2020 Plans for Model UN and SLC


By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

Now that the school year has officially taken off, clubs and activities are starting to begin. Two of them being Model UN and SLC. Both the clubs are sponsored by Neil Koreman, an AP Physics teacher at Niles West, who has already started planning for their future meetings. Koreman has been sponsoring Model UN for the past five years and is also the sponsor of the chess and camping club.

Model UN is a club that simulates the real United Nations Conferences. Participants will each be assigned either a person, committee, or country that favors a specific cause. Each conference has a different theme that is either a current or historical issue, such as a national pandemic, a meeting on the 17 sustainable development goals, the Syrian Refugee crisis, or even something fictional like making the rules to a quidditch rulebook. The goal is to form policies or propose resolutions that the country or character you have been assigned to will agree on. Based on which committee you are in, you could be in a room with more than 100 students or less than 50.

But this year it will be a little different for members. Due to COVID-19 they will not be attending any in-person conferences but instead, participating in virtual ones. Model UN members are still unsure about how these conferences will unfold but are trying to take part in every single conference accessible. So far, they will be attending a conference hosted by Carl Sandburg High School and another by Washington University in Saint Louis.

According to senior Olivia Wendel, a member of the club since her sophomore year, Model UN has allowed her to access numerous opportunities. “I really enjoy being a part of it, and I definitely feel like it has helped me grow my speech and debate skills,” Wendel said. “I’ve had such a great time traveling to conferences with my friends, and although that can’t happen this year, it’s still an amazing opportunity to grow your speaking skills and ability to work with others.”

As for the SLC, or Student Leadership Congress, its debut started over the summer during the peak of COVID-19. In this club, students will be able to meet and discuss possible solutions to problems that are occurring in their community. Over the summer, students met over zoom and organized plans to solve current problems in their communities. With Model UN aiding SLC in formulation proposals and pushing their project forward, SLC divided themselves into four groups for each of the projects that were set.

A digest of the projects includes planting a garden to tackle food insecurities, making masks to put on stuffed animals for pediatric patients, reallocate money to support mental health, and support small local businesses that may be struggling during the pandemic. At SLC they have the opportunity to collaborate with other West students, administrators, and government officials to make a greater change in their community.

One of the leaders of the SLC, senior Kunwar Singh, explained the challenges and role he played with group members to overcome them. “There are hardships, however, with determination, the groups have gotten through a lot and will continue on moving forward. Richard Chen, Mr. Koreman, and I serve as the leaders or guides, where we help out the groups with whatever needs they have,” Singh said. “If you share the same vision as us, ‘to create systemic change together’, then you are more than welcome to join.”

Joining Model UN and SLC is a great opportunity for anyone who is interested in going into politics and world affairs. Model UN teaches students how to build a consensus, how to lead, how to make change happen, and overall, train students on how to analyze, plan, and act on worldwide problems. “I’m open to that conversation, [of new projects],” said Koreman. “It’s going to be a heavy lift, but if it’s your driving passion then I think it’s time for students to have the opportunity to see how that happens and to make it happen. Hopefully, we’re giving the kids the tools to find their passion and serve their community.”

Both clubs meet on Tuesdays at 3:30 pm. If you are looking to join Model UN and/or SLC, contact Mr. Koreman or club leaders Chen, Walli Baig, and Singh.