Bringing Back Tradition: Betsy Swann '14


During the weekend of November 17-20, eleven Rhodes students will participate in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature in Nashville, Tennessee. Sophomore, Betsy Swann—along with Political Science professor, Stephen Wirls—is responsible for bringing the program back to Rhodes for the first time in 30 years.
 
The Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) is a mock government program where Tennessee college students are able to mimic the Tennessee state government.  The event is comprised of delegations from colleges all over Tennessee. Students from each college have the option to be legislators who may write their own bills and attempt to pass them through Congress. Students may also act as lobbyists, media representatives, and lawyers (to argue bills in the Supreme Court). TISL is unique in that the entire competition takes place in the actual Tennessee capitol building, giving students an authentic experience. 
 
Betsy got involved with mock government when she attended Davidson Academy in Nashville, TN.  For four years, she participated as a legislator in Youth Legislature, a high school version of mock government that is very similar to TISL. When she got to Rhodes, she was aware that they did not have an established TISL delegation.  By January, she began to realize that she was truly missing her days as a legislator.  Betsy was passionate about the program and felt that Rhodes would benefit from having a team. She emailed TISL to see what it would take to get the program started here at Rhodes. 
 
After months of planning, Rhodes now has established a team of 11 students who have been excitedly preparing for the competition, writing briefs and bills that they will present and argue.  The upcoming Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislator will be a great opportunity for Rhodes students to get hands-on experience of political life.