jaiveer-2Jaiveer Johal by Nolan Jacobs: current leader of the Saint Joseph’s High School Delegation and personal friend of mine. Some his classmates expected him to be down after his loss of last year’s Secretary General election, but he says that his experience was “really impactful even if [he] didn’t end up being Sec Gen”.  “Getting up on that stage and talking to 2000 people really puts thing in perspective” responded Johal when asked about his experience in the election.  “They were all hearing my ideas; that’s not something that happens to you every day, and it was one of the best experiences of my entire life.”

After the election experience, Jaiveer remains a dedicated member of the YMCA Model United Nations. He hasn’t let any of his accomplishments go to his head, since he does his best to work with the students in his delegation, particularly the first years, to help prepare them for the conference. “We don’t have all the time in the world, but we do our best to make sure the younger generation has the foundation of what they need for MUN.” said Johal in regards to how he and his officers prepare their delegation. Jaiveer loves MUN, specifically being an officer, because “it gives you a chance to look at your own flaws and see how to improve, so it’s definitely worth it.”

Jaiveer Johal also has a unique perspective on this year’s theme and how it applies to MUN. He sees the conference as a chance to get the word out to people, and even “if we put a message out to 1000, 800 will hear nothing, but 200 will hear something. They will get the idea that helping out and doing service will bring harmony and peace between them and others.” Jaiveer also commented on how the harmony in his own family has inspired him to bring that sense of peace and understanding to others, especially after the “pain, discord, and suffering” he’s seen on some of the service trips.

Kelly Sherman by Jordan Detlet: “What first inspired you to join MUN?” Sherman responded, “I was a naive, little freshman who decided to join as many clubs as I. Possibly could.” She then went on to explain how she was also inspired by somebody on the soccer team who seemed very worldly and intelligent. She thought that by joining the club she could be the same way. After going to conference she said, “I met so many people and decided to keep coming back every since.” My next question was, “What are you most excited for at this year’s conference?” She perked up at this question and quickly responded “The topics! I am France in PolSec B so all of the topics are practically geared towards me. Terrorism, cyber-warfare, and peacetime regarding post war.” She was excited to represent France and said it was going to be very interesting as well as educational to represent such a country.

Given that the theme of this year’s conference is “Harmony”, I thought it was only fitting to ask what “Harmony” really meant to her. “Harmony to me means that a lot of different people coming from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences can come together and express themselves in a way that is beautiful. Every opinion is respected despite social barriers between countries.” Continuing the questions about conference, I inquired, “What are your expectations for this year’s conference?” To which Sherman responded, “As a senior, it is exciting to leave it all out there. As a freshman, sophomore, and junior I was pretty timid. However, I have come to learn that everybody at MUN is so welcoming and encouraging. I know the chair and it is very exciting to go into MUN already knowing somebody.” Sherman says she is very excited to know what the Crisis will be during committee and is excited to work with the threatening countries during such a high tension time. My final question was about the advice she had for incoming delegates. “MUN is what you make of it. When you get into committee, introduce yourself to your neighbors, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. You worked hard on your CRP, so don’t be scared that you don’t know the facts.” Sherman’s last piece of advice also served as great encouragement, even to me. “You have amazing thoughts that everyone should hear.”

by Alec Zoccali-Nagler: Many people join the YMCA Civic Engagement conference their freshman year, but Jake is different- he joined his senior year. I asked him what prompted him to join, to which he replied, “ The only thing that made me want to join Model UN was what I want my career to be. As a future criminal justice major, I want to gather as much experience as possible”. This is interesting because it shows how the conference attracts people with different interests and different goals. Criminal Justice doesn’t really have anything to do with international relations, but Jake felt it could be useful experience. One conversation point that came up during the interview was why he picked the Council on Economic Advancement when making his committee selection, to which he replied- “Since I joined late, my choices were limited, but the Council on Economic Advancement seemed the most enticing, as my friend had said he had done it for the past 3 years. Also, I heard that my other option of General Assembly was just a sea of people in one room, but the Council was much more intimate. I feel like this would suit me better”. We discussed many pointed regarding CEA, and talked about my past experiences on the Council, which were all pleasant.

Jake is also highly anticipating his stay at the Hershey Lodge, especially because of the extremely large amount of hustle-and-bustle that will be there. “I assume that it is going to be very busy, I have heard that it is very organized and the schedule is tightly packed. I look forward to seeing if the no-sleep rumors are true. Also, I have heard that there is this thing called the Cocoa Beanery, and being that I have never been to Hershey Lodge, I am excited to try it out. All my friends who have done Model UN in the past have talked about their ‘Hot Chocolate Slushie’”. As a first year delegate Jake has a lot to look forward to, including his first committee session. One necessary part of prepping for Model UN that Jake still needs to tackle is the Parliamentary Procedure rules. He has some experience with formal meeting order, but not the type we use, “Once I was part of a mock government that followed Robert’s Rules of Order, which is very similar. I may mess it up at first though, can’t wait to try it out.” Jake also met the dreaded CRP when he signed up for conference, originally not aware he would have to write a multi-page essay. He has learned a lot, especially from the Country Matrix, which he reviewed in its entirety out of curiosity. While writing his CRP, he benefitted from his newfound knowledge of his country South Africa, “I have learned a few things about my country of South Africa, including that it is one leading green energy countries in the world. The Country Matrix helped me write about my topics of Economic Migration and Wealth Inequality. I gained a lot of knowledge regarding these topics and am looking forward to utilizing it during conference.” Jake is now fully prepared for his first conference.