Schreiber hosts first Model UN conference

Madeline Fagen, Staff Writer

In the first Model United Nations conference in its history, Schreiber hosted over one hundred students from Plainview, Patchogue, St. Francis, Sachem North and Sachem East high schools.  These students gathered on March 1 and 2 to participate in PortMUNC.

Model U.N. is a simulation of the United Nations.  Prior to conferences, Model U.N. members choose topics for debate specific to several committees, including the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the World Health Organization.

The chairs of each committee, who are students from Schreiber, write background guides for each topic, which are distributed to attending participants (called delegates) beforehand.

“I wanted to make sure the topics were interesting, debatable, and not something that could be easily solved,” said sophomore Rachel Ellerson.

PortMUNC held Long Island’s first U.N. Women committee, which specifically discussed worldwide issues pertaining to women.

The delegates were each assigned a country to represent.  At the conference, the delegates discussed the topics and issues they were assigned, and attempt to create solutions.

“The students wanted to make the club more serious, and in order to do that one of the goals was to have a conference.  It’s very difficult to do; in fact, most other schools do not do it, or at least not as well as we did it, especially for our first one,” said Mr. Vinella.

Current seniors, who joined the team as freshmen, have been pushing for a conference since then.

“The seniors on the board have been planning a conference ever since we were freshman, and we didn’t wasn’t anything to ruin our four years of work,” said senior Emily Lipstein.

Through members’ recruiting efforts, the club expanded enough to form a substantial number of committees.  Although the club did recently recruit many students, it was still a challenge to organize the conference.

“Logistically, everything was done, but it was a lot more stressful than it would have been had our club been bigger,” said Lipstein.

The extensive planning took effort from participants.

“It took months of preparation to put this conference together,” said Lipstein.  “The board of our club had to decide who would chair each committee, which committees we would have, and think of original topics for each committee to debate.”

Members as well as the advisor were busy and stressed in the weeks leading up to the event.

“Do you know how grey I went? Yes, it was very stressful. Absolutely,” said Mr. Vinella.

When students arrived at Schreiber, there was an opening ceremony and the school’s Secretary General, Makenzie Drukker, greeted attendees.

Delegates were then taken to their individual committees and discussion on various topics began.

“The volunteers were invaluable, and there’s no way the conference could have been as successful as it was without them,” said Mr. Vinella.

At the end of the conference, the committee chairpeople, chose the best delegates from each committee and awards were distributed accordingly.

“Schreiber hosting their first Model U.N. conference is considered a huge stepping stone in making a more serious and active club,” said Mr. Vinella.  “For our first one it went incredibly well.  The club is continuing to grow, and hopefully next year and many years after we will have bigger and bigger conferences.”

“All in all, everyone had a wonderful time at the conference and we’re hoping to raise enough money to have another conference next year!” said Lipstein.  “We learned a lot from hosting and now what to work on for next time.”