According to the website, Best Delegate for Model United Nations, Seton Hall University’s United Nations Association (SHUNA) has recently ranked 12th in the nation ahead of Columbia, Yale and Princeton for their Model United Nations team.
According to Courtney Smith, the faculty advisor for SHUNA, this is the highest that the team has been ranked since it was founded in 1999.
Entering the academic school year, the team was striving to enter the top 20 in the country. They exceeded these expectations by coming in 12th, according to team president Stephen Hoffman, a junior political science and history double major.
SHUNA is a collegiate-level competitive Model United Nations team sponsored by the university, according to the Seton Hall website.
SHUNA participates in several conferences, national and international, throughout the year. This year the team will be attending a total of eight because of their ranking, according to team secretary Julia Nicolls, a sophomore diplomacy and economics major.
Many factors contributed to the historical ranking, but overall it was student driven, according to Smith.
“The leadership of SHUNA and the membership deserves all of the credit for their success,” Smith said. “The students design and implement their own training, pick the conferences that they attend, plan their own travel and mentor each other on the best strategies for winning both individual and team awards.”
Hoffman and Nicolls said they believe the success is partly attributed to the ongoing training and practice of the team as well as other factors.
“Training and practice certainly led to this point, but the work that the executive board has put in has been remarkable,” Hoffman said. “They have been so diligent in their efforts and we have really worked as a coordinated and cohesive unit throughout the course of the semester.”
The team is a mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen who have shown a lot of growth from the beginning, according to Nicolls.
“I really saw that growth with all of our freshmen this year which put us at this point,” Nicolls said. “We also had a lot of great upperclassmen who have been with the club and continue to grow. Each of us has room to improve and is always trying to be a better delegate, which makes us work hard and get to the point we did.”
Many things set SHUNA apart from other Model UN competitive teams. She said to Smith she believes the team’s strategic choices are what sets them above the rest.
Smith explained that the team is particular about what conferences they choose to attend. The team also has excellent recruitment and training skills.
Hoffman believes what sets the team apart from the rest is their depth. According to Hoffman, SHUNA had 14 members win individual awards and three won multiple awards as compared to other schools that only have a few main members win individual awards. This was accredited to the endless training regimen that these individuals craft and undergo.
Nicolls said that she believes that SHUNA is different because of their “underdog” position. Nicolls explained that SHUNA is not from an Ivy League school so there is a constant hard-working mentality that goes into taking on challenges.
“A lot of students on the team got into schools like George Washington, NYU, American and Georgetown but couldn’t afford it,” Nicolls said. “To be ranked above some of those schools validates their success and hard work at this school. Ultimately, I could not be more proud; this means so much to everyone here and is going to push us to keep working hard.”
Elizabeth Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.