By Hailey Hensley
Rider’s Model United Nations (U.N.) team recently achieved a first place victory at the largest Model U.N conference in the world, which was held on April 14 to 18 in New York City. Out of over 100 competing schools, Rider’s delegation was recognized as “outstanding” by the judges at the conference.
Many members of the Rider community are largely unaware of what Model U.N. is, according to Head Delegate Andrew Gandham, a senior international business major, who took time to explain the basic principles.
“Model United Nations is a simulation of the United Nations, so our school and schools around the world will get assigned a country and that country is put on different committees that deal with different topics. So our job is to represent the will of that country by researching those topics and those issues that are relevant to the world today,” said Gandham.
The Rider Model U.N. team has a very strong history of bringing home awards from the New York City conference and, according to Gandham, they have taken home the first place award 10 times in the past 12 years.
“The fact that our team of 16 delegates was recognized out of 2500 competitors is really awesome. It’s the biggest model U.N. conference in the world, so the fact that we were able to get first place shows how well our program is doing,” Gandham said.
Becoming a member of the Model U.N. team is not an easy task. Hannah Joudi, a sophomore political science major described an intense multiphase try-out process that is meant to gauge strengths, weaknesses and work ethic.
“The first one is kind of like a simple interview like you would go to at any job, the second one we give you a speech and a country and you have to give a speech about the country and the topic we assign to it. We use it to gauge your potential,” Joudi said.
In describing the final phase of the interview process, Joudi expressed how important it was for members to be able to work with a partner.
“The last interview is a partner session where two people are assigned the same country but with different topics. Before that interview, they meet up with the partner we assign them with and they give each other information on the topics. Then when they go into the interview we ask each one of them questions to see how well they work in a partner dynamic,” Joudi said.
However, according to current team members, the real work begins once someone becomes a member of the team.
Joe Fracasso, a sophomore biology major and Model U.N. delegate, said “[Model U.N.] necessitates you to have your nose to the grind. You’re spending so much time on researching and making sure that you’re accurate and really reflecting your country’s views while also getting through your position paper, working with leadership and preparing for simulations, that there’s always something to do.”
Even with Model U.N. being an incredibly demanding extracurricular, so much that it counts as an elective for the political science major, the students who are involved seem to truly enjoy the program and commend its success.
“I came in expecting to become a better diplomat because social justice is something I care a lot about. That was what I was looking for but I really found so much more through this program. I think it really improved me as a speaker and as a friend and even just in socialization. It gave me a larger support network. It made me a better person overall. I don’t think there has been another extracurricular that’s really enriched me so much,” said Fracasso.
Regardless of the perpetual success of Model U.N., some members feel there is a lack of recognition for their team’s continuous effort.
“I think there should be more recognition for Model U.N. We received first place out of over 100 schools that attended. We weren’t even represented in half the committees that were there, so that’s a really big accomplishment for Rider. We pretty much get that same award every year so I think that we should probably have a little more recognition,” said Heili Carpino, a senior political science major and Model U.N. delegate.
According to Gandham, this year’s Model U.N. team is the third most successful in Rider’s 52-year-long history of competing in Model U.N. The team brought home four individual awards as well as an outstanding team award. This success was apparently in spite of extreme challenges the team faced this year.
“I think it should be recognized that it was really hard this year, logistically and organizationally to manage the team. We had a lot of people drop out, a lot of people that left the team along the way. There were a lot of challenges, and for us to still walk away with something as prestigious as “outstanding” after that should not go without mention,” said senior finance major and Model U.N. delegate Jesse Flood.