Model UN President- Kristine Chin '17

House: Chapin

Year: 2017

Major: Biology and Government 

Extracurricular Activities: President of Model UN, tutor for Project Coach, and HSEC for Chapin House

What’s your favorite part about Model UN (MUN)? The idea that you can sit in a room with 200 other college students and solve international issues more seriously and efficiently than the real UN could. Ok, maybe not, but it really provides an academic setting in which to learn and have fun, you have to make yourself vulnerable and have to actively make your voice heard. MUN isn't static. It's not about sitting there and talking about boring policies. It's dynamic and involves negotiations, alliances, and arguments, all of which build skills such as public speaking, leadership, application of knowledge, and incredible friendships outside of conferences and academic settings. It's not about winning; it's about learning and growing.

What’s your approach to leading the Smith Model UN team? As president, it's hard to determine how to run a MUN team. Many schools train teams to win and that's all they care about, but I prefer to encourage a more welcoming learning environment. It's not about how many times you speak at a conference or how well you write your position papers. It's about speaking more times at this conference than at your last and getting slightly better feedback on papers. It's also about having fun and building long lasting relationships with people you spend only 4 days with. 

What are your plans for Smith’s Model UN? Smith MUN is in need of some revamping. The previous leadership left us with issues that need to be immediately addressed, but the hope is that while we deal with these issues, those who are interested in joining learn about what MUN is and get involved in practices to build up skills for conferences. Hopefully, we will be able to go to a few conferences in the spring. 

How are you involved with politics and government outside of Model UN? This summer, I worked as an intern and a campaign coordinator in a grassroots campaign for the San Francisco Sugary Beverage Tax called ChooseHealthSF.  The tax is a 2 cents per-ounce tax on beverages that contained 25 calories or more per 12 fl. ozs. In other words, sodas, energy drinks, non-100% juices and such beverages. The idea is to reduce consumption while raising money for public health, education, healthy lunch programs, and recreation programs. The tax would raise $54 million annually for these programs. I worked mostly in planning and coordinating events around the city, tabling at events, organizing and mobilizing volunteers, and broadening the support base for this cause. 

What was your favorite part for working for ChooseHealthSF? I think that the most incredible part of the job was talking one on one with voters and hearing their concerns and how misinformed or uninformed they are about how sugary beverages affect health. It's not their fault. It's the lack of education and funding for education. Beverage companies target low income areas the most with advertising because they are the most susceptible to their products. This means that these are the areas where there are high Type II diabetes and obesity rates. These are also the people who are least informed and have the least healthcare coverage.

I learned so much from that experience. I learned how to organize, how to talk and relate to voters, how to be a leader, and how to dedicate myself fully to a cause. The vote for the tax is coming on November 4th, so I have my fingers crossed that it will pass. We need a 2/3 majority vote for the tax in order to win because the legislation guarantees the money gained will be funneled into those education, health, nutrition and recreational programs.

What are your plans for the future? I'm thinking of going into international law and global health policy.