LION Newspaper

MUN goes to Michigan, new members build confidence

Taylor Schmitt, Reporter

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LT’s Model UN team took 20 students-mostly sophomores and juniors-to the University of Michigan for a conference between Jan. 11 and 14. This new conference was added in lieu of LT’s attendance at a Northwestern University conference. In addition to the Michigan conference, MUN added two new day conferences and an overnight trip to Michigan State in April.

“[MUN] is a unique learning experience,” head sponsor Andrew Johannes said. “The club offers a social atmosphere which is great for meeting new people, but you also need to have speaking skills, research skills and human skills to be able to work with other people. That’s pretty unique in that other clubs might focus on only one or two of those things.”

The most recent four-day conference saw members participate in different committees, which were small groups comprised of assigned representatives from different schools or countries, Johannes said. While the team didn’t win any group awards, 12 out of LT’s 20 representatives received an individual award.

In these committees, the representatives debated various current political topics that depended on their committee. The committees ranged from the UN General Assembly that included every school at the conference to regional committees that focused more on the current political issues of a specific region. In the past, students have spent up to 40 hours in committee at other conferences, Johannes said.

“My favorite thing about the conferences is that idea that students get to work together to accomplish a goal,” Johannes said. “For instance, last year we were assigned France for a conference and 11 students created and coordinated a game plan, and we ended up getting second at the conference. It’s fun to see students rise to that challenge and approach new situations in unique ways.”

When not in conferences, the students spend their time doing research to prepare for the next conference, Johannes said. After they are assigned a country and position, students prepare for the conference by conducting research on current global issues.

“I think that the preparation and seeing the payoff of that preparation are huge benefits of MUN, but I also think that conferences give you the ability to grow and gain confidence,” Johannes said. “When you are able to get up and speak in front of, sometimes, 150 kids and try to get that group to vote for what you believe is the right direction, can only boost your confidence. Even for our less-experienced kids, we get to see them grow and it’s really fun to see kids mature into that process.”

Many of the seniors had conflicts for this conference, allowing the younger, less-experienced students to participate, Johannes said.

“On overnight conferences, you have the opportunity to become significantly better,” Secretary General Jack Dudley ’18 said. “MUN isn’t something you pick up by reading about it. It’s something that you have to pick up by doing it. And even though it is an academic club, it is still very much about the experience. Even if you’ve done all of the research in the world, you can’t win unless you’re a confident person and the only way to become confident in MUN is by going to these conferences.”

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Taylor Schmitt, Website/Social Media co-editor

I’m a Co-Web/Social Media editor for the LION! When I’m not posting on the website, you can usually find me in the Reber Center acting or searching...

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MUN goes to Michigan, new members build confidence