Students at Shenendehowa Emulate the United Nations for School Club, Debate International Issues

Emmett Perkinson, Journalism Block (?)

When preparing for the college journey, a student often considers joining a few clubs in order to balance academic achievement with community involvement.

Within the Shenendehowa school district, there are plenty to choose from; almost 50 as a matter of fact. Each club has a different meaning or purpose that attracts different students.

Essentially, there’s a club for everyone here at Shenendehowa, even those who wish to be a foriegn representative after school. For those students, Model United Nations is certainly the club.

Model United Nations is not new. In fact, it has been operating since the 2012-2013 school year and has had its fair share of ups and downs.

Social Studies teacher Ms. Saddlemire, the club’s proctor, explains how the club really took a hard hit because of the Covid-19 virus. “This year is different because we’re rebuilding. Covid really knocked the entire club out. We tried to rebuild last year and it wasn’t very successful; we couldn’t pull kids in,” she said.

The club has had some years where they greatly surpassed average attendance, according to Ms. Saddlemire. “It ranges,” she said. “There’s been some years when we’ve had maybe 15 students and one year we had a max of 42 students.

Model United Nations, or Model UN as it is also called, performs exactly how you would expect a world government conference to be performed. “It depends on the day but usually we create a committee,” said Ms. Saddlemire. “The committee has some sort of topic and we usually model a crisis committee where there’s a crisis going on in the world.

Club member Jamis Orr, a junior, believes the committee improves as more people represent it. “I think the committee would be a lot better with more people,” he said. “The more people the better it gets on an exponential curve.”

After the committee is established, the student must choose a country to represent and research. “Each student is assigned a country,” said Ms. Saddlemire. “They get background information on the crisis and background information on the country so they kind of study a little bit and then they come up with a plan on how their country would resolve that crisis.”

Jamis Orr also adds that being able to represent different countries and their viewpoints is part of what makes the club so captivating. “I like formulating arguments from a different perspective,” he said. “I find it interesting.”

Model UN, like most other clubs, has student officers that are chosen based on their commitment who lead the student body along with the advisor. “We have a president and a vice president,” Ms. Saddlemire said. “I will appoint two officers based on interest and then we run elections again in the Spring, usually in April or May.”

Vice President Megan Guyer, a junior, says that Model UN is one of her favorite clubs because she enjoys collaborating with others to solve problems and it helps her develop important skills. “I really enjoy how you get to work with others to solve issues and it gives me an opportunity to work on communication and leadership skills,” she said. “We are also going to Boston in March for EagleMUNC which is just another fun thing we do.”

Members of Model UN hope to do well in their local competition in Troy, New York in order to be better prepared for EagleMUNC. “We would like to attend two conferences, one being a low stakes/more local conference and then we would like to go to the Boston conference. It’s not the biggest conference, but it is a very large prestigious conference that is done through Boston College,” said Ms. Saddlemire.

In addition to these conferences, Model UN participates in a series of competitions that eventually reach the national scale if successively won. “We want to go to a World Quest competition. We’ve done it in the past and we’ve won, which means that you go to the national competition in Washington D.C,” said Ms. Saddlemire.

All are welcome to join. Afterall, a diverse group of individuals makes a more involved committee. “You do not have to be the brightest student to have success in Model UN,” said Ms. Saddlemire. “I think you have to be a creative, quick thinker. There is really space for everybody.”

If you are interested in attending a meeting, they occur every Monday after school near Gym 2 in room 153.