Model U.N. delegates head to St. Louis

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:00:00 PM

And the tradition continues.

For the 50th year, Cardinal Stritch University students packed their suits, ties, skirts, and heels and prepared to shift their perspective and debate pressing international issues as they joined hundreds of other college students for the Midwest Model United Nations event.

Today (Feb. 19), eight Stritch students are heading to St. Louis to represent South Korea during a four-day event where they will debate current global issues in a simulation of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. The group began preparing for the event in August, with some taking a three-credit semester-long course and others gathering research outside of class as part of the Model U.N. club.

Senior political science major Bobby Spoden, a four-year participant in Model U.N., is the head delegate and club president this year.

“Honestly it’s probably the biggest experience I’ll take from going to Stritch,” said Spoden, noting that he’s represented countries on four continents – Argentina, Switzerland, Togo and, now, South Korea. “I mean four years in a row. It’s hard to forget it.”

This year, he most anticipates his role representing South Korea on the Security Council.

“That’s pretty exciting for me because, of the topics this year, two of them address nuclear weapons in North Korea,” Spoden said. “When I saw those topics, I said, ‘Yes!’ I’m going to be the star of the show, I guess.”

Throughout the years, Stritch represented a wide range of countries, including South Africa during Apartheid in 1963, Iran during the 1973 oil crisis, and the United Arab Emirates in 1987 when the Stritch delegation wrote a position paper titled, “Measures for Eliminating the Problem of International Terrorism.”

“It’s an interesting way to learn,” Spoden said. “That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve taken away from it. Taking political science classes, you tend to learn how things work and about a bunch of different governmental structures and things like that. But it’s very different to actually go and try to act in a certain way. It’s really experiential learning and that’s probably what’s drawn me to it all these years.”

Personally, he said he especially appreciates the opportunities to work on his public speaking skills and also the many relationships he gained through the experience.

“Just about all my closest friends I’ve met at Stritch have come from Model U.N.,” Spoden said. “And it’s really helped me build relationships with the professors, especially when you’re working with them very closely in a small group outside of normal classes.”

Before he heads to graduate school where he plans to pursue a master’s degree in library science, Spoden hopes to recruit students to keep the program strong and to continue the tradition in years to come.

“I would encourage people to look into it, because it’s a different way to experience politics,” Spoden said. “It’s a lot different than just listening and disagreeing. You have to come up with arguments from a different point of view. …I think it’s very useful to know how other people view things, to be able to understand them and argue from a different point of view than your own.”

Joining Spoden this weekend are: senior Stephanie Coker (political science and music), senior Alex Coralic (computer science and political science), senior Paige Quinones (political science),  junior Jake Riegert (political science), sophomore Marie Gentil (communications), sophomore Nate Hoernke (biology),and freshman Ariana Colon (political science).