BYU’s Model European Union team won several awards at the Model European Union competition at the University of Washington Feb. 22-23.
Students competed in a pool of 15 universities from the U.S. and Canada, but BYU students took home two of the eight available awards. Lora Anderson Cook, who advised the team, said in a press release that the six students continued BYU’s tradition of setting the standard at this competition.
Skye Herrick, an international relations major who represented the executive of Belgium, attributed the team’s success to its drive, a good plan and maybe even its membership at the number-one “stone cold sober” university in the U.S.
“Where everyone else had spent the whole night drinking, we had spent the whole night making a plan about how we were going to win it,” Herrick said.
Every participant in the competition was charged with offering a proposal for a Banking Union on the first morning of the competition. The BYU team both began and ended the debate.
“No one ever tried to do anything else,” Herrick said.
The weekend wasn’t all work, though. The team tried the local cuisine at a well-known seafood restaurant, Pike’s Place.
Matt Stone said his favorite moment from the conference was a tie between his meatloaf sandwich at Pike’s Place and the banking debate. Stone is a history major who received an honorable mention for his role as the Romanian ministry of the interior.
Stone’s favorite debate moment was when he decided to change his position during a debate in order to forge a compromise. Ten other people changed their positions to match his.
“You get in the room with these smart, motivated people, and all this adrenaline comes out,” Stone said.
Stone described how the political nature of Model European Union requires a diverse skill set from participants.
“You have to be really smart, you have to know what you’re talking about,” Stone said. “But you also have to play the game.”
Macie Bayer, a sociology major who was Romania’s minister of interior, agreed.
“The goal of compromise was a lot harder than one would originally expect,” Bayer said.
None of this came without preparation. Students read the news from European sources for 45 minutes daily to prepare for the competition and blogged their analysis at byu.meu.blogspot.com. Stone said he spent 40 hours researching for his position paper and 10 hours writing it in the month before the competition.
“It paid off because we were really prepared and we kind of cleaned up at it,” Stone said.
Romy Franks was the student adviser to the six students. She participated in Model EU in 2012, when it was a club rather than a class. Franks is now looking forward to April 2014, when she hopes to develop a Model EU program for high school students.
Franks discussed the importance of the European Union as both the third largest economy in the world and as a growing body that could provide a model for a global community.
“It is a microcosm of what we’re trying to accomplish on a global scale,” Franks said.
Other team members included Rebecca Wiseman, who represented Belgium as a Minister of Interior; Carson Monson, who represented Bulgaria as the Head of Government; and Jeff Suppes, who represented Romania as the Head of Government.
Students interested in taking the three-credit class to participate in Winter 2014 can email CSE@byu.edu.