Whitman Model UN attends Los Angeles conference

Allison Bolgiano

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Whitman’s Model United Nations club will travel to Los Angeles from April 19 to April 22 for a crisis-focused conference hosted by Model United Nations at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The conference in Los Angeles comes with a high price tag for the club and ASWC at a granted request of $3,201 from the Travel and Student Development Fund.  According to sophomore MUN President Kayvon Behroozian, attending conferences, the major activity of MUN, requires a large budget.

“The point of the club is to attend these conferences because that’s what Model UN really is,” said sophomore Kayvon Behroozian, president of MUN.

MUN has the highest budget of any club. This year, the club’s budget is $5,231, and the club has received $5,734 from the Travel and Student Development Fund, receiving a total of $10,940 from ASWC.

MUN sent about 30 members to the Pacific Northwest conference, requesting $2,533 from T&SD last fall. Eight members will participate in the upcoming Los Angeles conference.

According to ASWC Finance Committee Chair Fritz Siegert, MUN’s well-reasoned budget requests, careful use of money and benefit to students makes ASWC feel confident in giving the club a large budget.

“When we give money to Model UN, at least in the past, it has been used the way they say it’s going to be used, and it’s used well. That resonates quite a bit with us on the Finance Committee and also the greater Senate body,” said Siegert.

Siegert believes that funding Model UN, despite the high price tag, matches ASWC’s goal of supporting student pursuits.

“A great number of students have demonstrated that they get something significant out of the Model UN experience. It is a club that meets regularly and has quite a devoted membership base, and it’s a cause a lot of people are passionate about,” said Siegert.

MUN Members echo the passion Siegert describes and appreciate what they learn from Model UN.

“When we attend these conferences it’s not only a networking opportunity for those of us who are interested in international relations and politics . . . but it’s also an opportunity for us to work on our ability to publicly speak and to collaborate with other people. It’s useful in every type of situation imaginable,” said Behroozian.

The LA conference gives members a chance to discuss crises including the North Korean famine, the War on Drugs and historical crises like the Russian Revolution. One committee will look at the parallels between forging a new republic in Star Wars and real-world diplomatic issues.

“I really like [Model UN] because it gives you a sense of confidence in presenting which has carried over into all my classes. It’s no sweat when I have to get up and talk in front of people now because you have to do that in committee every day,” said sophomore Undersecretary General Jane Carmody.

Siegert admits that Model UN receives a large amount of funding but not an unfair amount.

“In terms of [the budget] being disproportionate, absolutely. Model UN has gotten quite a bit of money, but in terms of it being unfair . . . I would say there’s no evidence to cite for that,” said Siegert.

However, obtaining additional mid-year funding is not as easy for some campus organizations. Most campus clubs can expect that ASWC will budget $500-$1,000 for their yearly activities.

Molly Esteve, editor-in-chief of quarterlife literary magazine, has had mixed results getting funding.

ASWC nearly doubled quarterlife’s budget this year, which allowed for two issues of the magazine to be perfect-bound versus staple bound. Esteve is grateful for this additional funding.

“The perfect binding has been such a success. We’ve heard overwhelming praise for it as opposed to other issues of quarterlife. It’s amazing,” said Esteve.

But after the success of the two perfect-bound issues, Esteve requested $1,000 from the contingency fund to be able to print the final issue perfect bound. ASWC tabled her request, suggesting that quarterlife fundraise part of the money and ask ASWC for the remainder.

“Compared to what other groups are asking for, I think $1,000 is a reasonable amount to ask for. It really makes quarterlife more of a permanent object, the perfect binding, instead of something scraped together,” said Esteve.

Both Siegert and Esteve emphasized the importance of transparency in ASWC funding. Siegert wants students to be aware that money is available to support their pursuits.

“Look, if you have new ideas, if you have conferences you want to go on, if your club is looking for funding, come apply. We like to give [money] to really strong, productive ideas,” said Siegert.

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