The COVID-19 virus has caused us to change many of our plans by forcing us to stay inside our homes. And as COVID-19 canceled our vacation plans and social activities, it has also proved to be a challenge for Wayne Hill’s Model United Nations Club.
The Model United Nations Club at Wayne Hills is an opportunity for students to engage in diplomacy and problem-solving to find solutions to real-world problems faced by the international community. In this club, students participate in simulations modeled by real United Nations conferences. Students get the opportunity to represent many different member states around the world and try to negotiate resolutions with other nations.
With a virtual setting, the club had to improvise. How well would the club adjust to changes brought by the virtual setting? How would the club orchestrate virtual conferences?
“I think that having to cope with everything that went on this year taught everyone to be adaptable and think on their feet,” Jay Ferriera, the club’s Public Liaison claims.
Ferriera is correct– the club was able to adapt very naturally to the strange virtual setting of a Model UN simulation that typically requires a lot of speaking, communication, and person-to-person interaction.
Jessie Lu, the club’s Co-President believes that the club’s first conference went surprisingly smoothly.
“We practiced in the winter and it was our very first time trying out different software and doing the conference in a virtual format. It was for a lot of club members their very first time ever experiencing a simulation of a [Model UN] conference. Despite that, it ran not that different from other conferences,” Lu said.
The new software is known as Muncoordinated, which was experimented with during the winter conference at Hills. The club is planning on using the same software during its third-annual Cross-Wayne Conference with Wayne Valley High School this year.
The conference will address two topics, which are: Combating Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance and Ensuring Access to Safe and Sustainable Energy.
“I just want to say first off how proud and impressed I am about how far this club has come along since we started in our humble beginnings,” said John Terry, World Studies teacher who is the club’s advisor. “We’re a scrappy bunch, but thanks to the hard work of some dedicated members of the club, our club is as strongest as it has ever been. It has allowed us to stay in momentum. I’m looking forward to this conference because I think that we’re going into this conference stronger than we’ve ever had.”
Lu is optimistic about the conference as well.
“I think it’s a really awesome mission that we do every year,” Lu said. “The fact that both [Wayne Hills and Valley] started out together and that we’re able to have this conference every year to see how everyone else is doing is awesome. I especially think it’s awesome that we’re doing [the conference] this year because there were a lot of obstacles to overcome”
Nikki Belenkiy, the other Co-President of the club, is also excited, and states, “I think it’ll be more fun for us all to go through this together online, reconnect with people, and see what our club is up to and what [Valley has] been doing.”
The conference is planned to be on Wednesday, February 24 and will go from 7:30 AM – 1:25 PM.