When was the UN Club created?
Micheal Ziegler: It was created in 1993 as an initiative of both students and Dr. Mensah, a political science faculty advisor. The original idea was to create a class, which had to start out as a club first to show the university that there was interest among the students to do this. But it is more beneficial for it to be a club because a class can ruin an experience, as you may get graded on giving a certain number of speeches.
What kind of discussions could club members expect to participate in?
MZ: The majority of our discussions revolve around UN, how it operates and what it does, and how to engage in National Model UN, or NMUN, which has existed since 1927. The purpose of discussing this is so that we can eventually have our members go to a conference in New York. And we always go to at least one international conference every year. Last year we went to Japan, next year it will be China, this year it is Banff, Canada — which for a lot of people may not sound international, but for the rest of the world it is.
Can you describe the NMUN simulation and other club activities?
Andrew Marriott: With NMUN, in a very general sense, you are placed in a committee that simulates the actual committee of UN. You are assigned a country and given a partner, and together you research the position of that country in the committee and what it stands for.
MZ: There is also fundraising that we are involved in. We do a bottle drive every year, and a gala with a silent auction. There is a lot that the club members can get out of this.
What are the expectations for members of the club?
AM: Last year we amended the club constitution so that it is very clear what you have to do in order to be able to travel with the club. This is because it is a very limited opportunity for a small number of people, since we have financial constraints regarding what we can do.
We cannot take the entire club to New York every year, as much as we might want to, so we always try to choose those who are the most engaged throughout the year, fundraise the most, and attend the simulations and extracurricular events.
MZ: However, if you do not achieve membership, you can still be in the club.
How does one achieve membership in the club?
AM: Membership can be achieved if you attend more than 50 per cent of the meetings.
MZ: There are two kinds of members: members who can vote and members who can go on trips. There are also those who can still be active with the club but are not members. If you have not been there for more than 50 per cent of the meetings, you may not necessarily have the knowledge required to know what is best for the club when we are voting. Also, if you have not been there for 75 per cent of the meetings, then you have missed out on a lot of information and would not have the knowledge necessary to go to an international conference.
AM: Every year we also go to a conference that is in Alberta. Last year it was at Concordia, this year it is in Calgary, and next year it will be at MacEwan University. Anyone who is interested can go on this trip.
Edited for length and clarity.