Sam Model United Nations Program: Uniting and Advancing Together
Jan. 19, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins
The Sam Model United Nations (SMUN) program is Sam Houston State University’s competitive international relations organization that aims to promote cooperation and globalization among current and future Bearkats as well as area youths. The program, which is also a hybrid course offered in the spring, is supported by the Political Science Department as well as the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).
“It is about collaboration and globalization,” said Dennis Lu Chung Weng, associate professor and SMUN faculty adviser. “The shared experience makes our students really want to get involved. I try to bring this experience back to our campus to promote global awareness and the opportunity for students to expand their career possibilities.”
The highly competitive course, POLS 4081 Problems in Political Science: Model United Nations, offers an Academic Community Engagement (ACE) component in which students assist with the annual Houston Area Model United Nations (HAMUN) at the University of Houston. The conference features over a thousand high school students from throughout the country, and some from Mexico.
“Our students serve as judges,” Weng said. “They call for votes, decide which countries can talk and serve as moderators, staff members and chairpeople.”
The conference occurs every February and helps boost the reputation of SHSU. Weng has also made an effort to establish programs closer to home at institutions such as Huntsville ISD and other neighboring high schools.
“We hope that our local high schools can also have this model U.N. exposure,” Weng said. “Hopefully, through the ACE program, we can reach back out to the high schools and see if there are any local community sponsors to support and bring in money for a possible program.”
Each year, the program accepts 12 participants, including four students from Lone Star Community College’s program, which Weng says adds another layer of intrigue to SHSU for potential transfer students.
The program accepts 12 participants each year. This year, four of the members are transfer students who previously attended Lone Star Community College and participated in their Model U.N. program. Weng sees this as another layer of intrigue for potential future transfer students.
“This is not just about helping the local community, but also a great opportunity for recruiting community college students and future applicants,” Weng said. “Lone Star has a strong Model U.N. team, so Sam is first on their mind when choosing a university.”
At the start of the fall semester, eligible SHSU student are emailed an application for the Model U.N. program. This includes any CHSS major or minor who meets the program's minimum GPA requirement. After the students are selected, they spend the fall semester attending introductory meetings and planning for the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference in New York City, where thousands of college students from numerous universities across the world compete.
During the fall semester, each participating school will discover which country they will represent as well as which committees they will be involved in. SHSU’s team will represent the Philippines at the 2024 event in April. The participating students stay in the same hotel and hear lectures from real diplomats and policymakers while engaging in spirited debates. They will then attempt to form alliances and create resolutions.
“It’s fun for the college-aged students because they start learning how to do business,” Weng said. “The program is very educational and teaches students how to interact with a diverse group of people. All of these skillsets can be applied to any field.”
The HAMUN event will take place at the University of Houston Feb. 1-2. The NMUN event will take place in New York City April 1-5. For more information on the program, visit the Sam Model United Nations webpage.
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