The Model United Nations’s University of Michigan conference brought together an amazing group of students


700 students, 700 voices, and 700 opposing opinions filled the buildings of Ann Arbor at the Model United Nations University of Michigan conference.

Beginning on Jan. 10, students from all over the Midwest voiced their opinions and expressed their hard work to hundreds of other students.

During Model UN conferences, students from copious schools come together to debate, solve, and draw awareness to political issues facing the world. Students roleplay the United Nations with their specifically-assigned countries and committees in order to form a resolution on major issues. This year at the University of Michigan, advisor Cory Johnson and his students represented Norway, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Papua New Guinea, Tunisia, and Canada.

After taking over for Christopher McClees, Johnson was able to lead his students through the multitude of debates and presentations that occurred throughout the weekend. His presence and assistance was able to lead senior Sam Noonan to an award for the outstanding work he produced in the International Press Corps journalism committee.

“I actually won the best delegate award in my committee, so I am really happy with that,” Sam said. “It was a solid way to end off my last conference because I’ve never won an award before.”

Although only a single award was specifically granted to one of Johnson’s students, the overall work produced, time put in, and ability to come together with other students was greater than that of many other conferences the school has attended.

“The biggest growth I’ve seen this year, at least from students, is their ability to collaborate effectively with others,” Johnson said. “It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and to work your way into a group with people you’ve never met before.”

Not only did all of the students at the conference prove to be successful, but the underclassmen students were also able to step up and show that they have the ability to take charge in hectic situations.

Though Model UN is predominantly juniors and seniors, this year’s class has an above-average number of hard-working and motivated underclassmen. These young students will be able to carry on everything that Model UN has to offer.

“The lowerclassmen have seriously stepped up and are really good for their age,” Sam said. “They are definitely going to provide a really solid base for the program in the years going on, and I am very excited about how they are going to leave a good legacy.”

Although the conference ended in success for the school, it certainly did not come without some challenges. The number of students attending the event made for a chaotic experience at times, but most of the students were able to step up and prove their ability to be a leader in a group of their peers.

“The hardest part was when there was so much going on in a committee at one time, and it was really hard to find who was doing what and actually figure out what you are going to write a story on,” Sam said. “It can be a challenge to figure out what is actually going on in such a huge crowd.”

Even though there were challenges at times, the students were able to push through and become better delegates as the days passed. Concentration was the key to success at U of M, and the students were certainly able to meet their goals—using what they had been working on throughout the semester.

“Everyone brought their ‘A-Game,’” Johnson said. “Delegates were prepared, and our FHC students are almost always some of the most knowledgeable delegates at these conferences, which is something to be proud of. They worked very well with other delegates from other schools in committees.”

Although the main focus of the conference was most certainly what was occurring inside of the college’s walls, the students were able to have fun in Ann Arbor and come together as a team.

This year’s Model UN class was able to form a bond like no other at the conference and get to know each other outside of their typical classroom. Rooming together in hotel rooms, walking down the college campus, and spending time with their friends at night was the highlight of many students’ days.

“My friend [senior] Ellen Hoss and I walked through campus to get bubble tea and curly fries at 10 pm,” senior Maddie Vonk said. “It was really cool and gave us a taste of college life.”

Not only does Model UN teach students about politics and worldly news, but it holds the ability to build somebody’s character. Attending these conferences allows students to break outside of their typical comfort zone and become people who are able to express themselves to others.

“For me personally, it was cool to see students that were on the fence about Model UN come to me after a committee session excited about what they accomplished,” Johnson said. “It was a very genuine happiness that I appreciated.”