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A Model for Learning

12/10/15
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Through the EGLI’s Model UN program, noted one undergraduate, “we’re also forming relationships with [the high school students] and teaching them what it’s like to be a student at BC.”

By Rosanne Pellegrini | Chronicle Staff

Published: Dec. 10, 2015

A group of local high school students left their classroom behind last Friday for first-hand experience in the high-stakes realm of global politics and diplomacy.

As participants in a Model United Nations, facilitated by undergraduate leaders of the Eagle Global Leadership Initiative (EGLI), they gained further understanding of and appreciation for the role of the inter-governmental organization.

A new community outreach branch of Boston College Model United Nations (EagleMUNC), EGLI – which helps area schools both establish and develop Model UN programs – offers an interactive educational experience that promotes global awareness, public speaking and writing skills, and a sense of community. Inaugural partners this year are Another Course to College (Brighton) and Boston Trinity Academy (Hyde Park).

“Model UN has the ability to teach valuable life skills,” said EGLI Director Kevin Fritz ’16. “We send our experienced Model UN members [to serve] as consultants to the high schools and mentors for the students.”

Because Model UN is best taught through experiential learning, Fritz said, the BC Day event – held Dec. 4 at Barat House on Newton Campus – helped the 17 high school participants learn more about Model UN, hone debate skills and experience their first Model UN conference.

Participant response to the initiative, he added, has been positive. “Thanks to the hard work of EGLI volunteers and the wonderful faculty advisors at our partner schools, both Model UN teams have double-digit memberships that have progressed significantly. We hope BC Day marks a hallmark event in their appreciation of Model UN.”

“It was fun debating and learning about other countries,” said Another Course to College student Denisha Bullock. Her ACC classmate Jonathan Peralta also enjoyed the Model UN event: “Not only did it advance my diction, it gave me insight on how the UN really works.”

Fritz said the program is enriching for the BC volunteers, whose leaders also include seniors Nicole Zunick and Steven Vangeli, and junior Lauren Mushro. Other team members are senior Sean Connelly, junior Steven Gingras, sophomores Meredith Thompson, Kelsey Connors, Yaa Obeng and Emma Allen, and freshman Andres Garcia. Several other undergraduates took part in the campus event as BC volunteers.

“I volunteer at Boston Trinity Academy and I find that the students, even the middle school students, ask me things about college life, such as the college application process,” said Obeng. “It’s not just teaching them about Model UN but we’re also forming relationships with them and teaching them what it’s like to be a student at BC.”  

“Personally, the idea behind EGLI is one I had been kicking around for a while, and it means the world to me,” said Fritz. “I’ve never before been able to found an organization that has the power to make a true difference in the lives of others, and I’ve enjoyed every minute I put into the program to ensure that it is not only a success this year, but in the future.”