This year, HHS will be welcoming its first Model United Nations (MUN) club, headed by freshman Parth Patel and supervised by World History teacher Anne Sharkey.
Patel, who says that it was his goal to start a club during his first year of high school, decided after doing extensive research that a MUN club would be the ideal club for him to found.
The purpose of the club is for every member to choose a country and educate themselves with facts about that country such as governmental information and the financial state of the country. This information is important as members then must debate about current issues taking place in the world.
The club is also divided into subgroups with elected leaders like in student council.
“We hold elections to vote for leaders of each council, and then divide into groups from there based on interests,” says Patel.
After getting permission from Chris Duncan, the activities director, Patel finished all of the paperwork necessary and began work on the tough part of the club-founding process; recruiting students. Word was spread about the club via posters, announcements, and word of mouth.
One incentive for students to join the club is the enticing idea that the club has little to no cost.
“As of now, there’s no fee to join,” said Patel. “We may have to pay a small fee to enter a conference event at the end of the year, but the future isn’t set in stone.”
The ever-looming idea of impressing colleges is there too. Many colleges with Model UN clubs, such as the University of Chicago, express interest in high school club members, and some schools even offer scholarship money for participants who perform well in competitions.
“College competitions are more competitive, and meetings and conferences can be four days long. Colleges also have bigger facilities and more funding, but we’re going to try and get as close as possible to these colleges and the real UN as we can,” said Patel.
College MUN was also a reason Sharkey credited for wanting to become supervisor of the club.
“A lot of my friends in college were members of the Model UN club, and even though I wasn’t, I thought that it would be interesting,” said Sharkey. “The participating in the high school club is a great stepping stone for college. You get to learn debate skills and also put your opinion into perspective.”
Since Huntley’s MUN is relatively new, the club will not be participating in many competitions although things may change in the future since other schools in the area, such as Elgin High School and Antioch High School, have MUN clubs and competitions could be arranged. As of now, however, the club is still focusing on getting up on its feet.
“There weren’t many people at the first meeting, but it was Friday of Homecoming weekend so I wasn’t that surprised,” said Patel. “I have heard that more people are interested in joining, though, which is encouraging.”
The club plans on having regular meetings lasting until about 3:45 on Fridays so as not to conflict with any other after school activities, and because it is paced throughout the year, the flexible schedule allows for busy students to still participate.
“We’re still accepting members,” says Patel. “And hopefully more people will join so we can get involved in some serious competitions.”
For more information on the club, students should contact Anne Sharkey at firstname.lastname@example.org.