Stuyvesant Model United Nations Hosts StuyMUNC 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Stuyvesant Model United Nations (MUN) hosted their 16th annual StuyMUNC conference on Saturday, April 13. Over 350 delegates from 30 schools from the New York area, as well as from Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, attended StuyMUNC. Modeled after the United Nations, MUN conferences are divided into specialized committees where delegates, each representing a country, tackle relevant political, social, and economic issues. Delegates immerse themselves in these issues as they generate and weigh possible solutions.

Organized by Directors-General senior Ben Platt and junior Ahmed Sultan, StuyMUNC 2019 was the accumulation of months of intense preparation. Sultan credits this year’s success to an early start on planning heavy logistics, which began in October.

He also credits miniMUNC, the first conference the club attended this year, which was also organized by the Directors-General. miniMUNC, in addition to providing planning experience for Platt and Sultan, also gave underclassmen a chance to attend a relatively low-pressure conference. “It was a lot less hostile, and you were surrounded by your peers, who [were] also delegates. The people running the club were your chairs and directors, and so everyone already knew each other,” Sultan said.

Computer science teacher and faculty advisor Topher Brown-Mykolyk was also a key player in planning this year’s conference. “He pushed us at the beginning of the year to work with last year’s head of StuyMUNC to develop a timeline of what we should’ve done seven months out so we could have an exact checklist of what needed to get done,” Platt said.

In addition to the efforts dedicated by the Secretariat, the people in charge of MUN, over 30 students volunteered as staffers. They were responsible for helping committees run as smoothly as possible and for simulating world crises.

StuyMUNC received almost unanimous feedback from delegates who enjoyed aspects of the conference, which ranged from the size of the committees, the unique topics of specialized committees, and the overall atmosphere received from chairs and directors. “We try to emphasize the intimate experience in having a specialized crisis committee, while other local conferences generally try to stuff people into big committees where you're not going get as much attention,” Platt said.

These committees were headed by chairs and directors who aimed to create a welcoming environment for delegates. “At other conferences, it’s a lot more cutthroat, and we try to discourage that behavior by hosting an inviting conference that everyone can come to,” Sultan said.

The underclassmen found StuyMUNC to be more enjoyable than other conferences, since they were able to assist as staffers and not just attend the conference as a delegate. “All the committees that I have been in were General Assemblies, so it is not really action-packed. This was a lot more action-packed, and I actually got to control some of the things that were happening,” said freshman James Lee, a staffer who assisted his chairs and directors. As part of the joint Pakistan vs. India crisis committee, his “committee was faced with the threat of nuclear war. There were many trials, and there were multiple people [who] were killed,” Lee said.

Sophomore Katie Leton, a last-minute chair at the conference, expressed her agreement. “Since I was the one helping to run the event, it was interesting to see what it was like not from the perspective of a delegate, but rather from somebody who was helping to make sure everything went okay,” she said.

Both Lee and Leton found their first StuyMUNC to be a worthwhile experience and credit the upperclassmen for guiding them along the way. “Ahmed [Sultan] did a lot of work, and it took a lot of weeks to prepare for it. At the end, it was worth it,” Lee said.

Leton agreed and said, “The main chair of the [World Health Organization] committee, Harper Andrews, definitely knew what he was doing. I was just helping out, writing stuff on the board, and making sure the committee knew what they were doing, and it ran well.”

As for any potential changes for StuyMUNC 2020, Platt is considering extending the conference over the course of two days. “It would help delegates develop their MUN skills more, and it’s less pressure on chairs and directors. Right now, you have to move pretty quickly in choosing between different crises and responding to them,” Platt said. On a more logistical level, senior and Secretary General of MUN Joshua Weiner said, “[I want] people sticking to deadlines, [and I want] that background guides are written earlier and that crisis arcs are planned before the eve of the conference.” Sultan looks forward to inviting more schools next year, as this conference was a success.

StuyMUNC, as one of the last conferences of the year, was especially meaningful for graduating seniors. “It is a unique thing that we create [something] fully—something we built from scratch. We have to invite the schools, work with them on payments, and create committees, so it’s a very organic effort coming from within the club,” Platt said.

When Weiner was reflecting on his overall experiences on MUN, he said that “[It was] phenomenal. [...] The feeling of being wanted and belonging is a great feeling to have,” he said. “To then become an upperclassman and provide that for others is amazing.”

Senior Nathaniel Unger captured MUN in a nutshell as a “club where people want to dress up nicely, yell at strangers from all over the world, and learn about stuff from all over history,” he said. “I’ve just had a really good time.”