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The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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UNA Model U.N. raises funds for Germany conference

Gavin Van Devender

The University of North Alabama’s Model United Nations team is raising money to attend an international conference in Germany in November. 

Model U.N. is a simulation in which groups of students act as ambassadors in a United Nations General Assembly. There are regional, national and international conferences each year.

At conferences, students represent a country and debate topics such as equality, health or climate issues, among others. The goal is to find resolutions to these issues with the other countries in attendance. This year, UNA’s team represents Algeria. 

Dr. Leah Graham started UNA’s Model U.N. team in 2011 with only a few students. In the following years, it became both a club and a class, which students receive academic credit for. 

As a part of the class, which meets once a week, students do assignments and research to prepare for conferences, and they also can perform simulations of conferences to practice. The students cover topics such as speech writing, delegation and conference rules, and they research to remain up-to-date on international affairs.

“My work is mostly on the front end, training the students in diplomacy, public speaking, negotiations, research and the country positions, alongside planning the conferences and getting them there,” Graham said. “Once we are at the conference, the students do all the work. I just become the annoying, super-fan paparazzi taking pictures to share on our Facebook and Instagram pages, providing travel necessities, and answering questions from the position of ‘home government,’ or how our country would stand on the particular debate.” 

As the team’s advisor, Graham has gotten to see the students work together to improve, and she is very proud of their efforts.

“This team is brilliant, both in their research and their strategies, and they are also extremely professional,” she said. “It’s truly been my pleasure to work with this team. They are so inspiring and hilarious.”

In November, the group will be in Erfert, Germany for nine days, and will spend around half of that time participating in the conference.

For many students in UNA’s Model U.N., this trip will be their first time out of the United States, which will result in an exciting and enriching experience.

“I’m so excited that I get to go to Germany and see the sights there,” Tyler Rollins, a Model U.N. team member, said. “Oh my God, the public transport. I’m going to go crazy for the public transportation. You don’t get it here, so you have to pay for a car trip or a plane instead of taking a train, which you can do in Germany. It’s really nice.”

Devin Elledge, UNA’s Model U.N. President, looks forward to the conference, as he hopes to see how far he has come as a mock delegate during his time in Model U.N. 

“[The conferences] are exhausting, but the experience is worth it,” Elledge said.

An overarching theme is students’ desires to see their hard work in the classroom pay off in such a large conference.

“It’s really exciting just to be able to work together with all of my classmates to be involved with this conference and with so many other schools and regions of the world,” said Graham Weaver, UNA’s Model U.N. Treasurer. “It’ll be great just to be able to see the grand scheme and the inner workings.”

To get to the conference, each student must pay part of their travel expenses, so the team has been doing fundraisers such as a garage sale, a car wash and an event where students can pay to pie their professors. The group also has a GoFundMe on their Instagram (@una_model_un) and Facebook (UNA Model United Nations). 

“We are trying so hard, and the community has been showing up in incredible ways,” Graham said. “We just still need more help.”

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About the Contributors
Kelley Peters
Kelley Peters, Editor in Chief
Kelley is a junior from Tupelo, Miss. who is majoring in English literature with a minor in applied linguistics. She is currently Managing Editor for The Flor-Ala. She has loved reading for as long as she can remember, which developed her love of storytelling and the English language. Her career goal is to become an English professor at a university. She was previously a volunteer writer in the Fall of 2021, became a Staff Writer in January of 2022 and moved to being News Editor in January of 2023.
Gavin Van Devender
Gavin Van Devender, Former Staff Graphic Designer

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