By Daniel Garay
The Seton Hall United Nations Association competed at the Pennsylvania United Nations Conference on March 19 to 22, winning eight awards including Outstanding Delegation. Training Coordinator Sean Zimmerman and Alex Storto shared the Best Delegate award, while President Cynthia Sularz and Daniel Garay won Outstanding Delegate. Verbal Commendations went out to Mohit Patel, Cheyenne Crawford, and Nicholas Perugini.
At PUNC, the delegation participated in committees ranging from the Warsaw Pact, the Mexican Drug War, the Falklands War, and even Mars Colonization. Kristal Corona, a SHUNA delegate, said, “It’s taking history in your own hands. It is your way of writing the story, and you play a part in it. Sometimes people feel like they don’t have a big role in the role in the world. Well, you can have a big role in the world, for 4 hours a session!”
The delegation enjoyed PUNC, in comparison to other Model UN conferences during the year. SHUNA Secretary Heather Kwityn expressed, “PUNC was so much better. It was geared to people who enjoy Model UN. It was a place where you could compete and enjoy it. I have more experience on how to function in a committee. And, the people we were with were more relaxed and there for the fun of it. They treated it [as] more of a hobby.”
While PUNC was not on the same caliber of conferences like the National Collegiate Security Conference or University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations Conference, it was a great gathering of formidable delegations, such as the Ohio State University, which won Best Delegation.
As of last year, SHUNA was in the top 50 Model UN teams in the United States after the delegation won six awards at the University of Virginia. Since then, President Cynthia Sularz has made it her mission to educate and train delegates to become serious contenders in the committee room.
Weekly training sessions, organized by Training Coordinator Sean Zimmerman, range from crises like Disney Princess kidnappings to Pirates of the Caribbean to the French Revolution. There was a variety of ways for delegates to be creative and get the experience they needed. During these sessions, delegates honed their speaking skills and note-passing. Writing notes to crisis is an important aspect to performing well in committee, as these notes can change the game. Using a delegate’s portfolio powers, given to the delegate by their character or title, can perform unique actions that can alter the landscape of a committee.
In conference, the trainings have helped the delegates bloom in committee. Ms. Kwityn said, “It’s something I’m interested in. You go back to a historical time and just rewrite the story. I like how the real-time of debate meshes with historical time. You can completely alter it – we took over Czechoslovakia. We were deciding whether we were staying together or dissolving the Warsaw Pact.”
There is a sense of seriousness in committee, but delegates cannot help but to have fun. Kristal explained, “You have to take on a personality. It’s kind of like acting in a way. And that makes it more fun. It gets too heated when you put in your own opinions.”
What is next for SHUNA? On April 18 to 19, the Seton Hall University Model United Nations will host high school students from the South Orange area as they practice the very same skills that SHUNA delegates exemplified at PUNC. And now, the delegates of SHUNA will staff and guide these young students, to pass on the legacy.