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United Nations Class Journey Beyond the Classroom

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Last month, the United Nations Policies and Practices class ventured out to New York City to tour the UN in preparation for their annual Harvard National Model United Nation Conference (HNMUN) this February in Boston. The tour included a visit to the Security Council and General Assembly, where students were able to appreciate and understand the role the UN plays outside of the classroom. 

Dr. Robert Surbrug, Director of the Honors Program and Associate Professor of History, expressed why he felt this experiential learning opportunity was so important:

"One of the great privileges of teaching at Bay Path is being able to participate in off-campus active learning experiences with our students. The Model UN is a great example of this. Each year our Model UN class visits the real United Nations in NYC and participates in a guided tour that visits all of the United Nation's major committee chambers such as the Security Council and the General Assembly. It is always exciting when students learn upon passing through security and entering the UN grounds that they are no longer in the United States but on international territory. The trip is an exciting way for students to experience the real UN and learn about its history and important work around the world." 

The immersive event not only prepares students for the conference, but provides them with a bigger picture of how they can stay informed about the world around them.

“I gained a lot from this experience,” forensic science major and honors program student Lizzi Graves ’18 said. “Our class has many different backgrounds considering we aren’t all similar in age or studying the same major. This trip impacted how we interact with each other in and outside of the classroom, gave us a chance to bond, and provided us the opportunity to apply what we were learning in class to our own lives.”

In this honors course, students learn about the history and structure of the UN and its role in the world today. At the end of October, the class was assigned a nation to represent at the HNMUN conference, a four-day event attended annually by over 2,500 students from around the US and the world.

Legal studies major Lara McGreer ’19 expressed why she felt this experiential learning
opportunity shaped her education:

“Through this trip, I gained a better understanding of the power and influence of the UN. Seeing all of the workers, buildings, and projects in person really showcased how much this organization does for the world. As a legal studies major, debating is nothing new to me, but this class definitely pushed the bounds of my and my classmates’ skills and comfort zones. I think it’s really important to take courses that you feel will truly challenge your limits, improve your skills, and expose you to so much more beyond the classroom.”

Students study the United Nations in the fall and then in February represent their assigned country at the four-day Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) in Boston. The HNMUN is one of the oldest and most respected Model UNs, attended by 2,500 students from around the world.

“I know Dr. Surbrug puts his heart into this class,” Graves commented. “He will give it his all in preparing us to have a successful trip and represent our model country well when we venture out to Boston in February for the conference.”