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College team earns 'Outstanding Delegation' honors at Model UN

April 3, 2019

Freshman Macee Carpenter had never traveled beyond Utah before enrolling at The College of Idaho this past fall.

She ventured a little further in late March, traveling to New York City as part of the College’s Model United Nations (MUN) team.

And it was a team that earned Outstanding Delegation honors for the entire event, which included 2,500 students from 200 colleges and universities that came from six continents. Carpenter also teamed with senior Sara Shockley to earn an award for the best position paper on climate change response.

“I had never even heard of the Model UN before coming here,” said Carpenter, a double-major in Business Administration and Political Economy who attended high school in Notus, Idaho. “It was honestly a life-changing experience.”

The College’s team deliberated in committees on a range of international topics including nuclear disarmament, sustainable energy, disaster relief, preventing extremism, and protecting marine life from microplastics. At a special session held at the United Nations General Assembly Hall, Head Delegate Kaytlyn Marcotte, a senior majoring in international political economy, delivered a speech on “Sustainable Development Goal – Access to Water for All.” Along with those of other head delegates representing their schools, Marcotte’s speech was broadcast live on UN-TV and is now archived at the United Nations.

Each team was given a country to represent. The College of Idaho team represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a small chain of islands off the northern coast of South America.

“You have to take yourself out of a standpoint of being an American and put yourself into a developing country’s standpoint,” Marcotte said. “You have to be able to learn what their goals are, policy-wise.”

Marcotte said award-winners are usually aware before arriving at the closing ceremonies in the main UN chambers. But, due to a change in schedules, the winners were announced without being disclosed beforehand, which heightened the drama.

“We knew that Sara and Macee had won an outstanding position paper for their committee because those are announced in committee,” Marcotte explained about the award announcements. “They called Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (as the outstanding delegation) and all I can remember is Don (Shaw) and Josh (Andersen) screaming and, as the head delegate, I was the one who got to go up and accept the award. It was a pretty incredible moment.”

It was Marcotte’s second trip to the Model UN with political economy professor Rob Dayley, one of only four delegates who had attended the Model UN before. Gavin McCaw, Audrey Worrell and Alex Sproule-Fendel were the other three returners. Shockley, Carpenter, Shaw, Andersen, Souhaila Abourchid, Jose Bayuga, Dharma Koffer and Mahaday Sulong were the eight first-time attendees.

Carpenter nearly missed out on the entire process. A friend talked her into enrolling into the Model UN class during the fall semester, which serves as an introduction to the Model UN learning program.  She said, initially, she didn’t even apply to be on the team but a spot opened up and Dayley asked her to join.

“It went from me deciding last minute to take a class to transforming into being part of an Outstanding Delegation and winning a position paper award,” Carpenter said. “It was well worth it in the end.”

The trip enabled the College’s students to interact and work with students from Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Spain and France, among a long list of others. Marcotte singled out the delegation from Nigeria for its strong work and Carpenter mentioned a friendship with Tala, a woman from a delegation from Lebanon.

All part of a big week for the students. The honors made it 11-straight years that the College’s delegation has won an award.

“We were not expecting to get a position paper award. It was our first year doing it and there had only been one (position paper) that had won in the history of The College of Idaho at the MUN,” Carpenter said of the experience. “I feel like we prepared really well, but the Outstanding Delegation (award) was a shock because that was the top award.”

The College of Idaho has a 128-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.