As a new semester starts, students may be interested in getting involved with extracurriculars on campus. Model United Nations Club is a student-run organization that offers a space to learn and debate international politics.
According to Michael Struett, associate professor, political science department chair and the Model UN club faculty advisor, one valuable aspect of the club is it allows students to take on the perspective of other countries.
“It’s a great way to learn about international policy and international relations,” said Seth Morton, a second-year studying economics and political science and the president of the Model UN club. “It helps with professional skills, research, debate, just being in a formal setting.”
Those on the travel team compete against teams from other schools.
“You simulate a UN assembly or meeting, and you pretend to be a country, or if it's a crisis committee, you can pretend to be a person or a fictional character,” Morton said. “And then what you do is you just try to pass resolutions or pass objectives that would benefit your country or person in this specific meeting.”
According to Struett, conferences can be both in and out of state.
“Different teams or clubs from different schools represent different countries, and they would meet usually over the course of a day, or sometimes two days, and be different bodies of the United Nations, sometimes the security council, sometimes the general assembly, things like that,” Struett said. “And then typically there are awards for the best team delegation, the best delegate, the best resolution drafter, things like that.”
Struett said one exciting part of being in the club is the social interaction.
“It’s a social opportunity to hang out and be with the club members just at the regular meetings here on campus, but I think probably most people that are involved with it look forward to conferences and going to compete at Model UN tournaments,” Struett said.
According to Morton, the club was inactive during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic but was started up again this semester. It plans to attend one conference a month during spring 2022.
An information guide containing background about the chosen debate topic will be sent to each team before the conference. Research for each conference is mostly individual.
“It takes a couple weeks to do your own research and prepare,” Morton said. “We just want to have enough time for people to get ready for each conference and we don’t want them to feel rushed. So I think taking it slower like that is the best.”
Morton said they start meetings by talking about club plans and upcoming fundraising. They then go into workshops, writing papers and constructing conference strategies. They end each meeting with an interactive game.
Meetings are every Monday from 6:15-7:30 p.m. in Withers Hall, although Morton said they may be changing the meeting time in spring 2022. If students are interested in joining, they can email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s very much a student-led club, like a lot of the clubs at NC State are, which means it’s up to the students to decide how much they want to do and how organized they want to be,” Struett said. “It’s very rewarding for the students to get involved because in addition to learning about Model United Nations, they learn the organizational skills it takes.”