Model U.N. claims 2nd place

By Kay Nguyen

Oakland University’s Model United Nations team of 15 students took home a second-place finish and six individual awards at the Lake Erie International Model United Nations College Conference.

In its fourth year of existence, the team has finished in the top two for the past three years at the conference. This year, Miami of Ohio, a perennial rival, edged out OU’s delegation for first place.

During competitions, students represent a country on a United Nations committee and interact and debate the issues with other participants from that country’s perspective.

“You have to learn about the issues and be able to represent it as accurately as you can,” said club adviser and political science professor Paul Kubicek. “You’re assessed on a few things: How accurately you represent a point of view, your presentation and debate skills and your knowledge of parliamentary procedure.”

Rose Luttenberger, the club’s president, is in her third year of involvement with the organization and took home an individual award at LEIMUN.

“The team is successful because of our adviser, who is very knowledgeable, and it’s complete teamwork,” Luttenberger, a senior political science major, said. “It takes the entire group to do well to win a school award.”

Research is an integral component, but students must also negotiate with one another and write recommendations or resolutions, which is what U.N. committees do.

“It’s collaborative and giving your input into what the U.N. body should do,” Kubicek said.

In addition to Luttenberger, Alex Green, Darias Thompson, Mike Gazdik, Michelle Lopez and Samantha Hyrns each garnered either individual awards or gavels, which are honorable mention awards given to top delegates at a conference.

Model United Nations is both a student organization and a political science course. The two-credit class, PS 362, is open to any and all majors.

Experience is not a requirement to take the class. Kubicek noted that a majority of the team that went to the LEIMUN conference had never been involved with Model U.N.

The class is being offered during the winter semester, as the team heads to Toronto, Canada in late February for the North American Model United Nations conference.

The organization also hosts various campus events throughout the year.

“The goal is to educate students about international issues, research and communication skills,” Kubicek said. “We do it in an interactive dynamic way that’s more than just something you learn in the classroom — in a more participatory setting.”

Luttenberger joined the club because of her interest in politics, but she also sees the experience as a steppingstone.

“I hope to further my education and one day (want) to be a member of the U.N.,”

Luttenberger said.