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UM-Flint Model UN: From an idea to conference award winner

CAS Student Ambassador Fernando Ramirez-Medina is a co-founder of UM-Flint’s Model UN team. In this blog post he explains the process of creating a student organization and leading it to a conference award.

Origins

Creating an organization is a massive burden anytime, but to do so and maintain it during a global pandemic is a task Donald Weismiller (Political Science major) and I did not expect. Student interest led us to creating the team. Don and I attended an admitted student event representing Student Government and many students asked us if there was a Model UN team. Since Don and I are both Political Science students, interested in global politics, we jumped on the opportunity to give students a space to nerd out on global affairs.

Building During Covid

We had big ideas of hosting recruitment tables and posting flyers all over campus . We even had picked out a room for meeting in the Fall – then COVID hit. In the beginning, we both kept saying that, when this all is over, we can continue on our plans. When late July hit, reality was set in and honestly we were ready to give up. We had done some light advertising, but barely anyone had responded and our goal seemed unreachable. Don saved the organization. In August he did some major recruiting, and faster than I could expect we had our team formed.

Preparing for the Conference

a cartoon of a web conference

With the team assembled, we had to work fast to prepare for our first event at the Lake Erie International Model U.N. Conference in November. It was tough trying to do this over Zoom, and to be honest team bonding wasn’t as strong as I would have liked. We were just hoping to give everyone experience and get ready for our next conference in the winter. As the weeks went by and we started to gain skills, I began to feel cautiously optimistic. It was all hard work. We had to learn how to draft resolutions, learn parliamentary procedure, and learn the history and position of our country in 2 months on top of our normal academic responsibilities. With our countries assigned, our team ended up representing Great Britain, China, Indonesia, and Niger.

The Conference Aftermath

head shot of Donald in Dallas Cowboys gear.
Donald Weismiller

Throughout the conference, everyone who attended felt good about their performances, but we didn’t expect anything. To our great surprise, we received a small school award at our first-ever conference!

We realized our goal even more fully than we expected. This accomplishment is especially meaningful for Don, who is trying to leave a mark in his final year at school.

‘It’s a great achievement for something I wasn’t sure was going to make it far. The Small School Award was an extra reward for the hard work put into organizing this organization,” Donald said.

With the Small School Award under our belt, it lit a fire under us and now this organization is ready for more conferences and more accomplishments. 

Interested in getting involved with the Model UN Team? Contact Fernando at feramire@umich.edu.