Fantasy Congress Launches a New Game of Politics Claremont McKenna College Students' New Game Yields List of Most Active and

Least Active U.S. Legislators



    CLAREMONT, Calif., Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Politics isn't just a
 spectator sport anymore. A team of students at Claremont McKenna College
 (CMC) today officially launched Fantasy Congress (www.fantasycongress.us),
 a free, interactive web site inspired by the sports fantasy league
 phenomenon. Players draft teams of actual U.S. legislators and pit them
 against each other in competition. The Fantasy Congress creators hope the
 game will inspire individuals to pay as much attention to government as
 they do to sports.
     "If people cared about politics as much as they care about sports, we'd
 have a better democracy," said CMC Senior Andrew Lee, one of the
 masterminds behind Fantasy Congress. "Fantasy Congress hopes to create a
 more accountable government and a better educated electorate. Congress
 needs to know that young people are watching them, just as they watch
 sports teams and athletes."
     The idea for Fantasy Congress came to Lee while living with a roommate
 preoccupied with fantasy football. Lee, who describes himself as "obsessed
 with politics," thought someone should create a similar game, where instead
 of drafting quarterbacks or shortstops, players draft members of Congress
 to play on their team. Lee then looked to three fellow students at the
 highly competitive, small liberal arts college and used start-up funds from
 a College business plan competition to help build the interactive web site.
     Fantasy Congress encourages people to "play politics" by becoming
 citizen- managers of teams of legislators, receiving points based on the
 performance of their team's legislation. Points vary depending on the kind
 of legislation and the stage accomplished by each piece of legislation. For
 example, introduced bills receive five points, while bills that have been
 passed and agreed to by the chamber receive 30 points. As legislators
 accumulate points by doing the people's work in Congress, players can draft
 new legislators, drop the least active from their teams, and even trade
 with other players for more highly active legislators.
     "By giving players a chance to 'do' politics online, Fantasy Congress
 will help them understand Congress," said CMC Crocker Professor of
 Government Jack Pitney who advised the students in developing the game.
 "Fantasy Congress is a unique exercise, allowing anyone to manage a team of
 lawmakers. As a classroom teacher, I've been waiting for something like
 this for a long time. There are plenty of sites with information about
 Congress. This one is truly interactive."
     Fantasy Congress has created the most comprehensive legislative
 database outside of the Library of Congress. Already Fantasy Congress has
 identified a top 10 list of the most active legislators as well as the 10
 least active. Topping the most active list is John Warner, Republican from
 Virginia.
     The Fantasy Congress team, which includes software architects Arjun
 Lall '07 and Ian Hafkenschiel '08, graphic designer Ethan Andyshak '06
 along with Lee, worked closely with a group of professors at CMC to develop
 the site and its content.
     The initial version of Fantasy Congress was beta-tested with Truman
 Scholars around the United States. More than 50 leagues have already been
 started across the country, including Brown University, Seton Hall,
 Louisiana State University, and Kansas.
     To find out more or to give Fantasy Congress a try, visit
 www.fantasycongress.us.
     Contact:
     Evie Lazzarino, 909-607-9099
     evie.lazzarino@cmc.edu
 
 

SOURCE Claremont McKenna College

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