Model UN in a Pandemic

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Krimer

New members of the Model UN team discuss real world scenarios over Zoom.

Tobias Matthews, Staff Reporter

Shifting to an online platform has created challenges in all aspects of student life and the Model United Nations (MUN) club is no different. MUN is a club where students debate real world issues by representing countries in a simulated United Nations with other high school teams. The club primarily spends the year preparing for in-person conferences and thus has had to make changes to how it operates in an isolated world. The club plans on attending virtual events, but how those are going to operate this year is still unclear.

 

In the meantime, the club has attempted to teach its new members about MUN in hopes of attending a conference this year. Experienced members detail how conferences work and how to write position papers on a member’s assigned country in the club, but the transition to a virtual setting hasn’t been easy for club leaders.

“In person, we had the benefit of being able to simulate MUN conferences to help teach newcomers, but now we have to figure out some way of hosting them online, which will be difficult since MUN relies on people being in a room together,”  junior Surya Neil Ahuja said.

Newcomers have had trouble adjusting to the workings of MUN online. The atmosphere of MUN typically promotes personal growth by helping students develop their public speaking skills and understandings of the inner workings of debate. Furthermore, some members of the club worry a virtual platform isn’t as conducive to the atmosphere for intellectual debates

“MUN is all about debating ideas and the virtual set up we have now on Zoom does not really promote open debates like we used to have during our meetings,” junior Aaron Krimer said.

This problem the MUN club suffers is not unique, as many of the schools extracurriculars have had trouble shifting to an online format, but the MUN club does see itself lucky in one regard.

“The good thing about MUN is the only thing we need to fund is our own entry fees for the conferences,” Krimer said.

 

While many clubs have had to adapt to the new regulations that forbid fundraising during this semester, the MUN club will be able to run in a similar manner as before. The students will be able to continue attending virtual events by personally funding their own endeavors, which will be more affordable in an online format. The members of the club hope that despite the challenges this year poses for the club, it will be a valuable experience for everyone.

“So much of the fun of it is being there,” Ahuja said “Hopefully the organizers of the conference have made some creative solutions to the challenges the pandemic presents.”