A global pandemic has put a lot of school activities on hold; Model UN (MUN) is not one of them. The MUN team competed at the Washington University Model UN Synopsis Oct. 10. While the event normally takes place in Washington University’s St. Louis campus, this year WashU hosted the conference over Gatherly, a video conferencing site.
“At the beginning there were a couple of tech errors on the part of the school, but, overall, I think it was really good. Obviously, I, as well as the rest of the team, prefer an in-person format, but, for an online conference, they did a really good job of hosting it,” senior MUN president Naila Charania said.
In total, 25 Heritage delegates competed in all seven different committees. Training for an in-person conference began at the beginning of the year. Once the officers chose which students would compete at WUMUNS, they began practicing for the online format. At the conference, new and returning delegates had to adapt to the new ways of judging and communicating with other students.
“From a competitive standpoint it was completely different because usually Model UN revolves around your social and speaking skills because you have to form a group with people you’ve never met before. This year the competition was only a day, and my chairs didn’t really see what was going on in our individual groups, so there was a greater emphasis on speaking ability,” senior MUN president Justin Folks said.
Typically, WUMUNS not only provides delegates a chance to improve on their crisis committee skills but also gives older team members a chance to bond with younger delegates. In an in-person conference, the team goes out to lunch together to discuss their committees and problem solve. Officers tried to mimic this experience by hosting a google meet during the lunch break. However, not every in-person experience has an online equivalent.
“There’s no replacing the feeling of cheering on your teammates when they get an award or everyone celebrating together after they call our delegation awards,” Folks said.
Despite these challenges, Heritage swept up a school award and seven individual awards. Looking toward the future, the club hopes to attend a physical conference again this year.
“We definitely want to try, but of course given everything that is going on, we just have to wait and see,” Charania said.