Newsroom

Model UN Succeeds Despite COVID-19 Restrictions

The group earned 21 awards following the cancellation of the national conference.

Flags fly outside the Model UN headquarters in New York City.ALMA — The Model United Nations student group at Alma College was poised for a big showing at the National Model UN Conference in New York City this year, following an extremely successful performance at the regional conference in February.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, resulting in the cancellation of the event, which was originally scheduled for March 28, 2020.

Although Alma College was unable to compete at the national conference, the students scheduled to participate were given a record 21 “Outstanding Position Paper” awards, more than any college or university has earned in the 94-year history of the conference.

“This was the most talented, largest, most extraordinary group we have ever had,” said Derick “Sandy” Hulme, faculty advisor of Model UN at Alma College. “I feel so desperately sorry for those students who never got to go. I told all of our seniors, international students and others — if any of you are available next year, you have a spot on the team, because you earned it.”

“We won 21 out of 30 position papers — no other school has even come close to that. If you win 20 or 30 percent of your position papers, you’re at the very top; and we won 70 percent. It’s incredible,” he explained.

The following students received honors from the national conference:

  • Laney Alvarado, senior from Bath, majoring in psychology
  • Madison Amlotte, senior from Alpena, majoring in political science
  • Austin Barajas, senior from Holland, majoring in chemistry
  • Lauren Dempz, sophomore from Berlin, Mich., majoring in philosophy and political science
  • Atulya Dora-Laskey, senior from Lansing, majoring in political science and history
  • Maris Fett, sophomore from Owosso, majoring in political science
  • Bridget Flanery, senior from Sparta, majoring in environmental studies
  • Sarah Gaines, sophomore from Colorado Springs, Colo., majoring in political science
  • Alyssa Gibson, sophomore from Woodstock, Ill., majoring in neuroscience and chemistry
  • Daniel Lynch, senior from Caledonia, majoring in political science
  • Molly McFadden, senior from Carlisle, Ind., majoring in history
  • Sophia Payne, sophomore from Grosse Ile, majoring in political science and communication
  • Brittany Pierce, junior from Leslie, majoring in history
  • Aubrey Root, junior from Midland, majoring in education and social studies
  • Maria Ruedisueli, junior from Marshall, majoring in political science
  • Tanvi Sharma, senior from Saginaw, majoring in chemistry
  • Rakkshet Singhaal, sophomore from Delhi, India, majoring in political science and economics
  • Caroline Smerdon, senior from Livonia, majoring in environmental studies
  • Eleanor Smith, junior from Rochester Hills, majoring in neuroscience
  • Grace Smith, junior from Frankenmuth, majoring in environmental studies
  • Abbey Swanson, junior from Bay City, majoring in history
  • Madison Swope, senior from Jackson, majoring in economics
  • Claudia Walter, senior from Howell, majoring in political science
  • Emily Wood, sophomore from Midland, majoring in neuroscience and chemistry

In February, the Alma College Model UN students competed at the Midwest Model UN conference in St. Louis and took home a number of honors.

Competing against 65 delegations and 500 students from colleges and universities throughout the Midwest, Alma College earned two “outstanding delegation” awards, the highest recognition at the conference. It is the 27th consecutive year that the team has received an “outstanding” award, and its 49th and 50th “outstanding” awards since 1994.

This year’s event marked the first time in 27 years that every member of the team received at least one individual or team award.

“The performance in St. Louis was one of the most exceptional we’ve had inSandy Hulme chats with other advisors at a previous Model UN conference.28 years,” Hulme said. “The returning students did an extraordinary job providing incredible leadership, while the first-time students all grew and developed in ways that would have made them great competitors in New York.”

Model UN attempts to replicate the real United Nations in a competitive manner. Teams of college students take on identities of countries, and delegates from each country meet in committee to propose, discuss and debate topics relevant to issues facing the world community. Once resolutions are completed in committee, they are presented to the Model UN replication of the UN general assembly to be further debated before the assembly votes on resolutions.

OUTSTANDING DELEGATIONS

Students representing Afghanistan:

  • Tre’quan Lafond, first-year student from Saginaw, majoring in general studies
  • Luke Losie, sophomore from Farmington Hills, majoring in general studies
  • Aryaan Misra, first-year student from Noida, India, majoring in general studies
  • Sam Nelson, senior from Grand Haven, majoring in political science and communication
  • Olga Petrushkova, exchange student from St. Petersburg, Russia, majoring in general studies
  • Marina Zhilina, exchange student from Vniisok, Russia, majoring in general studies

Students representing Cuba:

  • Diana Bisenova, exchange student from Moscow, Russia, majoring in general studies
  • Isabelle Esch, first-year student from Carson City, majoring in secondary education and history
  • Paul Fischer, first-year student from Bloomfield Hills, majoring in general studies
  • Madison Hall, first-year student from Greenville, majoring in general studies
  • Destiny Herbers, junior from Roscommon, majoring in communication
  • Jack Montgomery, senior from Mikado, majoring in biology
  • Rakkshet Singhaal, sophomore from Delhi, India, majoring in political science and economics

Students named as “outstanding delegates”:

  • Diana Bisenova, exchange student from Moscow, Russia, majoring in general studies
  • Isabelle Esch, first-year student from Carson City, majoring in secondary education and history
  • Paul Fischer, first-year student from Bloomfield Hills, majoring in general studies
  • Madison Hall, first-year student from Greenville, majoring in general studies
  • Destiny Herbers, junior from Roscommon, majoring in communication
  • Jack Montgomery, senior from Mikado, majoring in biology
  • Sam Nelson, senior from Grand Haven, majoring in political science and communication
  • Sophia Payne, sophomore from Grosse Ile, majoring in political science and communication
  • Rakkshet Singhaal, sophomore from Delhi, India, majoring in political science and economics
  • Marina Zhilina, exchange student from Vniisok, Russia, majoring in general studies

Students recognized as “honorable mention” delegates:

  • Aryaan Misra, first-year student from Noida, India, majoring in general studies
  • Lea Ziolkowski, senior from Bruce Township, majoring in biology

Students who received “delegate choice” awards:

  • Connor Arens, sophomore from White Lake, majoring in general studies
  • Brett Jenkins, sophomore from Salt Lake City, UT, majoring in general studies
  • Aishwarya Singh, first-year student from Greater Noida, India, majoring in general studies
Story published on April 30, 2020