The University of Calgary's Model United Nations team sent 13 delegates to Washington, D.C. Fri., Oct. 31 for the National Collegiate Security Conference hosted by Georgetown University. The team did not match last year's standing as Best Small School Delegate.
"It's a rebuilding year for us," explained veteran Model UN member Scott Piet, a fifth-year Political Science and History major.
Most of the team's experienced members have retired, leaving the team to compete with mostly first-year students. Experience is the only way to raise the level of performance at the conferences, but already the senior members are confident about the future of the team.
"Considering how young they are, they did really well," noted Melissa Scamen, a fifth-year Political Science and Economics major.
Turnover in talent is not the only obstacle to conference victory. The U of C delegates largely fund their own way to conferences, as much as $1,000, whereas other universities fully support their Model UN delegates.
"We basically go and beg to individual departments, and fundraise throughout the year," explained Piet.
The highly successful reputation the U of C team built over the years is due to a more serious intention of competing to win.
"We are a highly competitive, successful team because we go on our own dime," he said. "Our morale is very high. We are a tight-knit group."
Expectations for this conference were not as high as in years prior, but the overall experience gained from the trip was encouraging for future conferences, specifically Ottawa in March, 2004.
"We're confident that, with this experience, we'll do well," said Scamen.
Engaging in top-level collegiate competition has developed the students' diplomatic, leadership and public speaking skills. Model UN members will often go on to focus on international relations in some manner.
"It allows you to express your policy and your point of view," said Piet.
"What we're learning, it should be a part of everyone's education," concluded Scamen.