Story by Abby Siegel, Staff writer
The Murray State Model United Nations club won multiple awards at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York which concluded their yearlong research on Grenada.
Stephen Terkula, senior from Louisville, Kentucky and club president, and his partner Sam Hoffman, sophomore from Louisville, Kentucky, won the Outstanding Delegates award.
This award was given for maintaining the character and attitude of a diplomat throughout the conference and when interacting with students representing other countries from other universities. The peers of their 50-member committee chose Terkula and Hoffman for the award.
Terkula said the conference was exhilarating and the award increased his confidence.
The entire club was awarded the Honorable Mention Delegate award. This is awarded by the conference and recognizes the entire delegation’s performance throughout the week of the conference.
“It could be really overwhelming interacting with other delegates,” said Choong-Nam Kang, academic adviser of the club and associate professor in political science. “But our students did a really outstanding job negotiating and bargaining with other students.”
Murray State had seven students attend the conference, which included almost 5,000 other students from around the world.
The club began with about 15 students, but because of the intense time commitment, the group dwindled to seven committed members, Kang said.
“Dr. Kang had us do lots of research in advance so we would be prepared for the conference,” Melody Foster, sophomore from Arlington, Texas, said. “He encouraged us to do our best even though our country was small.”
Throughout the fall semester, students conducted research on the country to which they were assigned by the conference. Kang required club members to write a research paper over Winter Break on Grenada that was about nine single-spaced pages.
“As one of the smallest teams there, we did not expect Grenada to be called [for a delegation award], but we were and we got to stand up with all of the other bigger schools who were also awarded,” Foster said. “It was magical.”
The closing ceremony was held at the United Nations General Assembly Headquarters, and the club members sat in the seats the delegates sit in during session when the awards were given out.
“It was good to hear back from the head people from the conference like ‘Hey, you guys are doing a good job,’” Terkula said. “It really says a lot to what Dr. Kang has prepared us for.”
The club members participated in committees such as the Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, United Nations Environment Programme, Economic Commission for Latin America, the Caribbean, Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the General Assembly Fourth Committee.
“I’m very proud of our students,” Kang said. “They were diligent and did a tremendous job.”
The trip was sponsored by the Political Science and Sociology Department and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The club also completed multiple fundraisers to fund their attendance at the conference.
Club members received three hours of credit for participating in the club over the two semesters. The club will be recruiting new members and begin preparing for the 2017 conference beginning mid-fall.