Stuyvesant Model United Nations Returns To Collegiate Tournaments

Stuyvesant Model UN (MUN) is returning to the pre-pandemic practice of attending big collegiates.

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By Danielle Que

Stuyvesant’s Model United Nations club (MUN) competed at its first in-person collegiate competition in three years at Brown University’s Model United Nations (BUSUN) on the weekend of November 11. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, delegates went to several collegiates, which provided them with the ability to hone their skills while bonding with one another. Despite having to accommodate virtual tournaments during the pandemic, the recent trip to Brown University represents a shift back to in-person conferences.

At the event, Stuyvesant’s delegates received several notable awards. Seniors Danielle Que and Andrey Sokolov won Best Delegate awards, junior Arshia Mazumder and sophomore Alexander Panas won Outstanding Delegate awards, and junior Ty Anant and sophomore Walker Simpson won Honorable Delegate and a verbal commendation, respectively.

However, the return to an in-person conference posed many challenges. “It took us a month to work with the school administration because the DOE [Department of Education] now has policies saying that you have to have a trip plan before you can deposit any money or pay for anything related to the trip,” senior and Under Secretary of Administration Danielle Que said. “The school administration through no fault of their own [kept] telling us, ‘We need that form from you, we need that list from you.’ It was just that we kept getting new information.”

MUN also faced difficulties gaining chaperones to supervise the trip. “There was a baby boom [during COVID], so a lot of teachers have kids now, [and] they don’t really have the time to be chaperones,” Que said. “I don’t think it was COVID necessarily; it was just the effects of COVID.”

Despite these challenges, many delegates found the process of competing to be very enjoyable and worthwhile. “It is very clear everyone felt a sense of happiness over going to things like the Delegate Social,” senior and Upper Secretariat member Jerry Yang said. “Even though we had been virtually for the previous two years, the vibe of this BUSUN was very different. Debate was able to have more depth because of the longer time frame and varied topics of the conference, and it was great to be leading a once-again mobile club.”

The trip also offered many windows and opportunities, from formal to informal, to meet new people. “There was a Delegate Social, where we got really attached to a karaoke machine, the extensive bus rides, which definitely left room for bonding,” freshman Leah Riegal said. “And the intense downpour that left everybody soaked to the bone for sure brought people together. Ten out of ten memorable experiences.”

Many shared the same sentiment that the conference significantly improved team cohesion and enthusiasm within MUN. “In our trip to Brown, I really felt that we built a sense of camaraderie while talking to each other about our experiences during our respective committees,” junior Kyle Hon Chan said.

For some, the BUSUN conference also provided a novel experience. “I didn’t do MUN in middle school and never really did overnight tournaments of any kind,” Riegal said. “I was pretty surprised by the rooming situation, the amount of people that were able to go, and the teacher volunteers who decided to give up their weekends for this. I was surprised by [...] the diverse array of backgrounds.”

Ultimately, the conference was fully coordinated and able to provide the team with the opportunity to display their skills. “I was really impressed with everyone who attended the conference,” senior and Secretariat General Ethan Wong said. “In almost every case, I saw people try their hardest to research the ins and outs of their topics and absolutely master MUN.”

The trip to Brown has left an enduring memory for MUN’s members who look forward to the club’s future events. “While a lot of us were stressed out by the conferences, it was one of the best experiences and a great point in time where we could all chill out and listen to how it was going for everyone else,” Wong said. “It is definitely nice to be back on the road and in-person, [and] we can definitely look forward to more of this in the future.”