Niles Model UN Club earns Outstanding Small Delegation Award at MSU

Published 9:40 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

NILES — From a maple syrup theft to human rights issues, the Niles Model UN Club took on a host of challenges during their most recent conference this weekend at Michigan State University.

Their efforts earned them the Outstanding Small Delegation Award, which recognized students for the way “the small but mighty team” presented themselves during the conference. 

The Niles Model UN Club is a mix of seven Niles High School and Niles New Tech students. The team is advised by Angie Lundberg, a parent volunteer and Nicholas Hawley, a Niles New Tech teacher. 

Throughout the conference, students were assigned a country and given a problem to solve, some fictional and some current issues. No matter what problem they were assigned, students had to best represent the view of their country in the committee. Niles students were among more than 40 teams that took part in the event. This year marked the 19th year of the Model UN’s conference but was the high school’s team first time competing in the event.

Lorrie Corbit, a ninth-grader at Niles New Tech, was tasked with trying to come up with a solution for a syrup heist that occurred in 2012.

“We had to figure out how to get it back and work with the farmers,” Corbit said.

Stuart Lundberg, a ninth-grader at Niles High School, served on the U.N. Women Committee and was seeking to find representation for rural women.

“I passed one of two of my resolutions,” Lundberg said. “So that was pretty good.”

Coming up with a directive or resolution to solve a problem takes commitment on the student’s part.

“You research and you research it a lot,” Corbit said. 

Trey Knight, an 11th grade Niles High School student, echoed this sentiment.

“A lot more goes into it than just showing up,” Knight said. “You have to do your research and know what the political views are. It’s more about working with the people around you than competing.”

Several of the students had been part of the Model UN when they were middle schoolers at Eastside Connections. It was an experience that the students said they wanted to bring to the high school. The youth credited Niles Community School Superintendent Dan Applegate and Niles High School Principal Molly Brawley for helping them to get the club started at the high school.

For the students, the first-time conference for the new club was a success and not just because of the award.

“We had a middle school team the last few years and coming to this conference was just a huge step up,” said Dakota Schneider a ninth-grader at Niles New Tech. “It was really challenging, but also really fun.” 

Angie Lundberg said they also had the community to thank for their support, including Niles Service League, the Niles Elks, Psi Iota Xi and Milano’s Pizza. The local businesses helped to fund travel and meal costs for the youth.

As an advisor, Hawley said he sees students take a lot away from the experience.

“For the kids, I think the biggest thing is being able to work collaboratively and think critically about real-world issues,” Hawley said.

Many of the students involved have an interest in global issues, and Hawley said he believes the club gives them a way to build on this passion and stay engaged with current events. 

In addition to collaborating to try and solve world problems, Niles Model UN students also hope to better their Niles community. This spring, the students will discuss a service project to work on and execute.