American History and Politics

SPARK@Ship's American History and Politics discipline will debate a topic currently before the United States Congress. Competitors will present their positions during a simulated committee session joining with current Shippensburg students to create a piece of legislation by the end of the SPARK@Ship session. Competitors and participants will join with faculty and students to discuss additional program opportunities related to applied history in the region.

The competition and its many activities are open to a total of 40 students interested in History and Politics; a limited number of student guests may attend. Lunch will be provided. There is no fee to register.


To be eligible as a student competitor, you must:

  • Be enrolled in or have completed AP United States History or AP United States Government
  • Be a Junior or Senior high school student or home school equivalent
  • Complete the project individually (no group projects)
  • Submit one proposal by the deadline of October 7, 2022
  • Appear on campus to present on October 19, 2022

To be eligible as a student participant, you must be:

  • Enrolled in or have completed AP United States History or AP United States Government
  • A Sophomore, Junior or Senior high school student or home school equivalent

To attend the event, you must be:

  • A parent, guardian, or caregiver of a registered student
  • A school counselor

Project Details

When participants register, they will be assigned a specific topic to research for the session. Assignments will be made no later than September 10, 2022.

Competitors must submit a two-page white paper by October 7, 2022, and come to campus to participate in the debate and the simulated committee session on October 19, 2022, to be eligible for awards.

White papers must present the position assigned by Shippensburg University faculty.

Citations need to follow appropriate formatting.

Submission Process

  • Registration and submission forms now available. Check your email for submission information after registering.
  • October 7, 2022: Deadline for all registrations and submissions.


Competitors will have three minutes to present their assigned position.  This is an oral presentation without support of PowerPoint or other multimedia.  University faculty members and current students will attend these presentations. 

Following the presentations, competitors will work with each other and current university students in committees to develop a piece of legislation. 

Judging Criteria

Competitors will be scored on a scale of 100 based upon the below criteria.

White Paper 60 points total:

Two faculty members will independently judge the papers and their scores will be averaged.

  • Introduction
  • Knowledge of Assigned  Position on Topic
  • Understanding of Arguments For and Against Position
  • Proposed Solution

Presentation 15 points total:

Judged by a panel of two faculty members and two students.

  • Presentation and oral defense

Working Group 25 points total:

Participation will be judged by two university students.

  • Active Participation in Committee for Proposed Legislation