Model UN breaks school record

From Nov. 8 through 11, the Youngstown State University Model United Nations team attended the 19th Lake Erie International Model United Nations conference in Cleveland.

At Model UN conferences, students role-play as representatives from different countries and debate various issues.

YSU returned from LEIMUN with several awards, breaking a school record by placing in the most consecutive conferences.

This was the 44th consecutive conference in which the YSU Model UN team has won awards.

YSU senior Cory Okular was part of the Absent Nations Team, or the A-Team, which means that he represented several nations throughout the conference.

There are usually three students on the A-Team, but this year Okular acted alone.

“Being the only one, the challenge was how rapid-fire the day was,” Okular said.

He said he would often represent one nation, go to the A-Team room and have to leave almost immediately to represent another. “I was basically doing the job of three people,” Okular said.

Fortunately, he said, he was well prepared.

“I had a good background knowledge, and you have 10 minutes to do research before you have to go and represent,” Okular said.

Okular brought home three superior awards from the conference. This was his third year participating.

Drew Webster, president of the YSU Model UN team, said he was proud of Okular’s performance.

“I’ve never seen anyone do what he’s done,” Webster said. This is Webster’s fifth year participating.

“The YSU chapter, we pride ourselves in doing well every year,” Webster said.

The team is now preparing for the Harvard National Model United Nations conference. Webster and Todd Pasquale have organized YSU’s first scrimmage.

“A scrimmage for us is just like it sounds,” Webster said. “It’s a way for us to practice.”

Pasquale said that, by attending the conference, they have made connections with students at other schools and decided to put the scrimmage together.

“Drew and I actually got the idea when we were working on a project for class together,” Pasquale said.

They plan on inviting other schools like Mercyhurst University, Cleveland State University and Lakeside Community College to attend.

Pasquale said attending the Harvard conference is a great career-builder because it gives attendees the opportunity to make connections with others worldwide.

“Last year, we represented Ireland, and the kids from Ireland actually came up to us to pay their respects for representing their country the way we did,” Pasquale said.

The YSU scrimmage is planned for Jan. 26, while the team will attend the HNMUN conference from Feb. 14 to 17.