By Tela Wittig
The Seton Hall United Nations Association (SHUNA) spent fall break in Boston, competing in the Boston Area Regional Model United Nations Conference (BARMUN).
The conference has been held for the last eight years, but this was the first year in which Seton Hall was represented. Competing against prestigious universities such as Georgetown, Princeton, and Harvard, SHUNA brought back four team awards to South Orange.
Some delegates were tasked with solving current world issues such as the violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and building a government in Burkina Faso.
Others were given the chance to rewrite history by representing key figures during the Velvet Revolution that separated Czechoslovakia, the 1983 Sri Lankan crisis, and the Congolese crisis in 1964, according to the BARMUN VIII website.
During the four-day conference, delegates were judged based on their participation in live debates while writing and voting on directives for group action. Their ability to work with crisis behind the scenes to contribute solutions multilaterally was also part of the criteria. Crisis is a separate committee that makes decisions on what each delegate can do with their given portfolio powers as the conference unfolds.
Chris McNeil, a freshman who has previously competed in crisis committees at the high school level, said that BARMUN was not very different, aside from the higher caliber of competition.
McNeil adapted well to the challenge of collegiate MUN, making many connections with other delegates and earning an honorable mention.
Head delegate Cynthia Sularz, a senior at the School of Diplomacy, also earned an honorable mention.
When asked whether she would consider this conference in the future for SHUNA, Sularz responded, “Yes, I really do think it challenged the new delegates as well as the veterans and that’s essential. We don’t go to conference to win a lot of awards. We go to improve ourselves, think critically, and be better.”
Following the competition, SHUNA attended a boat party hosted by the conference which allowed the delegates to experience Boston Harbor at night.
The conference schedule gave the delegates enough time to experience the city of Boston, and interact with other delegates outside of their committees in hopes of fostering friendships.
Upon returning from conference, SHUNA has continued to hold weekly training sessions and meetings in preparation for their next competition in March 2016—this time at Pennsylvania State University’s United Nations Conference (PUNC).
The members of SHUNA will also play a big role in hosting the annual Seton Hall University Model United Nations (SHUMUN) conference for high school students.