Model UN team receives top honors at national conference

Chico State's 2015 Model U.N. team proudly displays its awards at the national conference in New York City. The team won the Outstanding Delegation Award for the eight time in the last nine years. Photo courtesy of Chico State.

Chico State’s Model United Nations team returned home from New York City on April 1 with its eighth Outstanding Delegation Award in nine years.

Though more than 5,000 students from over 200 colleges attended the national conference, Chico State delegates received eight of the possible 16 awards for their position papers.

The National Model U.N. conference is an event that allows college students to experience what it’s like actually working in the U.N. Student delegations are assigned a particular country to emulate, write position papers to describe what their country’s stances are on certain topics and then participate in debates with other students to try and achieve their goals.

The position papers are the delegate’s way to show that they understand the stances and goals of the country that they’ve been assigned to represent. For this most recent conference, Chico State’s team was assigned the United States.

“It was awesome and really rare, because there are about 200 countries that are in the U.N.,” said Charlie Curtis, a political science major and Model U.N. participant. “And only one is the United States, so the odds of getting that country are pretty low. And they only give it to the best schools _ which we are, actually.”

Curtis was assigned to represent the U.S. on the Economic and Social Council, where he discussed acknowledging youth in the world along with his partner, Stasha Malcolm.

Though Chico is considered to be one of the top teams, it hardly stands head and shoulders above the rest, Curtis said.

“The competition is relatively stiff because a lot of universities pay attention to this as a conference because this is the most serious conference,” said John Crosby, a political science professor who advises the Model U.N. team.

Though Crosby is nominally the class advisor, he claims little credit for the students’ success. Instead, he says that most of the work is done by the team members with small amounts of instructor interference.

“I don’t correct their position papers,” Crosby said. “Now, if they ask me to review them I’ll review them. But as a matter of course, that’s what the officers do.”

In Crosby’s eyes however, the tough competition is what has made Chico’s achievements all the better.

“Very few other programs in the world replicate what Chico State does year after year,” he said. “We’ve been doing this relatively consistently for almost a decade now.”

Joe Silva can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.