The St. Olaf Model United Nations team recently won several awards at a conference they attended in Wisconsin, marking a significant first for this young team. The conference was at the University of River Falls over the weekend of April 3-6. Caitlin Connell ’17 won Best Delegate Honorable Mention, the second-highest award at the conference, and Ben McManamon ’17, Maggie Connell ’17 and Hannah Brown ’17 won Best Delegate Nominee, the third-highest award. Overall, the team received Best Delegation Nominee for their work representing Austria. They were in the top five delegations out of 58 teams, mostly from the Midwest, to attend the conference.
“We won several awards, but I am most pleased about the interactions we had with delegates from other schools,” Thomas Weihe ’17 said. “Most of them seemed very happy to have worked with us, and we were happy to work with them.”
This was the first time the team attended the Arrowhead Model U.N. Conference AMUNC at the University of River Falls, and they did not know what to expect. Typically, the team only attends one conference a year in Chicago. They plan to continue into the next academic year by again attending the Chicago conference and are bolstered by their success this year. They will add to their victories by bringing in new members, practicing more and hopefully attending more conferences next year.
“We hope to continue attending the conference in Chicago and the Arrowhead conference in future years,” Maggie said. “We really want to continue to develop the program by working more with our surrounding schools to run smaller simulations.”
Maggie’s twin sister, Caitlin, is also a part of the first year-dominated team. “We want to invest more in preparing for the tournaments so that we can get more out of them,” Caitlin said. “We have a team composed of a ton of freshmen this year, so we have a lot of time to improve and develop the team, which is really exciting.”
Model U.N. involves students representing a country by writing resolutions and negotiating for that country. They work to emulate the process of actual United Nations meetings and assemblies. For a conference, schools sign up for the country they want to represent before attending. Before and during the conference, students research how their country would respond to situations and prepare resolutions. They are also required to prepare speeches for opening remarks and arguments for their resolutions. Each person on the team is assigned to a different committee as a delegate. The committees range from environmental to economic to women’s rights councils.
The overall goal is to learn more about international affairs while developing writing and public speaking skills.
“I joined Model U.N. because I really love public speaking, and international politics are a huge interest of mine. This program has really given me better insight into how the U.N. works,” Maggie said.
The Model U.N. team was excited to have accomplished so much this year, but they are eagerly awaiting next year and the new talent and development it will bring. With this year’s success, the team will just have to wait and see where they go in future years. St. Olaf Model U.N. is one of three main competitive clubs on campus, along with Mock Trial and Debate, that involve both politics and public speaking.