Funding cut, Model UN fundraises
By Rebeka Silva
Miami Dade College’s North Campus has been a steady competitor at the National Model United Nations conference in New York City since 1992. The event attracts more than 4,000 student delegates from five continents to participate in discussions about current global issues.
Last year, 24 delegates represented the North Campus.
But budget cuts have put a damper on plans for this year’s conference. When MDC’s North Campus’ delegation travels to New York City on March 28, the campus will be represented by 11 students—less than half of last year’s total.
“Because of financial problems this year, Provost Rolando Montoya cut Model UN funding,” club advisor Michael Lenaghan said.
Montoya said that the “district is not subsidizing this activity,” and that the district now transfers funds to each campus’ student life department and “they need to budget and prioritize.”
The student life director at each campus that participates in Model UN—North, Kendall and West campuses—will assist with some of the funding of Model UN delegations, according to Jaime Anzalotta, director of student life at the North Campus.
A student life department committee decides the amount of money that is given to the organizations on campus based on contingency, among other things, Anzalotta said. Organizations are also told to fundraise and then come to student life and request additional funding for travel or activities if they are needed.
This past fall semester, Model UN delegates sold pizza in Scott Hall (building one). They have continued their efforts this spring semester (every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.).
Model UN external secretary Jose Leon organized a deal with a Papa John’s pizza store in Hialeah. The business allowed them to purchase an eight-slice pizza for $6; the group sells each slice for $2, and makes a $10 profit per pizza.
But pizza sales alone can’t cover the trip’s expenses, so other measures had to be taken.
“The first thing we did was draft sponsorship letters and mail them out,” said sophomore Klara Marcus, the organization’s head delegate.
Out of 40 letters sent, only one response was received. Gordon Food Service is the only current sponsor for the Model UN. The company gave the organization a 10 percent discount on each box of chocolate they bought to raise funds. In addition, the team also held a carwash in late February. It yielded $90 in profits.
So far, the North Campus delegates have raised nearly $4,000. The trip costs about $1,000 per student, according to Lenaghan. With 11 members scheduled to go, the organization is about $7,000 short.
Lenaghan said that if students can’t attend due to funding issues, they will be deprived of opportunities such as networking. MDC is one of the few community colleges that get invited every year to attend the conference. The event offers an opportunity for other universities to scout MDC students.
“Schools are always asking us, ‘where are they going next?’” said Lenaghan referring to how universities inquire about MDC students at the conference.
Even with less students participating, Marcus said the team has high expectations.
“There are different awards; the highest one is outstanding delegation, then distinguished delegation and then they have individual awards depending on the committee that you’re in,” Marcus said. “The goal we are aiming for is outstanding delegation.”
But even with fewer numbers, Anzalotta has no doubt that this year’s delegation will be successful.
“They’ve insured that the delegations that are going receive appropriate training, and I know they meet extremely often and they simulate what actually goes on in the United Nations,” Anzalotta said. “This will not affect their performance in any way.”
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