WSU Model UN | Photo submitted by Alexandria Applin
The Wright State University (WSU) Model United Nations (UN) team took home 11 awards during the Dayton Model United Nations conference which occurred on Feb. 5 and 6.
The conference, hosted by Sinclair Community College, was held for the first time virtually this year. It allows students to assume the role of different member states in the United Nations and participate in different councils.
Members of the Security Council draft resolutions while the other councils offer recommendations for the member states to take.
Working with Model UN
Participating in Model UN has helped student Hannah Weisgerber, who received one of the Outstanding Delegate awards, build more confidence and understand teamwork, especially when drafting these resolutions.
“It’s given me background on how problems can be approached and how it’s necessary to collaborate with others to fix problems,” Weisgerber said.
Weisgerber, who represented Netherlands on the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) council, earned a position paper award and was one of three recipients of the Outstanding Delegate award. Amani Wilson and Taylor Ronnebaum also received the honor.
Ronnebaum, who represented Spain, believes that her time in the program will assist her when she graduates from WSU and heads to law school.
“Critical thinking, problem-solving and research skills, all of that is going to be important as a lawyer, and you learn all of that in Model UN,” Ronnebaum said. “They have us do so much speaking practice, and it’s really helped me grow as a speaker substantially.”
Preparing for the conference
To prepare for the conference, the competitors each had to do substantial research on the policies of their member states. Graduate student Autumn Kern, who represented China, was supposed to be staffing the event but became a participant the week before.
“China’s not a state that I have represented before, so I had to get familiar with a lot of their foreign and domestic policies,” Kern said. “I had to read up on who China works most closely with, as far as being allies, who they’re not likely to work with.”
The participants also had to write position papers defending their member state’s position on certain topics. Graduate student Doug Suazo, who represented the United Kingdom on the Simulated Security Council, wrote about the tension between China and the United States during the coronavirus pandemic as well as trafficking through the dark web. He had to follow strict guidelines while writing this paper.
“The standards are similar, if not identical, to the Model UN standards,” Suazo said.
Suazo was one of the students who earned an Honorable Mention award at the conference, along with Brad Kerry and Chase Harness.
During this year’s conference, half of the students participated virtually while the other half were gathered in the Student Success Center. Each in-person participant was spread out in a large lecture hall.
“It was still nice to be able to see the rest of our team,” Italy representative Alexandria Applin said. “We all came back from our committees and you could see people from Wright State and people from all of the various schools on the screen. It made you feel like you were still close, even if we all couldn’t be there together.”
Some of the students who had previously participated in Model UN had won awards at the conference. Many of them were surprised and humbled to receive awards this year, including Kern, who won the Special Recognition Award.
“I was really surprised, and I just felt really honored,” Kern said. “I thought it was a testament to everything that my faculty advisors have taught me over the years of Model UN that I was able to pull that off with just a week of preparation.”
Applin was a recipient of the Distinguished Delegate award with Zachary Janow.
“I could not have done it without the support and the knowledge that I had gotten in class leading up to the conference, and all of the other students who were involved in that conference from other schools in our area,” Applin said. “They were so fun to work with, and they made that simulated session so very real.”