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CU’s Model United Nations Club Changed My Life

Easily the most intimidating prospect of my first semester at CU was finding a “group.” In high school, I spent nearly all of my time with my debate teammates. From loitering in the hallways to just about every single Saturday of the school year, approximately all of my time belonged to them. We are still friends, but the exciting visage of my senior year faded into an all-consuming dread the moment that I realized I would be needing new people to eat lunch with. 

I had no idea where to start. For the first few weeks of the semester, I waited for somebody to approach me, for friends to arrive at my door, all while carrying myself across campus with a ridiculously unapproachable affect. I had expected myself to just find a “group” but did not present myself in a way worth being found. I was the loneliest I had ever been and still avoided everyone around. It was when my eyes were trained to the sidewalk, dodging eye contact with strangers, that I first saw the chalk art that might have changed my life: an advertisement for CU’s Model United Nations Club. Being myself, I ignored it.

Globe Map Country Borders
Photo by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Later that week, one of my few remaining friends from high school expressed interest in joining a club together. I shrugged and decided to play along, internally already laying out excuses to quit halfway through the semester. It was a sunny but sweaty afternoon when she dragged me to a meeting for said club and as we sat in the field outside Sewall listening to the President of the club talk out of the laptop speaker, it hit me that we may have struck gold. MUN managed to have every quality that I once complained about the lack of during my high school debate days. It was competitive, but not to a fault. There was cooperation, but not without rewarding individual effort. 

CU MUN is a club that brings in students from all backgrounds and fields of study to simulate proceedings of the United Nations. Essentially, we roleplay as diplomatic officials from an array of nations, councils, and even time periods to reach agreements. From the UNSC (United Nations Security Council) to historically accurate crisis committees, MUN covers a broad range of international relations topics. The team travels across the country to attend conferences, and CU MUN also hosts an annual HSMUN conference here on campus (or online in a socially distanced world) where high schoolers from across the state are invited to compete on behalf of their school. 


Admittedly, I am not the best at MUN. I am still learning parliamentary procedure and strategy, and old habits die hard (I speak too quickly and too aggressively, as we are taught on the debate team). Regardless, there has never been a moment where I feel unwelcome with CU MUN. I enjoy every second I spend with them. I have met incredible people, people who are now my best friends. COVID notwithstanding, it has been an amazing year.

CU MUN is always looking for new members and I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it is to be a part of this group. If you are interested at all, please reach out and get involved!

Sydney McKenzie

CU Boulder '24

Sydney is a second year student studying political science. She loves coffee, but not even half as much as she loves to debate with friends.
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