Model UN Wracks Up Awards

Audrey Melick

In its fourth year running, Colgate’s Model United Nations (MUN) is doing better than ever.

Open to everyone who is interested, the club has expanded over the past few years and now consists of around 20 to 25 committed members.

Working together to simulate the UN General Assembly, MUN members research current issues, prepare speeches and interact through debate. Though this provides an on-campus outlet for politically-inclined students, the members’ hard work and dedication takes them far beyond Colgate’s borders.

Each year, the MUN attends about five conferences, usually located at another college or university within driving distance. About one month before each conference takes place, the club is assigned a country that it will represent. Individual members who show promise and commitment are chosen by other members to represent the club at the conference. Each delegate is assigned a particular committee, where they do research and prepare arguments on select topics for discussion.

At each conference, representatives from various schools engage in debate as they represent their assigned country’s point of view. MUN member, sophomore Deena Mueller, said that conferences do not revolve around competition.

“The point is to try and solve the problem, whatever it may be,” Mueller said, “To come to an agreement.”

Though the conferences remain good-natured and friendly, there is some amount of competition involved. Awards are handed out at the end of each conference to members whose performance stood out among others.

“Awards are based upon participation, knowledge of the subject being discussed and ability to work with others to come up with a solution,” MUN vice president junior Matt Greeson explained.

Last weekend at Yale University, Colgate’s MUN saw its most successful conference yet, bringing home five awards. Along with 11 other Colgate students, Mueller, Greeson, and President senior Elliot Conn were all in attendance.

As a senior who has been involved with Model UN since high school, and who attended the very first Colgate Model UN meeting, Conn is impressed with last weekend’s performance.

“We won more awards at that conference than we did the first year combined,” Conn said.

Conn hopes to see even more improvement at future conferences, especially with the club’s ever-growing membership.

“Every year gets better,” he said, “And the club is still expanding. Right now, we’re probably the fastest-growing competitive speaking group on campus.”

What is it that makes MUN such a popular organization at Colgate?

“This club has helped to improve my public speaking, and provided me with a greater appreciation for what I learn in class,” Greeson said.

Mueller, however, cites the social element as another important benefit of MUN participation.

“We’re a pretty close-knit group,” she said. “We like to have fun.”

Not only have members formed friendships within the group, they have established relationships with other MUN members from across the country and even around the world.

“I’ve met more people through conferences than I ever would have had I not joined this organization,” Conn said. “Of course, as an International Relations major, it has also helped with my schoolwork.”

With one successful conference under its belt, the MUN has much to look forward to, including four more conferences, one of which is the international conference that will take place in Mexico this spring. Over the past four years, the club has certainly made a name for itself.

“We’ve built a strong reputation as a solid team,” Greeson said.