As I enter my second semester as Head Delegate of the University of Minnesota Model UN Team, I can confidently write that the best decision I have made in my university career was running for a Model Un club leadership position. The skills I have gained and the relationships I’ve formed as a head delegate have been invaluable to my academic, professional, and social life. These are the top reasons to run for a Model UN club leadership position:
Build Your Resume
A club leadership position can significantly improve your resume, whether you’re participating in high school or collegiate level Model UN. Club leadership can be used on college applications, internship applications, or even job applications. As a club leader, the skills you gain provide many answers to essay and interview questions. Regardless of what you are applying for, the person examining your resume is looking for practical leadership experience. A leadership position in a student group can distinguish you from other applicants.
Develop Problem Solving Skills
In any leadership position, you’re bound to encounter challenges. This may be a mid-conference crisis, a dispute between club members, or a logistical puzzle. Regardless of the nature of the problem, a good leader thinks quickly, developing a range of solutions. Then, a leader must contemplate which solution is best for the team as a whole, even if this solution isn’t necessarily popular or the same answer that someone else in your position would have come to.
This type of real-world critical thinking is better for your personal growth as a leader than anything you learn in your classes.
Learn to Accept and Process Feedback
As the team leader, you are likely to make decisions that upset other team members. You are also expected to mess up occasionally. Some of your teammates will tell you when they disagree with you, and they may not say this to you in the most delicate manner. Leadership teaches you to not take criticism personally but rather for what it is; an opportunity to improve. Leadership also teaches you to hold steadfast in your decisions when you know you are right (because you will occasionally get it right), even in immense criticism.
Become a Better Delegate
Coordinating the day-to-day operations of a Model UN team, including training, logistics, travel, and budgets, make leading a committee bloc far easier in comparison. When you’re the leader of a Model UN team, you are no longer only concerned with your performance in the committee, but you are also invested in the individual successes of your teammates. As a head delegate, I not only research and strategize for my committee; I also work with other delegates on their crisis arcs, position papers, and resolution ideas in the weeks leading up to the conference. This extra preparation that I have to put in as a head delegate to help my delegates be successful makes me a more creative and more prepared delegate in my committee.
Make Your Model UN Team Better
I ran for my first collegiate leadership position as a first-year transfer student only a few weeks after the pandemic had sent my entire team home. I had been a student at the University of Minnesota for less than a semester when I ran for Simulations Director of the University of Minnesota Model UN team. When I ran, I did not believe I was going to win. Indeed there was someone more qualified than me, someone, who had been on the team longer, who could do better for the team than I could. Nevertheless, I won. In my two years of leadership, I’ve learned that, even though I know my opponents would have done amazingly in those positions, I made my Model UN team better with my unique experiences and skills.
When your Model UN Team hosts its next election, run for a position that interests you. Don’t convince yourself that someone else is more qualified than you. Instead, be assured that your experiences and perspectives will improve your team and that you are the right person for the job.