students from all grades and disciplines to become involved. Mock Con is a school wide effort, and it takes hundreds of fun, enthusiastic and hard-working students to make it a success.

So far, Mock Con has already filled several of its key political positions. Joe Kimbell, ’17, is Mock Con’s Chief Political Analyst, and works alongside Kevin Ortiz, ’16, another Political Analyst. In addition, five students have been selected to be Mock Con’s Regional Chairs: Jake Barr, ’16, Northeast; Caroline Bones, ’18, South; Rachel Gallagher, ’18, West; Matt Kinderman, ’16, Midwest; and Mitchell Hamilton, ’16, Southwest.

Charles Correll, ’17, is the Speakers Chair for Mock Con. He is in charge of reaching out to potential guest speakers to attend Spring Kickoff and Convention Weekend. Speakers in the past include former Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Applications for the Speakers Committee are currently being reviewed, and those selected will work with Correll to recruit an impressive roster of guest speakers.

Mock Con is currently looking to hire the State Chairs for the 2016 convention. 55 State Chairs will be selected to coordinate the research conducted by their respective state’s delegates. Working under the oversight of their Regional Chair, State Chairs will be responsible for contacting professionals and officials within their states. This includes, but is not limited to, contacting grass roots organizations, sitting senators and congressmen, journalists, and political scientists. State Chairs should feel comfortable leading a delegation of students, as well as have impeccable time management skills.

In addition to representing the 50 states, the five remaining chair positions will represent these territories: Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The application for State Chair positions will be released during the week of Thanksgiving break. Applications are due on Dec. 19 at 11:59 p.m. EST. To access the application and to learn more information about the political aspects of MockCon, please visit www.mockconvention.com