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Notre Dame hosts high school Model UN conference

| Monday, February 6, 2017

More than 170 students from nine Midwestern high schools traveled to campus this weekend to participate in the Notre Dame Model U.N.’s (NDMUN) inaugural high-school conference.

“It’s been really a dream of the club for, really, as long as the club has been around,” senior secretary-general Zachary Mastrovich said. “September of 2015 was really when we decided to make that dream become reality.

“At that point, we were looking for venues, started talking to all the legal offices, spoke to some website and registration programmers and did everything we could to prepare — we gathered about 40 Notre Dame students to help out, trained them if they needed it.”

High school student committees were allowed to sign up according to three levels of difficulty, depending on their experience: beginner, intermediate or advanced.

“We are a beginner conference, but we knew some of the schools we were inviting had some really advanced delegates, so we wanted to make sure we had committees right for them,” Mastrovich said. “So we broke down our committees into three levels … with the advanced committees being crisis-based.”

The advanced committees were constantly in contact with a “crisis committee,” who would constantly change the scenario to test the students.

“The crisis committee will say, ‘A bomb is about to go off in a major city,’ and so you would go back to the crisis committee with your plan and they would say ‘OK, you did this, but here’s what’s going on now,’ and it’s a continually changing process. So we had two committees like that the crisis staff focused on.”

The beginner and intermediate committees were more focused on the delegates forming resolutions and groups, although Mastrovich said that was still a part of the advanced committee’s challenge.  

Mastrovich said the NDMUN conference was a success and the club was already planning on meeting next week to plan next year’s.

“It was an incredible experience,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be the secretary general and watch everything come to life. We met there a couple hours early to make sure everything was set up right and schools started arriving and it was like, ‘Wow, this is a real thing, it’s actually happening.’ It was cool. I found it very rewarding.”

As part of the planning process for next year, Mastrovich said the club would like to invite more schools to make the conference more diverse than it was this year, which had schools from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

“We’re always looking for more help,” he said. “We want to continually grow this conference so if anyone has any experience they can reach out. Kylie [Ruscheinski] is running it next year. If anyone wants to get involved, please reach out and we’ll help get you involved.”

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley is one of the Associate News Editors for The Observer. A junior majoring in English and the Program of Liberal Studies, she hails from Flushing, MI and lives in Flaherty Hall.

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