Over 500 high school students from around the world flocked to the Westin Hotel in Copley Place this past weekend to attend EagleMUNC, an interactive Model United Nations conference run by 150 Boston College undergraduates in BC Model United Nations (BCMUN).
BCMUN, formed two years ago, was originally a small group of dedicated students. Now, it has 150 members with nine meetings per week to plan for each conference.
The conference featured 16 different committees where students could debate national and world issues in a simulation of historical and futuristic events. High school delegates addressed topics ranging from the Rio Olympics in 2016, to the 2016 presidential election, to the Unification of the Korean Peninsula in 2025.
Included in the weekend-long gathering was a keynote address on Friday evening by Michael Capuano, U.S. Representative of Mass. and BC Law ’77, as well as a performance by BC’s Electronic State of Mind at a delegate’s dance on Saturday evening. Delegates also attended an awards ceremony on Sunday where the best delegates of each committee were honored, as well as the best overall high schools.
High school students are sent a background guide that assigns them to a specific committee and gives them a role to play throughout the conference. For the Rio 2016 planning committee, for example, roles can include sponsors, various chairmen of the committee, or being involved in the financing or security departments.
The presidential election of 2016 pitted students representing the campaign teams of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush against each other. Students took on the responsibilities of the campaign teams, getting involved in different aspects from speech writing to debate preparation to managing and running ad campaigns.
The Unification of the Korean peninsula was a futuristic situation where students represented the cabinets of both North and South Korea. The background guide allowed the delegates free reign over how unification could potentially proceed.
The conference also featured fake crises that forced students out of bed at midnight, the situation to be addressed by the participants in teams. Students in the Olympic planning committee were dealt a situation where an angry labor union representative threatened a major strike that would disrupt the entire planning process—they had to figure out a way to appease the workers without significantly exceeding their budget.
Students on the Clinton and Bush campaign teams were woken up with the news that their selected vice president candidates had falsified substantial portions of their financial statements. The delegates had to get rid of their current selection and quickly choose another running mate while also staying on top of their campaigns.
On Saturday, according the the EagleMUNC website, the Olympic planning committee was criticized for focusing too much on the tiny details while they neglected broader issues that had a bigger impact on planning the event—which caused them to ultimately fall behind schedule. The planning director of the group told delegates that they should have focused more on large-scale issues such as security and the physical construction of infrastructure rather than spending too much time debating the quality of water.
As organizers of the conference, the BC undergraduates involved had to be dedicated to being good hosts so that students would continue to return, said Michael Keefe, the secretary general of EaglesMUNC and A&S ’16. That meant making the weekend fun for the students, while also presenting them with realistic situations.
EagleMUNC is supposed to create an immersive debate experience for students that will teach them what it is like to be diplomats and how to debate large scale events in a realistic setting, he said.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Staff