Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Club Feature: Model UN

Model UN gives students important life skills
Courtesy of Taeyeon Kim – Model UN is made up of students with a variety of majors.

UW Oshkosh’s Model United Nations (UN) provides international studies and political science students an opportunity to become a member of a nationally renowned and awarded academic group centered on international relations.

Meg Traska, who became president of the academic team after three years of membership, she said that the team helps to develop important skills through the activities that they engage in.

“The objective is that students learn through the team by enhancing public speaking teamwork and improving writing,” Traska said. “You’re looking at draft resolutions in conference, debating topics and learning a lot about foreign policy and different nations’ perspectives on global issues.”

Despite being a psychology major, Traska is still an active leader in the team. She said that there’s no major requirement for its members, but it focuses on an interest in international topics.

“Most of the team are political science or international studies majors,” she said. “It’s really anyone who’s interested in foreign policy, foreign negotiations and global news … it doesnt need to relate to your major.”

Due to the success of the team, Traska said that they have opportunities to participate in conferences abroad.

“A big highlight is that since we have done well, a group of us is going to Germany to participate in a conference over Thanksgiving break,” she said. “It shows how strong our team is and how the school supports us as an academic team.”

Traska said that she encourages interested students to investigate the team as the descriptions don’t do it justice.

“The best thing is to come to a meeting to see what we do and what we are learning,” she said. “It’s hard to talk about what we do without experiencing it.”

Tracy Slagter is the team’s adviser and said that few opportunities on campus prepare students and provide them practice skills like Model UN.

“Model UN prepares students in a way that few other activities on campus can,” she said. “It demands excellent research skills, you can articulate research, collaborative writing and a massive emphasis on teamwork and leadership. It fulfills the essential learning outcomes we want for all of our students and it helps them improve really quickly.”

Slagter said that over her time as an adviser, she’s heard testimony from alumni of the club that it’s served to prepare them for their future.

“It has helped a lot of students. I’ve heard from a lot of students that it helps them to secure jobs, to interview better and to provide evidence of what they learned in college,” she said.

Previous members of the club, Brian Rettmann and his wife Marialyce Mutchler were in Tanzania working with the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Research. Rettman won the distinguished alumni award in 2018.

Slagter said that the team differs from other extracurriculars on campus by forcing members to contribute and advance both themselves and the club. It offers a tight- knit group willing to support them in and outside of UWO.

“Model UN isn’t a club – it’s an academic team,” she said. “It is an experience unlike every other experience on campus – you can’t hope to succeed without contributing. The more you put into it the more you get out of it. Once you make a commitment to the team, the team makes a commitment to you. You build a network of people both here, and who have already graduated to support you,” Slagter said.

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