MUN Club Gears Up for Upcoming NYC Trip

Skylar Britt, Reporter

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After months of preparation and hard work, the Model United Nations Club is about to embark on their trip to New York City. Leaving on March 25, and returning March 29, the group of about 14 students will represent the African country of Mozambique.

Don Wise, an instructor of public administration, has been the faculty advisor of MUN for nine years. Every fall he leads the club to the National Conference in Chicago and every spring they go to either New York or San Francisco, with the cities rotating each year.

“It’s a five-day conference,” said Wise. “Students are the delegates who represent an assigned country. This country is assigned by the number of delegates.”

Every day the students will meet from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with breaks throughout. However, they are given a half-day to explore New York and Times Square, which is where their hotel is.

Before they put the work in during the conference, they must do a lot to ensure they are representing their given country accurately.

“Students do research on topics and committees before the trip to know what issues the country is facing,” said Wise. “The committees and topics addressed within them are the same that are addressed by the United Nations on a current basis. Then they write a position paper to represent the country.”

The students don’t solely learn about different countries and cultures. The trip also helps them to refine their skills in delivering presentations and public speaking to a large audience. The student delegates, who are mostly international students, are also able to improve their writing skills as well as learning more about diplomacy and teamwork. To further their knowledge on their assigned country, they are able to have a pretty unique experience with those who know a lot about it.

“We visit the Embassy for Mozambique and will meet for one hour with the staff and diplomats to learn firsthand the work they do and find out how they approach the challenges being discussed,” said Wise.

To finish the conference, a closing ceremony is held at the UN General Assembly room where the student delegates sit at desks assigned for each of the countries. There they vote on resolutions for the problems the countries are currently facing. With no country coming out as the winner, per say, they all have to work together in order to fulfill the goals they have set out to achieve.

“No single country is able to control everything when working collectively to further the benefits that help them all,” said Wise. “They have to find a common position and partner with other countries with similar challenges and desires. They have to work together. Cooperation is key to getting more of a voice when facing issues such as poverty, hunger, pollution, agricultural and economic development.”

While the UN addresses these topics all year, the MUN Club also works tirelessly all year long. When the semester first starts they begin about ten weeks’ worth of preparation. The 14 students fundraise year-round and volunteer at Sporting Kansas City games as well as other events such as Worlds of Fun’s Halloween Haunt. Upon their return from the New York trip, they will begin working on next semester’s Chicago trip. The trips are not just a fun travel experience but also provide many learning opportunities.

“It helps kids better understand how the world works and how countries work together to try and solve resolutions,” said Wise. “Kids learn how to cooperate and work together. It helps with many aspects of school as well as building confidence.”

Andrew Breckenridge, a junior computer science major, has been in the club for two years. This is his second semester as the vice president, and he has prior experience going into this trip.

“We meet some really interesting people and get to spend time learning about current events,” said Breckenridge. “It’s nice to be up to speed with what’s going on in the world and it is fascinating learning about another country and its culture. Going to New York for a few days is a plus too!”

Fellow MUN member, Stephanie Deitelhoff, a sophomore elementary education major, is rather new to the club but fell in love with it early on. Already the club’s secretary, she offers some insight to those considering joining MUN.

“MUN is a great club to join because it puts our world into perspective,” said Deitelhoff. “Our members are from all over the world, and each week we come together to learn about the country we’re representing. We learn to work together as a team and build each other up,” she said. “We’re a family. At the end of the day, diplomacy and peaceful problem solving will save the day. Those were the grounds that the UN was formed on and that’s what we strive for in MUN.”

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Student newspaper of Park University
MUN Club Gears Up for Upcoming NYC Trip