Vancouver Island University’s Model United Nations (MUN) club has a new leader, Shantel Beute, who is hoping to improve the club’s structure and make it to the MUN conference at the University of British Columbia in January. In the past, MUN didn’t have a set student leader, which left it unorganized at times, Beute said at the first MUN meeting of the year. “It’s almost like the formation of a new club,” Beute said.

While the club will have the help of staff in the political studies department, such as Mark Williams and Catherine Schittecatte, Beute will cover most of the organizing.

Beute was part of MUN and attended the UBC conference last year, making her one of few students with experience in the club. She stepped into the leadership role when there was talk of the club not running at the beginning of September.

Beute’s biggest goal is to make it to the conference at UBC in January. Prior to the conference, the members will need to pick countries to represent and learn their foreign policy.

The club members will participate as delegates and stay in Vancouver for a weekend, joining MUN clubs from schools all over BC, as well as Alberta, and Washington. Students will take on roles such as security council, general assembly, women’s council, and media. Each committee will then act as a chosen state, take on their policy, present topics, and role-play as if they are at an actual United Nations conference to discuss solutions to world issues.

“It’s not like class where you’re forced to write a paper by a date, but you will have to become familiar with your policy and write a short summary of it to reference,” Beute said. “You will learn lots of good skills, such as public speaking, debating, and foreign policy.”

But the club will benefit those who don’t go to the conference as well, because members will practice these same skills at meetings and learn a lot about world issues, Beute said.

Beute wants to improve fundraising for the conference and improve the organization of the club to make meetings more productive.

“Last year, we had everything covered except for food. If we can do enough fundraising to get our food covered too, that would be awesome,” Beute said. “So I want to work on that. The fundraising is probably where most of the work will come from.”

The MUN club will have elections to assign other students leadership roles. They will need to elect a president, vice president, and treasurer.

“I don’t want to be a dictator,” Beute said.

The students who take on leadership roles will have to prepare to take on extra responsibilities, such as managing emails with members, organizing fundraisers, and helping members learn their state’s foreign policy.

Beute also wants to improve the club’s relationship with the students’ union in order to receive more support, such as assistance with fundraising.

Beute hopes that this year will be successful enough to continue next year.

“We have a lot of new people this year,” Beute said. “Hopefully there will enough interest so we will have to be drive to make it to UBC, and get some return people for next year.”