The UC Berkeley Model United Nations, or UCBMUN, team was recently ranked number three in the nation in the fall 2022 rankings from Best Delegate, an objective ranking program for college UN teams.
Model UN has three categories of competition: general assembly, crisis and specialized. UCBMUN currently has between 60 and 70 active members, according to Antonio Kobe Lopez, the team’s director of intercollegiate travel and training and the former vice president.
According to Lopez, points for Model UN are similar to something like swimming or track, where individuals gain points that are added up to contribute to the team score.
The team attributes their success to a consistent new training regimen for members at the beginning of each semester and working through the “road bump” that was the COVID pandemic. They also have attended more conferences than usual this semester, going from eight conferences a year in the past to roughly 14 this year.
“We have been implementing new member training. It worked very well. Most of our new members have either been awarded in their first conference or gained insight and gone onto award in their next conference,” said UCBMUN Vice President Sabina Dhillon.
The third place ranking represents a great triumph for the Berkeley team. Berkeley is the only public school team in the top three, as well as the only school representing the West Coast. Currently, American University is ranked number one and Georgetown University is ranked number two.
After the team achieved top three, they were ecstatic, according to Dhillon.
“We thought we would be in the top six, so having that pleasant surprise was so inspiring,” Dhillon said. “It was a happy and exciting moment in our club.”
UCBMUN has difficulties when it comes to funding. Going up against Ivy League schools and other private schools with large endowments presents a unique problem, and UCBMUN does not have the budget to fully cover travel costs for their students.
“Some people have to pay out of pocket for each trip, so it is harder to keep it all together,” said Antonio Martin, the head crisis delegate. “It just goes to show that everyone really cares, because we are finding a way to make it work, in spite of our limited resources.”
This weekend, UCBMUN will be going to UCLA in Westwood and William and Mary in Williamsburg, finishing off the season as their last conferences of the year.
The team enjoys friendly rivalries against other schools.
“We have a friendly rivalry with Claremont McKenna College. They have done extraordinarily well in the last few years. We are happy to pursue a friendly rivalry with them in the past few years,” Lopez said. “Also, we are close to all the UC’s and we work with them often. Last year we went to Santa Barbara, San Diego is is starting a conference for the future, and next week we are going to LA.”
Members have fond memories of their travel experiences. Along with travel comes the opportunity to meet other students outside of UC Berkeley.
“In between all that really serious debate, road trips and flights are some of the really great moments where we can bond and interact with each other,” Lopez said.