By Tela Wittig
The School of Diplomacy celebrates as SHUNA, Seton Hall’s Model United Nations team, was awarded Outstanding Large Delegation at the Pennsylvania United Nations Conference (PUNC) for the second year in a row. Seton Hall also brought home nine individual awards. Abbi Cormier and Alex Robson were awarded Best Delegates; Trevor West, Chris McNeil, and Michael Hunter were commended as Outstanding Delegates; and Geoffrey Thomulka, Daniel Garay, Brent Findon, and Noelle Sorich received honorable mentions. SHUNA took a large delegation to the conference this semester, selecting 18 individuals to compete.
PUNC, on the weekend of March 17-20, is a tough competition, attended by schools such as Cornell University and the Ohio State University. Conference delegates were tasked with representing important actors ranging from generals on both sides of the Syrian civil war, members of the Democratic Party, mobsters of Chicago, and even journalists who report on the ground. Delegates were challenged by the presentation of successive crises and scored on their abilities to work with other delegates in order to solve them.
In addition to a rigorous schedule, comprising over 18 hours of formal debate over the course of four days, delegates had several opportunities to meet and network with their fellow delegates. The conference hosted two evening social events and a lunch in order to encourage delegates to mingle with representatives from other schools. This is a big part of why Model U.N. is so special — not only does it allow students to experience real world crises from the perspectives of those who are tasked with solving them, but they have the chance to solve these issues with other like-minded students whom they will likely meet again in their future careers.
Freshman delegate Victoria Padilla echoed the sentiments of many of her teammates, saying, “PUNC was a wonderful learning experience and a great opportunity to work with new people sharing new ideas.”
SHUNA as a whole was very satisfied with the professionalism and knowledge of the conference staff, as well as the interesting topics that they selected for debate. SHUNA President Geoffrey Thomulka commented on his positive experience at PUNC, saying that he “[hopes] the leadership of the club, moving forward, will select PUNC as it is one of the most enjoyable conference we attend.”
Seton Hall’s performance at this conference was very reassuring as it enters into an important season. SHUNA members make up a large fraction of the staff for SHUMUN, the high school Model U.N. conference hosted by the School of Diplomacy on April 16-17, so the team’s outstanding performance at PUNC speaks positively to the outlook for the 17th annual SHUMUN.
PUNC was SHUNA’s final conference this academic year, and the outlook for the team in the future is a bright one. Very few of the club’s increasingly active membership are graduating this spring. The club has also seen a definite increase in the number of individual awards being won over the past few years. Seton Hall’s students are making a name for themselves in the Model U.N. community, and their performance at PUNC further emphasizes that trend.