CU’s Model United Nations club returned home this week with the awards “Distinguished Delegation” and “Outstanding Position Paper“ from the most recent conference in New York City, which took place April 7 through 11.
Vice president of the club, Jennifer Tschetter, a 20-year-old junior international affairs major, joined the MUN club her freshman year and also participated in the program during her high school years. Tschetter said the New York conference this year, during which the club represented South Korea, was amazing.
“It’s an absolute blast,” Tschetter said. “There’s no better way to describe it. My favorite part was meeting people from all over the world.”
National MUN clubs across the country give students the opportunity to assume the rolls of ambassadors to the United Nations and debate the current issues of the UN’s agenda.
Club member Mike DeCesare, a 19-year-old sophomore international affairs and economic double major, attended the New York City conference. DeCesare has been a member of the club since the fall 2008 semester.
“It is a student organization related to all things UN,” DeCesare said of the club. “It includes simulation of the UN where students assume roles of ambassadors.”
The New York conference this spring included topics such as UN Security Council reform and child soldiers.
The topics for the conferences are given a year in advance.
CU’s MUN club attended a conference last fall in Washington, D.C. where they debated with other university teams. The Costa Rica team was given one of three “Outstanding” awards, the top award given at the conference. Other awards the team received were “Distinguished Delegation,” for the Russian Federation team and “Honorable Mention” and “Outstanding Position Paper” for the Japan team.
Countries are chosen for each team in the fall conference based on a form that lists how many delegates will be attending from each university, how many countries they think they should have and which ones they would prefer.
Current president of club at CU, Kristina Getty, a 21-year-old senior international affairs, Spanish and German major, traveled to New York for this conference. She has been a member of the club since her freshman year.
For the New York conference, Getty says the countries are chosen based on the team’s performance in the previous conference. According to Getty, more awards equals a “bigger player” country.
The CU team was given South Korea over their first choice of China.
DeCesare said he hopes to work in the Foreign Service after he graduates and says that MUN has definitely helped him in this path.
“I think it’s beneficial for any type of diplomatic relations and it looks good on a resume,” DeCesare said.
“I think [Model UN] has definitely helped me,” Getty said. “I’ve gotten to see other people in the Model UN succeed. I think it will help me in networking things, negotiating skills and debate.”
Getty said she hopes to get involved with a non-governmental organization and focus on developmental and humanitarian aid.
The club members said their recognition as an internationally recognized, award-winning club in the Model UN is minimal at best here at CU.
“I think we would do better if we were more well-known,” DeCesare said. “We do get a lot of money from the student government but not the school at large.”
Getty said she thinks clubs like MUN are often overlooked on campus.
“I think we could be a lot more recognized,” Getty said. “With this university there is a focus on football and other sports clubs, not on the other aspects of the university.”
Getty said although the school at large doesn’t recognize them, within individual departments they are highly praised.
Tschetter said they are not the only club at CU facing this dilemma.
“I definitely feel like there are a lot of academic groups on campus that don’t get the recognition we deserve,” Tschetter said.
Tschetter also said this applies to students and faculty.
“I feel like every time I meet someone new I feel like they don’t know Model UN exists,” Tschetter said. “I don’t think a lot of the [Model UN] kids are upset there aren’t rallies for Model UN but it becomes important when it comes to funding.”
The club’s officers said finances can prevent students from attending conferences to compete.
“It’s really disheartening,” Tschetter said. “This year we had three or four kids who couldn’t afford to come [to the conference] and it’s sad.”
Getty and Tschetter both said they have high expectations for the club in the future.
“We would love to get an “Outstanding” at the spring conference next year,” Getty said.
The officers said they hope to expand CU’s participation in MUN conferences.
“I really would like to see us be able to attend a third conference,” Tschetter said, “even if it’s just in Nevada or Arizona.”
DeCesare said despite of a lack of respect and recognition, he is planning to return to the club next year.
“I’m going to stick with it,” DeCesare said. “I truly believe it’s an exalted endeavor. You make good connections and I like acting. I believe it prepares you for anything in the future.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Emily Zarka at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.