Monthly Archives: April 2016

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Luke Mehall to present on his new memoir, American Climber

LUKE

Former Gunnison Valley resident Luke Mehall will give a presentation for his third book, American Climber at Western State Colorado University on Wednesday, April 13th, in the North Ballroom of the University Center at 7 pm. The presentation is free, and there will be a “love letter to climbing” contest for the audience on real typewriters provided by the author.

American Climber is a memoir loaded with epic climbing stories and adventures. It contains two underlying themes: a compelling narrative of the author’s tumultuous journey to climbing that ultimately saved his life, and a detailed look at the American dirtbag climbing culture, which has never truly been examined in a memoir.

The book starts in a now forgotten era, before the Internet was ever part of the climbing experience and before the word “dirtbag” was commonplace. Mehall spent much of the time documented in the book living hand to mouth, often living in a tent and couch surfing with friends to save money. The journey of the book takes the reader to the modern era, and questions whether a golden age is still at hand in the climbing experience.

 

Chris Kalous, host of the ever popular Enormocast podcast had this to say about American Climber, “Luke Mehall emerged as a writer just in time to chronicle the dwindling light of the soul-climber: one who climbs for the aesthetics, who adventures for the freedom not the recognition, who’s hi-tech gear is merely a tool rather than a totem. Luke and his cohorts embody the dream of the American West with all its promise of freedom and risk and reward. To dive into a Mehall book is to be brought along on a ride that we all wish we had the courage to board, but most of us trade that courage for comfort.”

Local writer George Sibley, author of Dragons in Paradise and Water Wranglers, has also praised the book, “American Climber isn’t just about climbing; it is a strong and well-told story about climbing out of the gray cave of existential depression that infects so many young people today, an always-honest account of finding meaning in his life not through disposable McJobs or the standard-issue American dream, but through self-medicating on nature and nature’s challenges, where the true highs of life and living are hard-earned doing strange things in strange places with a band of brothers and sisters equally disaffected but spirited. I’ve previously said that Mehall could be the Kerouac of his generation; with American Climber, he’s there.”    

Mehall’s work has been featured in the following publications: The Alpinist, Climbing Magazine, Rock and Ice, The Climbing Zine, Mountain Gazette, Utah Adventure Journal, Crested Butte Magazine, Durango Telegraph, Crested Butte News, Crested Butte Weekly, Gunnison Country Magazine, and Gunnison Country Times. He is a 2004 graduate of Western State Colorado University and is also the publisher of The Climbing Zine, and founder of Benighted Publications. He lives in Durango, Colorado.

More information about the book can be found at www.climbingzine.com. For media inquiries please contact the author directly at luke@climbingzine.com or 970-376-3116. Copies of the book will be available locally at The Bookworm, The Firebrand, the Western State Colorado University Bookstore, and Townie Books and Chopped Wood Mercantile in Crested Butte.

Overwhelming Organizations: Part 4/4

Frederick Slyter / Editor

Throughout this semester, Top o’ the World has tried to explore the many student clubs and organizations. This task proved to be, frankly, overwhelming. Simply trying to find time to interview some of the student leaders and/or their advisors proved impossible as they are all very busy. However, those interviewed all agreed that most things are going really well and that students and faculty/staff are enjoying the fruits of their labors.

President of the Student Government Association (SGA), Ryan Paull, believes that there is always room for growth. “We have to pull at the little strings to make a big difference,” says Paull. He also agrees that many of the minor problems seen can be simply fixed by improving communication rather than establishing unnecessary policies and procedures. SGA Advisor Sara Phillips agrees with Paull.

“As leaders, we just do what needs to be done,” says Paull, “you have to challenge yourself and help other people.” He encourages student organizations to have a “training day” when transferring from old leadership to new leadership. He also recommends they use and maintain a “master binder” to help make the transition smoother. “I plan to mentor people on my way out,” says Paull. This seems like a good way to maintain continuity as new students take on bigger roles and more experienced students graduate.

Dr. Elizabyth Hiscox, Faculty Advisor for the Council for Creative Expression (CCE), agrees that “face to face meetings” are the best way to maintain balance and organize student organizations. CCE is the governing body for such amazing programs as Peak Productions, Mountaineer Media, KWSB, and Student Art League.

CCE’s purpose is “to have a greater interaction with the arts than the classroom can provide,” says Dr. Hiscox. While maintaining an “onus on the students,” CCE understands that different groups have different needs. Dr. Hiscox believes, “everyone has a voice and is encouraged to use that voice.”

CCE and Inter-Club Council, as well as the Multicultural Center (MCC), operate as separate boards underneath SGA. Each of these organizations strive to help students facilitate a wide variety of activities. Some evidence of all this can easily be seen by attending any major event put on by these organizations, but the majority of the work happens behind the scenes.

The various students and faculty/staff involved in each of these governing bodies, and each individual student club or organization, work very hard to facilitate the activities and comradery seen both on and off campus.

The student directors for CCE and MCC were not available for comment, nor was the MCC Advisor.

ICC Director Jodie Howard and Advisor Lauren Echevarria graciously interviewed for the article published on Mar. 4.

Western’s Nordic Ski Team Takes Second Overall At National Championships

Duncan Callahan / Special to the Top

The Western State Colorado University Mountain Sports Nordic Ski Team recently competed at the 2016 United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) National Championships in Lake Placid, New York. Despite low snow and warm temperatures, the team excelled and posted numerous season-best results. The race organizers did an outstanding job with the conditions they were dealt and created a fantastic 2.5km loop, made entirely of man-made snow. All of the races were held on this loop, including a 6-lap 15km mass start classic race, and a 3-lap 7.5km interval start skate race, with Western’s top competition coming from the University of Wyoming, St. Olaf College, and Clarkson University.

The first day of competition (Tuesday, Mar. 8) was the 15km mass start classic race and the Western men skied splendidly with freshman Cameron Moore leading the way in 5th place. Moore was followed by his teammates Isaiah St. Pierre in 10th, Cameron Smith in 12th, Kevin Geisen in 13th, and Gordon Gianniny in 16th. This placed the men’s team in a solid 2nd place for the team scoring on the day. Incredible! On the women’s side, junior Samantha Maddox placed a solid 12th place and barely missed out on All-American honors.

The race course conditions deteriorated between Tuesday and Wednesday, but once again the race organizers did a masterful job getting the course ready for racing. Wednesday, Mar. 9 was the 7.5km interval start skate race, and the Western men performed tremendously. Isaiah St. Pierre led the way with a strong 5th place effort, followed by Cameron Moore in 8th, Cameron Smith in 9th, and Kevin Geisen in 10th. The men placed 2nd in the team standings once again. Samantha Maddox landed in 12th place again with another solid result.

After a training day on Thursday, competition resumed on Friday, Mar. 11 with the 1.3km skate sprint. This race followed the traditional format of a qualifier sprint in the morning, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals to sort out the final finish order. Sophomore Kevin Geisen skied better throughout each round and finished with a very strong 2nd place result. For Geisen, this was an incredible improvement over last year’s result. Behind Geisen, the Western men were led by Cameron Moore in 7th place, and Isaiah St. Pierre in 11th to round out the scoring and land the team in 2nd place for the overall team standings. Samantha Maddox put up a strong result by finishing 17th overall in the women’s race.

Saturday, Mar. 12 was the final day of competition – the team relay, and the Western Men factored heavily in the race by finishing in 3rd place behind the University of Wyoming, and Clarkson University. This result secured Western’s overall team placing of second place in the nation for the entire National Championships. The team improved greatly compared to the previous year and is proud of this overall team result, as well as the 10 All-American awards handed out during the week. The USCSA is becoming more competitive each year, with larger fields of athletes and more qualified competitors. Western is up to the challenge and aims to be the best program in the nation by the end of the 2017 – 2018 season. Here’s to boldly pursuing and achieving that goal. #GoWestern

Quigley Hall Gearing Up For Fall Classes

With renovation winding down, students and faculty eagerly await new space

Roberta Marquette-Strain / Senior Staff Writer

Photo by Roberta Marquette-Strain
Photo by Roberta Marquette-Strain

With the end of the school year quickly approaching, students and faculty members are eagerly awaiting summer time with a chance to take a break from their classrooms. However, the students and faculty who inhabit Quigley hall, Western’s art and music building, are feeling quite the opposite.

In the fall of 2014, Quigley was granted a much needed $25.8 million upgrade which would begin that summer, and continue on through the next school year. That meant that everything had to be moved out, and classes had to be held elsewhere. But this fall, Quigley will be open for classes, debuting its many new additions.

The music department will be gaining a concert hall, fit for bigger audiences and more accessible for larger instruments, and sound proofed practice rooms, the biggest problem that needed to be fixed for the new building.

The old practice rooms did not have any kind of noise isolation. This would harm the performer’s ears as they practiced, and everything they would do could be heard in the next room. Martha Violett, the music faculty representative for the renovation, believes that the new rooms will not only be safer, but will encourage students to use them more. “I think that students will feel more comfortable in the practice rooms because I know that students feel uncomfortable practicing with somebody hearing all of their mistakes without the sound isolation.” Violett said.

Violett has been teaching at Western for 44 years, and has gained the most experience with Quigley’s past issues. She has also seen plans for a renovation come and go multiple times, so when the plans were approved, and the budget was set, she couldn’t believe it. “When we actually got the funding it was like, ‘Wow, this is real!’”

Despite being retired, Violett stuck around to serve on the committee to help make the music’s side of the building as functional as possible, and to see the long awaited final outcome. “I figured that I have as much interest and desire to see it finished as anyone because I’ve dealt with it the longest, so I’m really excited to see it finally happening.”

The concert hall is another component that the music program is eagerly anticipating. It will include more room behind the stage so instruments and equipment have more accessibility and feature a balcony on the second floor. The concert hall gives Western’s musical ensembles a chance to show off what hard work they put into the program, and can also hosts guest performers. “I think it will give us an opportunity to show off all the work we do here,” Jennifer Bishop said.

Bishop, who is an art and music student, hopes that the entire building will represent the departments. “We have fantastic faculty here and really dedicated students and I think we finally have something that matches that. I’m so excited to see it.”

Art student Madison Manning also looks forward to how the new building will represent the departments. “The remodel is going to allow students to be represented by a building that is as professional and exceptional as the work the students within it’s walls produce,” said Manning.

The art department will be gaining a bigger and better art gallery, revamped classrooms built around the mediums that will be taught in them, and much more space that includes a brand new wing on the second floor.

The gallery, which will display BA and BFA art shows, is something that not just Western students can look forward to, but the Gunnison community as well. “The gallery space will provide a better experience for student and audience members,” Manning said. “Students can work larger and display more work at their exhibits as well as having a space that can finally service the entire audience during openings without a crowding issue or forcing views to wait for others to exit.”

As a whole, the new building will be safer, more professional, and will allow students to reach their full artistic potential. Quigley is on track to open for fall 2016 classes.

Western’s Young Life ministry travels to Southern California

Morgan Aragon / Staff Writer

Photo by Morgan Aragon
Photo by Morgan Aragon

 

Western students and leaders embarked on a spring break adventure visiting Zion National Park, San Diego, Las Vegas, and volunteered at the Oakbridge Young Life camp.

Young Life College, a national organization focused on building relationships and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, left the Gunnison Valley for spring break and journeyed down to San Diego, California.  

The group spent two days camping at Zion National Park, two nights at the San Diego State Young Life college houses, two nights at Oakbridge, and one night in Las Vegas. Western Young Life College Leader, Jessica Kresl, was excited about the opportunity to travel to Southern California and serve the community.

“Through this experience, we hope to grow deeper relationships with those who came on the trip as well as making it known to the rest campus that Young Life can be a place to come and have an awesome time, where people want to walk through life and build solid relationships with and to experience what joy with a God who loves you is like,” said Kresl.

Western Young Life attended San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Young Life Club on Tuesday night. Nearly 100 college students poured into San Diego State’s Young Life, all greeting Western with a big smile. Western students were in for a treat.  SDSU and Western Young Life played games, sang worship, and shared faith related stories of how God has impacted lives on each of their campuses. After club, the Western group followed the SDSU Young Life tradition of eating at CREAM, a popular ice cream sandwich shop.

The Western Young Life group then traveled to Ramona, California to spend time serving the staff at the Oakbridge middle school camp. Young Life groups from Las Vegas partnered with the Western group to take on several work projects to help make the camp look better for the summer.

Several Western students and leaders spent hours in the California sun pulling weeds, painting fences, building things for camp, moving hay, planting flowers, and redoing the Young Life sign on the hill. “It was so much fun getting to live day and night with each other for a full week, searching for adventure and serving the best we could” said Jeff Hulbert, Western Young Life’s College Campus Director.

The group stayed a night in Las Vegas, walking the strip and exploring the Coke store and M&M World before driving back to Gunnison. “My favorite part was getting to know everyone a little better whether it be through the hours spent in the car, working alongside people, or the times when I could just sit down and have a good conversation with someone” said Kresl.

Young Life College meets every Tuesday at 7:01 p.m. in the University Center at Western. Small groups, for deeper conversation about faith, meets every Sunday. For more information, visit Western Young Life’s Facebook page. 

https://www.facebook.com/Western-Young-Life-399953776849347/

Walking Towards Prevention

Local community members band together to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

Kennedy Sievers / Staff Writer

Suicide has hit the Gunnison community hard in recent months, and in order raise awareness, local Chris Peterson joined forces with the national organization American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to host a campus walk May 1. This walk is intended to raise awareness of suicide prevention, raise money for the AFSP to conduct national research on suicide prevention, and raise money to incorporate new programs for suicide prevention in local schools.

Peterson said she got involved because of her personal affiliation with the students that lost their lives: “The first young man we lost at the high school was like a fourth teenager to me so that started it. By the third in the fall, my youngest, who was fifteen at the time, was so angry so I was like, okay, we’ve got to do something.” She hopes it will help both her own teenagers as well as the other students affected by these tragedies: “It’s helping them and getting the students involved,” she said.

The idea to have a campus walk in Gunnison was Peterson’s, and she is spearheading the event: “I’m the walk coordinator. We’ve got the posters all over the place, I’ve put my name and number out there, I’ve worked on the sponsorship letters, put a ton of those out there. We have the volunteers coming on, but I’m kind of heading all of the committees and then having my main committee go out there and fundraising and volunteering and finding the spots they’re most interested in. I’m also dealing with the hospital; we have a bunch of volunteers there,” she said.

Another local, Nancy Dolezal, has volunteered her time to helping with the efforts of the walk. According to Dolezal, she “had seen all of this happening to the youth, and right after high school my son had a friend who committed suicide so that bothered me as well. My other focus is working with the elderly. A lot of times elderly folks have lived a good long life, and sometimes they have a spouse that dies or something like that and then they become super depressed. If you add illness to that, it’s like why am I still alive? They don’t see the point in sticking around anymore even though they may have family members or friends that dearly care for them.”

Dolezal also has a connection to the domestic violence realm and wants to raise awareness for that cause as well. “I used to work with domestic violence victims and sometimes those victims get into a place where they don’t see an out, they don’t see a way for their life to ever be normal. They find suicide to be an escape, once again leaving friends and family members filling the gap,” she said.

This event is meant to support the people affected by the recent suicides in Gunnison. According to Peterson, “Last year there were 340 students in Gunnison High School and we lost three of them.” Even more students attempted suicide: “The last I heard there were six attempted,” Peterson said.  

Dolezal believes that with more awareness of prevention and mental health, students will be more protected: “They think, ‘Well, look how much attention this person got,’ but at what end? It’s something that we do need to get more education in the schools and we need more affordable mental health,” she said.

The fundraising, donations, and profits from the silent auction are all going to a good cause. “About 50 percent of it does go to national research and education and continuing to get the word out there for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This walk is one of their sponsored events; it’s kind of one of their key events. It’s an Out of the Darkness campus walk, so it’s focused more on the school. They focus nationally to try and reduce suicide. We’re hoping for about 50 percent to go to our schools and start more programs,” said Peterson.

The programs that would start due to this fundraising will be more focused around peers understanding and supporting other peers, so students will have the opportunity to learn more about suicide, its prevention, and create relationships and support systems. Peterson said it is geared towards “train[ing] the students” and “it’s something that goes on their resumes; it looks awesome and they can take it with them. It’s something they can build on. There is training for every program we put in. It’s more for the students to be more involved in supporting not only themselves but also everyone in the school. It’s strengthening and supporting each other.”

Peterson’s ultimate goal is for students of all ages to cooperate and work together to become a supportive community. “We’re focusing on the schools in the valley; it’s trying to get all of the schools involved together. Trying to get the college to trickle down to the high school and trickle down to the middle school,” she said. She wants to get all of the schools and students involved with prevention and supporting each other.

Dolezal believes that overall community involvement and connection is the key to success: “I think this whole idea is bringing the community together, and it doesn’t matter if you’re from Grand Junction or if someone is from Durango, or Denver, or California, or whatever, we all become one community, and so I think this is awesome. Let’s make this more like one community.”

The walk will be held on May 1, and includes a silent auction portion as well. “We start setting up 9 o’clock Saturday morning, our silent auction and registration starts at 11:30, and then at 1 o’clock we start walking. We go from the high school up to the middle school to Char Mar park, and then at Char Mar you can either take that back trail back to the high school or do the Van Tuyl trail, so almost a figure eight is what we’re doing. The opening ceremony is at 12:30 and the walk starts at one, and then the walk ends at three and clean up starts at like 2:30 to 5,” Peterson said.

If anyone wants to get involved, there are several opportunities to register for the walk. There will be registration booths in the University Center on Apr. 11 and 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. both days. There is also registration online and through Facebook. “The easiest way to find it is to Google ‘Gunnison Out of the Darkness registration’ or go on Facebook,” said Peterson.

The walk does not cost anything to participate unless people choose to donate: “There’s no fee to enter, you don’t have to donate, you don’t have to do anything, but you can. If you raise up to one hundred dollars, which is hitting up friends family, whoever else, your boss, but if you do raise the one hundred dollars you get the walk T-shirt which has the major sponsors logos on the back,” Peterson said. They are accepting donations up until Jun. 30.

For more information, contact Chris Peterson at (970) 209-4188, or email her at christine.peterson@westernalum.org. The walk also has a Facebook page and other websites available to accept donations.

Western ranks as Distinguished Delegation

Model United Nations Conference 2016

Cori Reid / Assistant Editor

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Denver, COLO-Manhattan, NY: Late Saturday night on Mar. 19, eleven Western students arrived at Denver International Airport to board a red-eye flight to take them to New York City. By the time the weary team returned to Colorado, they brought the award of “Distinguished Delegation” back with them to Western, placing them in the top 20% of schools represented at this year’s Model UN conference.

National Model United Nations (NMUN) is a week-long conference designed for colleges across the globe to take part in a simulation of the United Nations (UN). Each school is assigned a country to represent. In the months leading up to the conference, it is that school’s job to learn about their country’s position and policies regarding specific issues. NMUN splits up the delegations, placing them on separate committees to model the true workings of the UN.

Western had a seat on seven different committees including: General Assembly (GA) 1, GA 2, GA 4, Program of Action of Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA SALW), Security Council B, UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and UN Environment Program (UNEP). NMUN is a truly international conference where Western was competing and working alongside students from across the world, including many schools from Europe, Asia, and South America who helped Western students along the way.

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Each committee is given three topics to research and craft a position paper on before the conference begins. These papers have a two page limit, and the delegates have to concisely summarize their countries specific views on these issues. These papers become the basis of the conference and determine how the delegates will work with other countries, as well as which countries they will find allies in.

Security Council works a little differently. The council also creates a position paper on their given topics; however they do not often discuss these papers; instead they are given a “crisis situation” and have to work with the other countries delegates to form solutions that will be the best short and long term plan for everyone involved. Western’s delegates, Jade Gale and Dante Velez, who served on Security Council B were awarded with an “Outstanding Position Paper Award.”

Conference sessions were held all day long and would switch from formal to informal sessions. During formal sessions the Dias (the governing body of the committee) was in charge of running the meeting efficiently and effectively. After about twenty minutes of formal session, involving speeches and lobbying for support, delegates would typically motion to break to an informal session, where they would discuss solutions and write working papers. Working papers are informal draft resolutions (the equivalent of bills or laws passed in our government) typically written by a team of multiple delegates from a wide span of countries addressing the given topics.

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Once the team of delegates feels their paper is ready, they submit it to the Dias who reviews all of the papers, gives suggestions for formatting and technical information and sees if there are two (or more) papers that are similar enough to be merged. If there are papers that can merge, the Dias will discuss with each group that a merge should occur. Once the groups that merge feel comfortable with their papers, they will resubmit them to the Dias who then acknowledges the papers as a draft resolution rather than a working paper. Once a paper is recognized as a draft resolution it can be mentioned and referred to in speeches back in the formal sessions in preparation for finding support in the voting session.

The voting session occurred on Wednesday afternoon and was closed to all guests and faculty advisors. Voting is run by the Dias and can either be done by a rollcall vote, which involves calling on each individual country to give their vote, or voting by majority, where delegates raise their placards to vote for or against the different draft resolutions.  

Each team has either a faculty advisor, head delegate, or both. Dr. Maria Struble is the faculty advisor of the NMUN team. Western’s head delegate was senior Taylor Cull, who has attended two conferences before.

Western represented the African country of Malawi. Malawi is a sub-Saharan country bordered by Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, and Lake Malawi. Malawi is a developing country with a lack of infrastructure, and accusations of a corrupt government. Only 7% of the population has access to reliable electricity, and the country has been on the United Nations list of Least Developed Countries since the list was created in the late 1960’s.

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The team arrived in the Big Apple on Sunday morning in time to catch the sunrise. They explored the city and reconvened at the Sheraton Hotel at Times Square to review materials before the opening ceremony. Dr. Struble gave the team one last pep talk before the intensive week.

The opening ceremony was filled with inspirational speakers challenging the delegates to solve the world’s biggest issues in the week ahead. Sessions began immediately after the adjournment of the opening ceremony, the team scattered to their appropriate committees, and the work began. Sunday night was filled with discussion of the topic order for the week. Delegates spoke in front of their committees and persuaded other countries on what would make the best agenda. The discussion was based over what the first topic should be because typically, due to the time constraint at the conference, committees will only discuss one topic. Meetings adjourned Sunday evening, Western’s team debriefed and prepared for the long days ahead.

Monday morning the main topic from Sunday night was discussed and delegates began forming their working papers.  Sessions ran long, and the delegates worked hard to produce quality papers within the rushed deadline. Several of the Western delegates gave speeches throughout the day, convincing many other countries to join them on their working papers.

Tuesday morning was different. The mood was somber, there was news of a terrorist attack in Brussels, and the European delegates were feeling the loss of yet another attack. Typically at NMUN the agenda is not broken from and as far as the delegates in the conference know, real world time ends. The agenda was broken during the Programme of Action Small Arms and Light Weapons morning formal session when the Dias was allowed by the Secretary General to have a moment of silence to respect the victims of the attack. The day then commenced as normal and delegates resumed work on their working papers once they received their edits from the Dias.

Wednesday was a shorter day, by around 11am the majority of the working papers had been transformed into Draft Resolutions, and voting occurred that afternoon.

Thursday was the closing day of the conference, where the delegates got to visit the UN headquarters and sit where the country they were representing sits. There was a closing ceremony, and awards were announced.

The conference was officially over, the team left feeling proud and accomplished.

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Christian Kerr represented Western alongside Lozen Miller on General Assembly 4. He is a sophomore, double major in Politics and Government, and History. He is also an avid runner. “The conference was a lot of fun,” he said. Kerr and Miller worked on separate working papers and both ended up passing by the end of the conference. “The most useful thing wasn’t necessarily the research or the topic but the practice of collaborating with that many people and then merging papers with more people, and working with people whose first language isn’t English,” said Kerry. It was more about the process and not the end result. People should care about the UN because the UN is the best chance we have in the world to solve problems diplomatically. For all of the problems that the UN has, it still manages to solve issues diplomatically.”

Joey Thomas and Micaela Poe served on UNEP. Thomas is a Senior and Biology major who has a passion for politics. “I had done Model UN in grade school and high school, and politics is a hobby for me. It was a great opportunity to get outside of Hurst Hall and expand my breadth of knowledge. The UN represents the greatest achievement of humanity, a collaborative body who represents the entirety of the world (or at least most of it). It works to create resolutions that encompass the perspectives of all cultures and nations.”

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Warren Knutson served on the General Assembly First Committee. “The topics before the committee were: cybersecurity and protecting against cyber warfare, the threat of transnational organize crime to international security, and efforts to control weapons of mass destruction. I spent the majority of the time talking about the threat of transnational organized crime to international security. I joined the Model UN for a variety of reasons. First I wanted to get involved on campus, and this program offered a great opportunity for me. Second, I am passionate about politics, and being able to be put in a simulation that involves making policy changes that effect the world is an incredible opportunity. The UN is important, because they are people that are in charge of making changes that are aimed at helping the whole world. In most cases they come together to try and create a world that is better than it is now. Involvement in the Model UN gives an insight into what challenges the UN faces, and is a great opportunity, to get insight to what the UN finds as important issues right now.”

Mandie Little is a sociology major in her junior year. “My committee was United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). We discussed the topic of Education for all: Strengthening rural education.  I joined the Model UN because it was out of my comfort zone and something that I was not previously knowledgeable about. I wanted to learn and experience something new. I saw first-hand how many great minds can come together to solve big issues that face the world. It truly does take many different cultures and backgrounds to truly see what is possible, and where we can go. The work of the United Nations is very important to us all. They tackle the big issues that often seem unsolvable.”