Clark’s Model United Nations team spends all quarter preparing for conferences, which are simulations of actual UN meetings. The club’s 11 members meet once a week, but spend their own time preparing for each conference. They conduct research and write position papers that discuss topics from the perspective of their assigned countries. Topics include everything from human trafficking to the worldwide refugee crisis.
The club was previously a class, and MUN faculty adviser Joe Cavalli said that the transition was difficult. Despite the club’s smaller budget and less consistent attendance, they have continued to earn awards at every conference they’ve attended over the past two years.
Jemma Sager is the head delegate for Clark’s MUN team. She acts as the president of the club and runs meetings, reviews position papers and plans events.
Sager is a Running Start student and senior at Battle Ground High School who will graduate with her Associate of Arts degree in June.
She said she joined Clark’s MUN her first quarter and has stuck with it since. Sager was drawn to MUN because of its emphasis on global understanding, she said.
“Generally speaking, when we look at the news we see things from a westernized perspective, so how the U.S. views things or how our allies view things, but I think that too often we don’t see why a country might do something because of their history or because of their perspective,” Sager said.
Sager said she plans to go to law school to study international relations after her time at Clark. She thinks the skills gained in MUN, like public speaking and critical thinking, would be a good fit for this type of education.
When she’s not busy working with MUN or planning for college, Sager volunteers through her local Rotary Club and serves drinks at Black Rock Coffee Bar.
This is only Cheyanne Holliday’s second quarter on Clark’s MUN team, but she’s already earned accolades.
Holliday, a Running Start student, received an award for best position paper when the MUN team attended the North West Model United Nations conference in Portland Feb. 17-19. She represented Fiji, and the topic was the promotion of Fiji’s sustainable transportation. While her award-winning solution was biking, she’s much more proud of her original idea: hemp biofuel.
Holliday’s first draft used hemp biofuel as the solution, but she had to change it when she discovered Fiji did not support the use of hemp.
“Hemp has an amazing potential as a biofuel, but it’s not being used because most countries are waging an active war against marijuana, and hemp is also classified as marijuana,” Holliday said.
Although she felt frustrated that she had to rewrite her paper, her research on hemp biofuel motivated her to start developing her own company called Hempish. The company aims to create hemp biofuel gas stations, and also open one hemp farm and one biodiesel processor for every station opened.
Alongside her work with MUN and Hempish, Holliday also started a club called Women in Politics that was chartered Feb. 27.
Running Start student Chase Benson joined Clark’s MUN team last Fall, since then he’s tackled challenges designed for more experienced MUN participants.
Benson registered for security council for the North West Model United Nations conference, unaware it was a session for more experienced delegates. Compared to his previous 120-person conferences, the 14 person security council felt intimidating to Benson.
“Being on security council, though daunting at first, kind of forced me to be involved,” Benson said. “From an outsider’s view it may seem very scary, but if you’ve done a decent amount of research and you have an okay grasp on your country’s position, then it’s a very enjoyable experience and you feel very accomplished afterwards.”
While he’s in the MUN now, Benson plans to pursue a career in entrepreneurship and own his own business. Despite the fact that he’s still in high school, Benson has already started to work in business. Instead of working what he calls a “real” job, Benson resells shoes and coins on his website sneakercasa.com.
“It’s lucrative when there are rare things to get, but it’s very inconsistent,” Benson said.”It’s fun to do on the side; it’s very profitable at times.”
When Benson isn’t waiting on hard-to-find shoes or coins to go on sale, he likes to produce trap music under the alias Two Phonez on SoundCloud.