The revival of Seattle University’s Model United Nations Club now offers students a home and community for those interested in global humanitarian efforts. The club’s resurgence has been orchestrated by students Sam Schultheis and Kate Hannick, who are passionate about sharing the values reflected in the Model UN Club.
Model United Nations meets with its members in the library.
“I think the Model UN has two main components that are really beneficial to people. It helps people hone a lot of really important skills, anything from public speaking, to researching, to crafting policy. Also it gives you a perspective into global awareness, and it inherently involves putting yourself into the role of representing another country,” said club Secretary-General Sam Schultheis.
Members meet and prepare for conferences. In these conferences, each club member, or delegate, is given a country in the UN to represent, and then all delegates are given the same issue, whether it be environmental, humanitarian, etc. The delegate has to represent the country’s current stance on the said issue, and then offer their own solution to the problem, in accordance to their country’s beliefs. At the end of each conference, the chairs of each committee determine who will be leaving the Model UN conference with some awards and titles.
Although delegates work individually, they represent a team. “Every single delegate is just as important as the next,” said club Director-General Justin Bindel.
“If you’re really doing it right, you’re going into the country itself and trying to get that viewpoint, trying to understand what that necessitates, what that brings. It’s a really unique experience being able to put yourself in that position and talk about all kinds of international issues,” Schultheis said.
The club also works to raise awareness about global humanitarian movements and how they work with the UN. “Everyone thinks that the United Nations is the Security Council and that’s it, which is not a great viewpoint to have on the UN because the Security Council is very, very flawed. And so people see that and they think that the whole organization is useless,” Schultheis said. “But the fact of the matter is, the UN has dozens of different branches and organizations that touch upon every possible aspect of humanitarian international relations. Anything from drug trafficking, to world health, to environmental protection. There are things that the UN does that people are barely aware of. ”
“Basically everyone who was in the club either transferred, or graduated, and it [the club] crumbled, but luckily Sam and Kate Hannick decided to build it back up,” says Bindel in response to the club’s dwindling presence on campus. “The first thing that drew me in, was when Sam said ‘This is a club that points out your talents, and exaggerates them.’ People who are good at public speaking, people who are good at legal writing, who are good at team building; this is the club for them,” Bindel said.
Catt Thompson, the club’s Undersecretary-General of Recruiting, said she joined the club knowing nothing about what Model UN was.
“After learning more about it and getting to know everyone involved, I am so glad to be a part of it. There’s such a strong community around it and, even if you’re not particularly skilled at public speaking or don’t know a lot about international politics, you will still be welcomed with open arms,” Thompson said. “I can honestly say that our weekly meetings are consistently a high point of my entire week. I can’t recommend enough for anyone who is even just slightly interested to come check it out because we really have a great thing going here and I believe SUMUN has a bright future ahead of it.”
While Model UN meetings are currently centered around their upcoming Portland conference, those interested in joining are still encouraged to come to meetings and become acquainted with how model UN works. “It taught me everyone’s important. And if you want something, and you speak your voice, you can get it,” said Bindel.
Meetings are Mondays at 8 p.m. in room 272 in the Seattle U Lemieux Library, and the Secretary General can be reached at [email protected] for more information.
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