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Alma College Model UN Reaches Historic Milestone

Group records 100th ‘outstanding’ award at national conference

Derick ?Sandy? Hulme, faculty advisor to Model United Nations at Alma College, is pictured. Derick “Sandy” Hulme, faculty advisor to Model United Nations at Alma College, is pictured.ALMA — It seems fitting that in a season unlike any other for the Model United Nations (MUN) student group at Alma College, the team reached a historic milestone at its most-important event.

The Model UN team competed at the annual National MUN Conference in March and won two “outstanding delegation” awards, the highest honor at the event. Alma College has now won 100 total “outstanding delegation” awards since 1994, 53 at the annual Midwest MUN conference and 47 at the National MUN Conference.

“The success of our program on a whole has come pretty quickly, and I’m so glad to reach a milestone with this group,” said Derick “Sandy” Hulme, who has been the faculty advisor of MUN at Alma College the entire time. “This is one of the most talented and largest group of first-year students we’ve had, which bodes well for the future of our program, and the returning students are wonderful mentors for them.”

The National MUN Conference, typically held in New York City, is the world’s largest and most prestigious collegiate MUN competition, with more than 5,500 students representing 250 colleges and universities from 151 countries on five continents. Alma represented two countries at this year’s event, Kenya and Nigeria, and won “outstanding delegation” awards for both efforts.

This is Alma’s 24th consecutive year receiving at least one “outstanding” award. Alma has received 47 “outstanding” awards, more than any other school in the 94-year history of the conference.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s conference was held virtually. Hulme said students from every other college and university competed physically distanced from one another in their residence hall rooms room or classrooms.

But in an effort to foster a sense of camaraderie, Hulme said, he took his 46-member team to the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chicago to compete. There — in a large ballroom, where team members wore face coverings and kept adequate space apart from one another — the Alma College team competed as one. It wasn’t the same as competing in-person, Hulme said, but it was worth the effort.

“Our goal was to have a real team event — something that was out of the ordinary from what students are used to experiencing in Alma. We took every precaution to ensure the safety of students and their community,” Hulme said. “Going to the ‘big city’ made a huge difference, I felt. It was a good bonding experience and that showed up in our results.”

Alma won 14 “Outstanding Position Paper” awards as a group, while 56 percent of the team won an individual award. Hulme said that percentage was twice as much as the next-highest college or university at the conference.

To some extent, Hulme said, the team would have been happy to simply compete, regardless of the outcome. Last year’s national conference was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a big blow after many months spent in preparation.

“Everybody was more than anxious to get back in the game,” Hulme said. “The virtual format of this year’s event was a very different feel from what we’re used to – we’ll be happy to be back in-person next year – but we prepared very intentionally for this, and it worked.”

Prior to competing at the national conference the Alma College MUN team competed in February in the virtual Midwest MUN Conference and performed very well.

Competing against students from colleges and universities from throughout the Midwest, Alma earned three “outstanding delegation” awards, and three “distinguished delegation” awards, the second-highest recognition. It is the 28th consecutive year that the team has received an “outstanding” award at the conference.

“The Midwest conference is a critical stepping stone to nationals and I felt very good about what happened at both events,” Hulme said. “All the stars were lining up to have the national conference be a great one.”

National conference honorees included —

OUTSTANDING DELEGATIONS

Kenya delegation:

  • Rachel Bakker, sophomore, Alma
  • Cassidy Beach, senior, Pinckney
  • Trenton Bergey, first-year student, Alma
  • Diana Bisenova, exchange student, Moscow, Russia
  • Rose Cyburt, 2020 graduate, St. Clair Shores
  • Maris Fett, junior, Owosso
  • Sarah Gaines, senior, Traverse City
  • Madison Hall, junior, Greenville
  • Mariem Hamdi, first-year student, Nabeul, Tunisia
  • Destiny Herbers, senior, Roscommon
  • Brett Jenkins, senior, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Jacob Keeley, sophomore, Linden
  • Grace Kueber, senior, Northville
  • Tre’Quan Lafond, junior, Saginaw
  • Luke Losie, junior, Farmington Hills
  • Daniel Lynch, 2020 graduate, Caledonia
  • Molly McFadden, senior, New Carlisle, IN
  • Angela Mish, sophomore, Grand Rapids
  • Aryaan Misra, sophomore, Noida, India
  • Jack Montgomery 2020 graduate, Mikado
  • Prarthita Nath, junior, Gurugram, India
  • Taylor Neeb, first-year student, Weidman
  • Brittany Pierce, senior, Leslie
  • Maria Ruedisueli, senior, Marshall
  • Aditya Shankar, first-year student, Noida, India
  • Aishwarya Singh, sophomore, Greater Noida, India
  • Rakkshet Singhaal, junior, Delhi, India
  • Abbey Swanson, senior, Bay City
  • Isabel Umanzor, sophomore, Northville
  • Marina Zhilina, exchange student, Vniissok, Russia

Nigeria delegation:

  • Connor Arens, junior, White Lake
  • Lauren Dempz, senior, Berlin
  • Elizabeth Flatoff, senior, Highland
  • Alyssa Gibson, senior, Woodstock, IL
  • Alex Herin, first-year student, Trenton
  • Claire Hipps, sophomore, Lansing
  • Chloe Koupal, sophomore, Houghton Lake
  • Aki Marietta, junior, Mt. Pleasant
  • Sam Nelson, senior, Grand Haven
  • Sophia Payne, junior, Grosse Ile
  • Olga Petrushkova, exchange student, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Aubrey Root, senior, Midland
  • Eleanor Smith, senior, Rochester Hills
  • Grace Smith, senior, Frankenmuth
  • Maria Vostrizansky, sophomore, DeWitt
  • Elizabeth Vredevelt, sophomore, Alto

OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL RECOGNITION

  • Connor Arens
  • Rachel Bakker
  • Cassidy Beach
  • Diana Bisenova
  • Rose Cyburt
  • Lauren Dempz
  • Alyssa Gibson
  • Destiny Herbers
  • Alex Herin
  • Brett Jenkins
  • Jacob Keeley
  • Luke Losie
  • Aki Marietta
  • Molly McFadden
  • Angela Mish
  • Jack Montgomery
  • Sophia Payne
  • Olga Petrushkova
  • Brittany Pierce
  • Aubrey Root
  • Aditya Shankar
  • Rakkshet Singhaal
  • Eleanor Smith
  • Grace Smith
  • Abbey Swanson
  • Isabel Umanzor
  • Maria Vostrizansky
  • Elizabeth Vredevelt

OUTSTANDING WRITTEN SUBMISSION

  • Rachel Bakker
  • Cassidy Beach
  • Trenton Bergey
  • Rose Cyburt
  • Maris Fett
  • Elizabeth Flatoff
  • Sarah Gaines
  • Alyssa Gibson
  • Madison Hall
  • Mariem Hamdi
  • Alex Herin
  • Claire Hipps
  • Brett Jenkins
  • Chloe Koupal
  • Tre’Quan Lafond
  • Luke Losie
  • Daniel Lynch
  • Molly McFadden
  • Angela Mish
  • Prarthita Nath
  • Sam Nelson
  • Sophia Payne
  • Aubrey Root
  • Aditya Shankar
  • Rakkshet Singhaal
  • Eleanor Smith
  • Maria Vostrizansky

Midwest conference honorees included —

OUTSTANDING DELEGATIONS

Chile delegation:

  • Tre’Quan Lafond
  • Prarthita Nath
  • Grace Smith
  • Isabel Umanzor

Kenya delegation:

  • Claire Hipps
  • Jacob Keeley
  • Taylor Neeb
  • Rakkshet Singhaal

Nigeria delegation:

  • Rachel Bakker
  • Aki Marietta
  • Aditya Shankar
  • Elizabeth Vredevelt

DISINGTUISHED DELEGATIONS

Cambodia delegation:

  • Trenton Bergey
  • Alex Herin
  • Grace Kueber
  • Maria Vostrizansky

Ecuador delegation:

  • Connor Arens
  • Mariem Hamdi
  • Luke Losie
  • Sam Nelson

Thailand delegation:

  • Carlee Corinth, sophomore, Newberry
  • Maris Fett
  • Angela Mish
  • Aryaan Misra

OUTSTANDING DELEGATES

  • Tre’Quan Lafond
  • Claire Hipps
  • Grace Kueber
  • Luke Losie
  • Aki Marietta
  • Aryaan Misra
  • Taylor Neeb
  • Rakkshet Singhaal
  • Elizabeth Vredevelt

HONORABLE MENTION DELEGATES

  • Trenton Bergey
  • Rachel Bakker
  • Mariem Hamdi
  • Alex Herin
  • Chloe Koupal
  • Prarthita Nath
  • Sam Nelson
  • Grace Smith
  • Isabel Umanzor

DELEGATE CHOICE:

  • Maris Fett
  • Aki Marietta
  • Aryaan Misra
  • Taylor Neeb
  • Rakkshet Singhaal
  • Grace Smith
Story published on April 15, 2021