Model UN team travels to Toronto for competition

The Oakland University Model United Nations (MUN) team traveled to Toronto, Canada to compete in the North American Model United Nations (NAMUN) Conference from Feb. 23-25. Despite a field of fierce competitors, the OU team had a strong performance at the event, demonstrating their knowledge of international relations and emulating the beliefs and behaviors of various global actors.

OU MUN may be one of the most decorated collegiate MUN teams in Michigan for many reasons. One aspect of the club that attributes to this is the large amount of time its members spend preparing for each competition. The team meets for two hours each week, and members are expected to conduct research outside of regular meetings.

A unique feature of OU MUN is that students may elect to take part in the club for course credit as part of the political science department, registering under the course number PS3605.

“I strongly recommend that new members register to receive credit for MUN,” OU MUN team advisor and Professor Cody Eldredge said. “That being said, MUN is a group open for anyone, regardless of major or experience.”

Prior to every conference, each team member is assigned the role of a state or actor and a committee (general, specialized or crisis). The committee serves as a guide for specific areas the participant should research most closely and then shares the information they have gathered on their respective roles in their meetings.

The students must take a comprehensive approach while researching. They are not only expected to know their own state/actor’s views on certain issues, but they must also conduct opposition research to understand where another state/actor may stand.

Besides research, a major undertaking for participants is learning the rules of parliamentary procedure. The OU delegates spent weeks reviewing over 20 pages of NAMUN procedural rules to ensure they displayed proper etiquette and language at the competition.

Throughout the duration of the NAMUN conference, the OU delegates engaged in intense discussion and debate with delegates from other universities across the continent.

“Students take away valuable negotiating and compromising skills from this experience,” Eldredge said.

In the competitive atmosphere of the conference, OU students were able to display their knowledge of complicated problems and understanding of state/actor ideologies. Furthermore, the conference provided a forum for participants to have difficult conversations about global issues related to equality, human rights and politics.

“I really liked the competitive atmosphere of the MUN,” OU sophomore and first-year MUN member Eien VanRiper said. “Most especially, I enjoyed the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to real-world problems with other college students across the continent.”

Students interested in joining OU MUN can check out the club’s GrizzOrgs page or contact Eldredge at [email protected] for more information.