From 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on March 23 students discussed political issues during a Model United Nations session in the Hollis Room.
Fifteen students represented different countries. Some students were from Florida Southern College, but others came from other institutions.
“We have a delegate from Southeastern and two delegates from the University of Tampa,” Dr. Kelly McHugh, assistant professor of political science at FSC and faculty advisor to the MUN, said.
Delegates introduced issues for discussion that politicians are currently discussing. The topic of this conference was the ongoing situation between North and South Korea, as well as the possibility of North Korea gaining nuclear weapons.
The topic of the conference were decided on in advance.
“We kind of sat down with Dr. McHugh, and we just had a general meeting. We wanted more than just our input, we wanted everyone else’s input too,” Wesley Davis, MUN president, said. “So we kind of tossed it around a little bit. After, we had about two or three topics we voted on it.”
Opening statements from several representatives, each no longer than one minute, outlined where each representative stood.
“The students wrote them themselves, so some of them do draw on things that their actual country has said,” McHugh said. “They’re responsible for their information and coming up with the position of their country.”
Each student requested a country. After being officially assigned their country, delegates researched the event in their own way, looking through news releases and other information depending on their country.
Kristoph Marczinkowski, vice president of the MUN, represented North Korea.
“Personally, to prepare I went and looked at a whole bunch of documents that were released either by the United States or Korea, or anything like that,” Marczinkowski said.
However, delegates had to be aware of more than just their country’s policies. A set of rules had to be followed before anyone could speak. Delegates had to motion for group discussions or for a particular topic.
All procedures had to be followed correctly before any motions could be made or topics introduced. Davis had the final say on any procedural disputes.
“We’re trying to keep it to where it’s formal to a certain extent, but we’re also trying to have fun with it, because we don’t want everyone to be tight about it the whole time and not have fun,” Davis said.
During the debate, discussion between Gage Nicholas, representing the United States, and Marczinkowski, became argumentative at times.
Marczinkowski said that North Korea offered more leeway than several other countries would have when it came to policy.
“I picked North Korea. We’ve had simulations in class, and the person who’s North Korea is a lot of fun because they can kind of just run wild with it, because North Korea doesn’t have any real, solid released foreign policy that anyone really knows of,” Marczinkowski said.“So you can kind of take a spin off how they’ve acted and kind of run with it.”
Other students, such as junior Juliana Cardona representing Vietnam, made passionate speeches, but it was rare for anyone to raise their voice.
Any heated conversation was carried out in calm tones. No insults were hurled and no one left their seat.
McHugh said that this is indicative of how the real United Nations works.
“It really represents the real UN, because the real UN is incredibly formal. So you don’t really see like in the movies, where countries are jabbing their fingers at one another or yelling,” McHugh said.
MUN usually hosts one conference a year to discuss current issues that politicians face. However, in the future MUN hopes to host more events, possibly including high school students in their conferences.
“A big thing that we want to start doing is community outreach, so getting a lot more high school students involved, maybe creating a team for high schoolers to start doing this,” Davis said.