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The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Model United Nations Provides Students With an International Perspective

Model United Nations Provides Students With an International Perspective
Instagram / @colgatedebate

Colgate University’s Model United Nations (UN) team equips members with the ability to utilize history and public speaking to explore new perspectives in the international field. After welcoming new members, the team completed the first conferences of the year in Boston and Ithaca and is preparing for future conferences. 

Within a Model UN Conference, there are many different situations for students to prepare for. From the Colgate Model United Nations website, students “learn about global issues and international organizations by representing different nations and working with the delegates of other nations, as well as representatives of NGOs.” In addition, students have the opportunity to take part in “history-based crisis committees” and make key decisions on the outcome of “policies, decisions and resolutions.” 

While the current Model UN team travels to many conferences each year and has meetings that are well-attended by members, the team was not always as large as it is now. Senior and President Ellie Markwick first joined the team during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time of virtual meetings and canceled competitions. 

“My first year, Model UN was basically me, the current board at the time and maybe one or two other members, just because all clubs were really struggling during that time. Everything was on Zoom,” Markwick said.

As president, Markwick organizes conference opportunities and seeks to provide new experiences and conferences for members, including an international conference each year. 

“We’re always trying to find better opportunities, so we’ve actually dropped a couple conferences that we used to go to on a regular basis in place of some new ones,” Markwick said. “We’re trying to get an international conference each semester so that students who maybe weren’t involved with one semester have that really cool travel opportunity.”

For first-year Micah Spicer, the conference in Ithaca was her first introduction to Model UN.

“It was really nerve-wracking at first, but the head delegates were really friendly and understanding that this was a lot of people’s first conference,” Spicer said. “It was definitely a little out of my comfort zone because in debate I always had pre-written speeches, and it’s really challenging to have pre-written speeches in conferences because you don’t know exactly what’s being talked about. So it was definitely scary at first, but once you get the hang of having to speak, it gets easier.”

While some students in Model UN have an interest in working for the United Nations one day, being on the team benefits anyone with an interest in international matters and current affairs.

“I think a lot of students really think [the UN] is at least interesting and very much relevant with everything going on in the world,” Markwick said. “So it’s a way for them to really engage with that and open that door for the future, should they choose to go down that route.”

For first-year Devin Dong who has an interest in working for the UN and attended the Ithaca conference, Model UN builds on experiences that he had in high school while introducing him to new ideas and experiences. 

“Model UN really helped me a lot from high school. It really helped me to learn about different histories, politics and international relations,” Dong said. “It is really difficult as a Chinese student because I have to use English, debate with native speakers in America and learn about new histories and politics in English. Initially, I thought it was really hard, but Model UN gave me the confidence that I can do it and I can try it.”

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About the Contributor
Joshua Repp, Assistant Arts & Features Editor
Joshua Repp is a first-year from Toledo, OH with a potential concentration in political science and a potential minor in Chinese. He has previously served as a staff writer for the News, Arts & Features and Baker's Dozen sections. On campus, Joshua is a marketing coordinator for Colgate Portfolio, intern for the division of arts and humanities, and participates in intramural table tennis.

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