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Visiting the State House and Applying for State House Express

Visiting the State House

NJStateHouse_webThe special tours developed by the Office of Legislative Services for Eagleton’s State House Express help all students, especially those in government, civics and history courses, learn about the lawmaking process. The tour focuses on the legislature as an arena where different ideas are deliberated and negotiated and where settlements are reached.

The goal of the tour is to teach students about the legislature’s role in representative democracy and encourage civic participation in the American political system. On a typical tour students will see the General Assembly and Senate caucus room. Students may also participate in a “make-a-law” exercise where they will learn about the roles of discussion, negotiation, compromise and voting in the enactment of legislation. They may also engage with several multimedia exhibits located in the State House Welcome Center, time permitting. Each teacher will be asked to fill out an evaluation form at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Please note: The State House is a working office building subject to periodic unannounced room closings, so tour routes may be altered. While room closings are more likely to occur on Mondays and Thursdays when the legislature is in session, the building is often more active and vibrant on those days.

Application Process

Teachers may submit applications for the 2019-20 program to Eagleton at any time during the academic year. Awards are made on a rolling basis, with decisions made as soon as the applications are received. Application for 2019-2020 year will be available by end of August 2019.

Eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Awards are designated for students in grades 4 through 12.
  • Classes visiting the State House must consist of a minimum of 25 students.
  • All tours must be scheduled and completed during the 2019-2020 academic year (September 2019-June 2020).
  • All teachers of students in grades 6-12 in public and private schools are encouraged to apply, including those who have received awards in the past. Individual teachers are eligible each year. In special circumstances, separate grants may be awarded to different teachers in the same school.
  • Other school groups or organizations who do not meet the exact criteria specified above may also apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Scheduling the State House Tour

Teachers who receive grant awards contact the Tour Office at the Office of Legislative Services in Trenton to schedule their class tours. The office can be reached at (609) 847-3150.

It is assumed the group has permission of school and/or district authorities to participate in the trip.

When contacting the Tour Office, teachers must specify that they are a State House Express grant recipient. The tour program runs about two hours but may be shortened on request. Tours are subject to availability and limited to fifty people per tour (including chaperones). The Tour Office will notify the school district’s legislators of the scheduled visit but it is the teacher/school’s responsibility to contact the Legislator to request a meeting or to make special arrangements.

The Governor and Legislators do not routinely meet with tour groups unless arrangements are made by the school in advance.

For further information, contact:

Gloria Minor
Eagleton Institute of Politics
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
191 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

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