SLU’s Model UN Team Finishes Season in California

On April 21, 2022, fifteen of Saint Louis University’s students traveled to Los Angeles, California to attend a Model United Nations conference hosted by the University of California, Berkeley. 

     The last of the academic year, this competition was the first time the team had been able to travel to California since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “Rebuilding the team has been a really big focus this year for our executive board.” First-year SLU student and Model UN member, Mariya Yasinovska said. 

     Model UN is a popular extracurricular activity at both collegiate and high school levels. There are two types of competitions or “committee sessions,” General Assembly and Crisis Committee. General Assemblies encompass almost all members in which students portray members of the United Nations.

     “It’s the most common form of committee session,” Hayden Turley, first-year Model UN member, and next year’s treasurer said. 

     In General Assemblies, delegates of each team will represent a country in an attempt to resolve a mock issue by acting in the interest of their nation. These assemblies require research and critical thinking  as they face potential alliances and enemies throughout the session. 

      The sessions themselves are not quick endeavors. 

   “Each commitee session will last upwards of three or four hours,” Turley explained. 

    The committee session attended in Los Angeles  was a Crisis Committee rather than a General Assembly. In this format, members respond to a historically fictional event, during which Model UN participants take on the role of legitimate historical figures or countries. The session is a reenactment of the event and contributors are encouraged to use creativity and flexibility. 

   “You can literally do the craziest things,” Turley laughed. 

     The team competed on Thursday for a half-day and Friday and Saturday, attending committee sessions all day. 

     “The two days we were in committee we really didn’t have much time for anything besides lunch and dinner,” Yasinovska said. 

      “It’s really cool that we get to do that through Model UN because, going to LA and Boston, that’s not really things everybody gets to say they did during their freshman year of college,” Yasinovska said. 

        Not only does the team grant participants the opportunity to travel, but it also offers students the opportunity to hone several different skills. “Being able to give speeches in front of maybe 100 people, knowing how to think quickly and how to cooperate with others, these are all incredibly valuable skills that can be applied to anything in the professional world,” Turley said. 

      Both Yasinovska and Turley agree the team itself is also a source of connection and growth. “I’ve met some amazing people and developed amazing friendships,” said Yasinovska.   

       The team continues to grow its membership, having the largest number of first years the team has experienced in several years, with its doors open to all years and majors. “It’s something that really helps you break out of your shell,” said Turley “You can really make it your own.”

      The team will continue its weekly meetings next year. Information about upcoming events can be found on their Instagram page and newsletter.