Model United Nations unable to attend USC conference


Taylor Love

Sarah Stephan (left) and Hayley O’Leary (right) review the budget for Model United Nations preceeding an ASCLUG meeting

Emily Henbest, Reporter

California Lutheran University’s Model United Nations team is unable to attend University of Southern California’s annual TrojanMUN conference due to a lack of funding provided by the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government Senate.

Giovanna Postma, a sophomore majoring in global studies with a minor in French and honors, was recently elected this year’s president after being a club member during the 2021-2022 school year.

“TrojanMUN, which is Model UN competing at USC, is something we usually do every single year,” Postma said.

According to the TrojanMUN website, the conference hosts over 400 students from across the nation as they debate the world’s most pressing issues and work to find innovative solutions.

Model UN provides political science students, or those aspiring to be lifelong global leaders, the opportunity to learn how to solve real world problems. How the Model UN club differs from the class, however, is the opportunity to practice these skills at conferences which become experiences for them to test and strengthen their knowledge.

Senior adjunct in the Political Science department Richard Neve has been the faculty advisor and course instructor of the Model UN class and club for the past five years.

“It’s a really cool program to sort of introduce students to what the United Nations does and why it’s important. But also, if you were thinking about becoming a diplomat or going into foreign service, these are the kinds of situations that you’d be in where you’re negotiating with people,” Neve said. “When you’re at odds and you’re finding solutions to complex problems–this gives you a good taste.”

This lack of funding follows the recent change in senate funding guidelines that were made in order to more fairly allocate funds to clubs on campus. In order for Model UN members to attend this year’s TrojanMUN conference, the funds would have needed to come out of members’ pockets. A recent change in guidelines for funding from ASCLUG states that they no longer fund registration fees.

“We do a bit of fundraising, which we can. Then the senate would provide pretty much the majority, or almost all of the funding for the conference travel, including the registration fees for the conferences, which are usually about $100 for the team, and then about $100 per student,” Neve said. “The club didn’t have any money this year, since we don’t have any funds left over from last year. So there wasn’t a way that we could get the money to pay the conference fees.”

Senior Zaria Opara is the ASCLUG senate director. As senate director, Opara oversees the senate board; she gives senators advice on how they should make decisions, without telling them the decision they should make.

“In recent years, we had issues with clubs being unfairly allocated. Some clubs would get thousands of dollars to basically play games all day, while other clubs weren’t being allocated money for little things they needed for day to day meetings. We set those guidelines in place to try to reduce that unfairness, and make sure that people still have an equal opportunity and equal access to funds,” Opara said.

TrojanMUN is one of two conferences Model UN usually attends. The other conference is hosted at Harvard University during the spring semester. However, after Model UN members attended a conference hosted in the United Nations building in New York City last year, they hope to return in April 2023.

“It was upsetting, to say the least, that we didn’t get the funding for USC when it’s so close by. So immediately that put us in a position like okay, let’s move past it. Because we were wondering, can we get the funding for New York?” Postma said.

Cal Lutheran’s Model UN team is planning on hosting fundraising events before the end of the semester in anticipation of the New York City conference they hope to attend.

“The funding that has already been allocated for Trojan that we’re not going to use for it, we’re going to reallocate for a trip to New York in the spring. So, hopefully we step up our fundraising and explore all of our options to try and find a source of money so that we can cover the registration fees, because the fees are actually larger for New York than they are for Trojan,” Neve said.

At the time of this article’s publication, no fundraising events for the Model UN have been confirmed.


Editors Note: An earlier version of this article was titled ‘Model United Nations unable to attend conference due to lack of funding’. As of Oct. 11, 2022 at 7:49 p.m., the title has been changed in order to more accurately reflect the nature of the situation. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.