Colgate students earned three awards, including outstanding small delegation, as one of just three schools from the United States to participate in the Harvard National Model United Nations of Latin America in Peru last month.
The Peru event is just one example of the many global destinations participants in Colgate Speaking Union teams travel each year.
Members of the Debate Society trekked more than 42,000 miles for tournaments during the 2013/14 school year, including stops in the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Mexico, and France.
“We travel in order to compete. We don’t compete in order to travel,” said CSU Coordinator John Adams. “Because of all the exotic locations we go to, it looks like CSU is some kind of Club Med, but it’s all about the competition and getting out there in the world and mixing, conversing, and connecting with people from all over the world.”
At the Peru competition, Jack McKay ’17, a history and English double major from Garden City, N.Y., and Ieva Steponaviciute ’17, an international relations and economics double major from Lithuania, were both awarded honorable mentions for their committee work.
Luke Musetti ’17, a peace and conflict studies major from Damascus, Penn., who took part in the Peru event, said he is in his second year of participation in the Model UN Society.
“This experience made me consider issues I had not given much thought to before, especially since I was arguing from the standpoint of a country deeply affected by malnutrition,” Musetti said. “This society is a great way of becoming better connected to the world and becoming a global
Musetti joined Model UN as a first-year student, and he had no prior experience with public speaking or Model UN, as it wasn’t offered in his high school.
“I want to have a diplomatic post when I am older, so this seemed like a good training program and networking option,” Musetti said. “Personally, I was uncomfortable with public speaking when I first joined MUN, but the guidance of upperclassmen like Ross Brown ’14 and James Carino ’16 eventually helped me develop into a well-traveled delegate for Colgate.”
Participation in Colgate Speaking Union organizations is open to all students, regardless of previous experience. CSU teams include Debate, Model UN, Mock Trial, and the recently formed Spanish-Language Debate Society, which just returned from a competition in Miami and is headed to a tournament in Columbia this summer.
Tournament participation and travel are primarily covered by the CSU endowment and through club funding from the Colgate Student Government Association, Adams said.
“I get to know these students for their entire four years, and by the time that four years is up, they’ve been to so many places, and have had so many amazing experiences, and fostered so many conversations, they are seasoned humans,” Adams said. “They can feel the difference of their liberal arts education.”