Middle school students debate during Model UN event | SteamboatToday.com

Middle school students debate during Model UN event

Steamboat Pilot & Today

— Whether to build a protective women's shelter in Mauritania or fund the purchase of thousands of wells for Ethiopia were among the issues debated this week by middle school students from across the region during a model United Nations event.

About 170 students from across Northwest Colorado met Wednesday and Thursday at Colorado Mountain College to put the final touches on their designated country's resolution and consider the merits of others during an event organized by the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services and run by Steamboat Springs High School student ambassadors.

"You learn so much about the country that is yours, and then you come here and learn more," said Lucy Wilson, an SSHS freshman who served as a student ambassador to the event.

Wilson has participated as a middle school delegate to the model UN the past two years and, along with about 30 other high school students, returned this year to help run the event.

Wilson and classmate Miri Frasier said they remember being speakers in the event's general assembly last year, where all members of the model UN consider the top resolutions.

Middle school delegates have been studying their designated countries in groups of five to seven since November, and each group has crafted a resolution that would help their country.

Delegates from Mauritania hoped the UN would create a committee tasked with building a women’s shelter to protect women from force-feeding and other abuse, while delegates from Ethiopia wanted the UN to fund the purchase of thousands of wells to extract drinking water for the country.

"It's the first time for a lot of these students to visit a lot of the world issues out there," said Julie Dalke, professional development and technology integration coordinator for NW BOCES, which organizes the event. "It's so fun to see them think outside of the box."

Students from Steamboat Springs, Craig, South Routt, Walden, Granby, Fort Collins, Aspen and Eagle/Vail school districts participated in the two-day event.

Students debated their resolutions in small groups Wednesday, and the top eight resolutions were then considered in general assembly with all students Thursday morning.

The event teaches students good public speaking skills and provides a foundation for world relations, according to student ambassadors.

"Knowing about the United Nations and how it works is super helpful (in high school classes). This gives you a basic understanding," said Mea Fisher, an SSHS junior acting as an ambassador for the event.

Fisher and SSHS freshman Althea Ort remember the event being a culmination of a lot of work.

"It's really nice to see all your hard work pay off," Ort said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow