Freshman Macee Carpenter had never traveled beyond Utah before enrolling at The College of Idaho this past fall.
She ventured a little further in late March, traveling to New York City as part of the College’s Model United Nations (MUN) team.
And it was a team that earned Outstanding Delegation honors for the entire event, which included 2,500 students from 200 colleges and universities that came from six continents. Carpenter also teamed with senior Sara Shockley to earn an award for the best position paper on climate change response.
“I had never even heard of the Model UN before coming here,” said Carpenter, a double-major in Business Administration and Political Economy who attended high school in Notus, Idaho. “It was honestly a life-changing experience.”
The College’s team deliberated in committees on a range of international topics including nuclear disarmament, sustainable energy, disaster relief, preventing extremism, and protecting marine life from microplastics. At a special session held at the United Nations General Assembly Hall, Head Delegate Kaytlyn Marcotte, a senior majoring in international political economy, delivered a speech on “Sustainable Development Goal – Access to Water for All.” Along with those of other head delegates representing their schools, Marcotte’s speech was broadcast live on UN-TV and is now archived at the United Nations.
Each team was given a country to represent. The College of Idaho team represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a small chain of islands off the northern coast of South America.
“You have to take yourself out of a standpoint of being an American and put yourself into a developing country’s standpoint,” Marcotte said. “You have to be able to learn what their goals are, policy-wise.”
Marcotte said award-winners are usually aware before arriving at the closing ceremonies in the main UN chambers. But, due to a change in schedules, the winners were announced without being disclosed beforehand, which heightened the drama.
“We knew that Sara and Macee had won an outstanding position paper for their committee because those are announced in committee,” Marcotte explained about the award announcements.
“They called Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (as the outstanding delegation) and all I can remember is Don (Shaw) and Josh (Andersen) screaming and, as the head delegate, I was the one who got to go up and accept the award. It was a pretty incredible moment.”
It was Marcotte’s second trip to the Model UN with political economy professor Rob Dayley, one of only four delegates who had attended the Model UN before. Gavin McCaw, Audrey Worrell and Alex Sproule-Fendel were the other three returners. Shockley, Carpenter, Shaw, Andersen, Souhaila Abourchid, Jose Bayuga, Dharma Koffer and Mahaday Sulong were the eight first-time attendees.
Carpenter nearly missed out on the entire process. A friend talked her into enrolling into the Model UN class during the fall semester, which serves as an introduction to the Model UN learning program. She said, initially, she didn’t even apply to be on the team but a spot opened up and Dayley asked her to join.
“It went from me deciding last minute to take a class to transforming into being part of an Outstanding Delegation and winning a position paper award,” Carpenter said. “It was well worth it in the end.”