Article by Nicholas Cortese ’23:
When compared to other clubs, Model United Nations is relatively new to Kellenberg, and certainly one of the most popular activities among students. While this year has altered our lifestyles, Model UN still runs strong with few adjustments made.
For those familiar with the United Nations, the club seems self-explanatory: your objective being to represent the position of a member state, and respond accordingly to a global or regional dilemma. But is this all Model UN has to offer? Looking more in-depth, students participate in competitions that they prepare for every Tuesday. The competitions are designed to be entertaining for both participants and viewers. Debates are held around convenient topics. The representatives embrace the environment and let out all the emotion that they have to show their passion in their stance. In a more relaxed discussion, it is recommended to avoid being well mannered, and instead, it is ideal for members to interrupt each other and yell at the opposition.
This year there were many questions as to how Model UN would function. How would a previously in-person, parliamentary-styled event participate in competitions? Will reforms degrade the situation? Are students going to remain passionate about the activities? Are the old methods still relevant? Not only were all of these queries solved, but they even managed to improve the club as a whole. Teams would join an online conference where students will use both their microphones as well as their keyboards to debate.
The use of online conferences for Model UN has opened up the gate to try out some novel techniques. All the participants join Schoology groups run by Mr. Kennedy, Mrs. Riiska, and Mr. Farrell. Schoology provides features such as breakout rooms to ease the experience of Model UN. Senior Ed Goodyear, who detailed his experience with the new and improved Model UN, said that breakout rooms are a good way to prepare for competitions. “We actually have only used breakout rooms when preparing for a conference. They are used so senior members can assist other members that are attending the competition in smaller groups. It allows for more one-on-one help especially when it comes to research and writing.”
Despite all of these radical changes, Model UN has kept its framework, and the topics of discussion have not changed Ed shared that they like to avoid topics such as the coronavirus. “So far we have been staying away from using COVID-19 as one of our debate topics. People already have to hear about COVID every day so why not give them something else to think about. Most of our topics are about international issues, so currently it’s been hard to find ones that are directly affected by COVID.”
Model UN has and is still an exciting club for those interested in international affairs. The changes that have been made do not hinder the exhilaration it offers. Anyone can still join the club and improve their skills as a debater. You can email a moderator or a current member to learn more about joining this invigorating club.