By Sydney Paluch
This past week you might have noticed eighteen students missing from your classes. No, we didn’t just decide to skip the first four days of spring term, or consecutively sleep through our alarm clocks.
Instead, we were representing Union at the 2014 Model United Nations in New York City.
The conference was the culmination of the winter term M.U.N. class, which began work as far back as winter break.
Those days were well spent, as the Union delegation brought back six position paper awards as well as a distinguished delegation award. Not too shabby for a small liberal arts school in Upstate New York!
M.U.N. was an experience like no other, yet it was for something more than just awards, successes and the opportunity to be in New York City.
Although other delegates may feel differently, M.U.N. was truly incredible for me for two reasons: first, the friendships I formed and, second, the world of opportunities that bloomed before me.
Sitting in committee nine hours a day can force someone to either hate or love you. Fortunately, the general sentiment at M.U.N. was amicable … although there certainly were some exceptions!
As I was personally on a smaller committee, emotions were racked further.
At one point, another delegate went so far as to type over the top of my own hands, and then proceeded to take my own computer literally right out from under me.
She turned out to be one of the best friends I have ever met. Without M.U.N., we most likely never would have crossed paths. This is just one example of a plethora of incredible experiences.
At the conference, only about half the delegates were from American schools. The other half were from around the world.
Perhaps most striking was how similar yet how different we all were. As tacky and stereotypical as that sounds, it is true.
Yes, sometimes delegates could barely understand each other, but we still had fun together.
It didn’t matter where we had come from; it was the first time I have ever understood what it means to be part of the global community.
It wasn’t just those from the other side of the world, though; M.U.N. gave me 17 good friends here at Union as well ( … wow! That certainly sounds sappy doesn’t it?!).
Being able to live through everything that happened in New York City with them was a total blast, and, personally, I am incredibly happy that each and every delegate was on the team.
Yet, one week a year is simply not enough.
Union has proven the strength of this delegation, and we as students need more opportunities to develop ourselves as global citizens.
Experiences like M.U.N. not only broaden our horizons, but also give us the opportunity to challenge ourselves as we become aware of our obligations as both leaders and citizens.
This is what Union does well: unique opportunities that bring us beyond just the classroom. We are ready to go even farther!