Laura came to college knowing little to nothing about Model UN or the UN for that matter, but when she decided to study International Relations she became interested in international organizations. Her IR major taught her more about the UN, but Laura believed the best learning resource for her outside of the classroom, was Model UN. Model UN gives student the opportunity to partake in a real conference, which mimics the role and function of the UN and its actors in the international world. She is now the President of the Roanoke Chapter of Model UN.
Each year Roanoke allocates funding for the Model UN program. This funding allows members of the club to partake in the annual Model United Nations conference in New York City. For this year’s conference, Roanoke will be representing Seychelles, a small island nation on the outskirts of Madagascar. While only five students from the club will be permitted to attend the conference, Model UN’s involvement at Roanoke College does not stop at the conference.
Model United Nations week will occur October 21st-25th. The week is dedicated to raising awareness of UN goals and programs like the Millennium Development Goals. In addition, the club will be accepting donations for a variety of Millennium Development Goals. At the end of the week club members will take the donations they have collected and donate funds to charities closely associated with the Millennium Development Goals. Additionally, the club will be collecting funds for UNICEF through a “trick o’ treat” style collection on Halloween.
When I asked Laura why she believes Model UN is important to Roanoke she remarked,
“I think that MUN teaches students how work together on issues that are very complex. This could range from international problems to problems that we feel at home. MUN is an opportunity for students to learn to look at issues from different perspectives and understand all the variables that affect a certain issue. In a liberal arts school like Roanoke, this ability is crucial to applying liberal arts principles. Anybody from any academic background can participate in MUN and find an issue that they can connect with and improve for future generations”.
Laura who is involved in a rigorous academic program, adds that the material she has learned in her classes has been extremely helpful to the development of the Model UN club. Wight says that her international relations coursework helped her understand foreign policy, historical relationships between countries, and human rights issues, all of which are applicable to Model UN and the policy making that the club attempts to simulate. Model UN has been able to complement Laura’s Public Affairs major by allowing her to examine various areas of international politics. The program has also given her the opportunity to collaborate with students from around the globe. Laura recommends to all students to get involved with Model UN. In fact, for those interested in becoming involved with Model UN, the group has weekly meetings every Thursday from 12-1 in West 123.