Worcester State students, joined by students from Brandeis, Boston University, Tufts, and Northeastern, served as conference chairs at a climate summit conducted by the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) on Saturday, Feb. 27. High school and middle school students from around the commonwealth discussed problems and solutions related to two of the United Nations’ 17 goals for sustainable development: “Zero Hunger” and “Responsible Consumption and Production.”
Vincent Pellegrino ’23, a visual and performing arts and history major, says, “It was great seeing how passionate all those young people were about protecting our future. It definitely gave me hope that the younger generation may very well be the ones that champion the protection of the Earth and other important issues.”
This is the third year Worcester State has participated in Model UN. Although this year’s conference was digital due to the pandemic, in previous years, the WSU campus came alive on the last Saturdays in February and March with students from around the state.
This year, the two subjects were subdivided into areas such as recycling and reuse, food waste and food loss. The conference was bookended by opening and closing ceremonies that celebrated diversity and participation by schools from around the world.
Student Trustee Anna Johnson ’22 says, “For the past three years, my participation in Model United Nations has been a fantastic experience. It has allowed me to be more aware of what is going on in the world and around me. Through my chairing position, I have learned a lot about the goals and mission of the United Nations. I admire the time and dedication they put into every conference.”
Founded over 60 years ago, UNAGB is committed to building understanding of, and support for, the work of the U.N. and its agencies. Dedicated to building a grassroots network of global citizens, the conference creates dialogue aimed at innovative global educational programs in the community and classrooms in the Greater Boston area. Alex Bostian, Lynn Arsenault, and Margo Bailey of UNAGB serve as project directors.
Karen Shalev, Presidential Student Ambassador and the cofounder of WSU Chabad relates that, “Chairing Model UN was an amazing experience. The incredible team at UNAGB ensured the chairs and participants were supported the entire conference. My fellow chairs and I quickly developed an efficient and trusting working relationship thanks to effective communication. This event allowed me to strengthen my Zoom and event management skills in a fast-paced environment while being inspired by the students who participated. It was also a great opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone and try something I have never done before. I very much look forward to my next Model UN event with UNAGB.”
A veteran of the Model UN experience, Johnson saw no downside to the pandemic model: “I have enjoyed working and practicing in Model United Nations especially this year when the conference transitioned to an online setting. At first, I was skeptical of how effective it would be, but it was better than I expected. The conference was still as engaging online as it has been in person. I can say working with Model United Nation is truly amazing both in-person and virtual.”
The second conference this year, on the subject of Sustainability Goals, will take place on Saturday, March 20. For more information, contact Assistant Professor Anthony Dell’Aera, Ph.D., at email@example.com .
Written by Mark Wagner, Ph.D.