January 20, 2019 | ° F

Model UN, Debate Union face off on environmental policy

The Rutgers University Association of International Relations' Model United Nations bested Rutgers University Debate Union in a debate on green energy alternatives on Nov. 29 in the Graduate Student Lounge of the Rutgers Student Center.

The win was especially significant for delegates of the Model UN, who had to adopt RUDU's style of debating, said Shariq Ahmad, Model UN president.

"It put us out of our comfort zone and made us debate using a different style against an extremely competent opponent who is nationally ranked and has recently been getting a lot of attention," said Ahmad, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

The debate, which was sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany's Transatlantic Climate Bridge program, featured discussion on carbon emissions and renewable energies, Ahmad said.

A panel of professors acted as judges, scoring each team based on the strength of their argument and persuasive skills, their speaking and presentation and their knowledge of policy and issues, he said.

The final round pitted Ahmad, School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Aniket Kesari and School of Arts and Sciences senior Aakruti Vakharia against School of Arts and Sciences seniors David Reiss and Kyle Bomeisl, and School of Engineering sophomore Chris Bergman.

"The final ended up being extremely close, but RU AIR pulled away with the win by stating more on policy," Ahmad said.

RUDU Vice President of Public Relations Krishna Kavi said it was the Model UN's knowledge of facts and figures that put them over the top.

"In Model UN debates, they're used to having specific numbers and details," said Kavi, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. "Debate Union didn't use all of those arguments. Instead, they used general facts and underlying philosophies, so they lost by a small margin."

To prepare for the debate, members of Model UN researched independently and then came together to coordinate speeches and arguments, Kesari said.

"It was really awesome [to win]," he said. "We did a lot of preparation a couple days before, so it was really rewarding to get the win."

The Model UN team recently visited Columbia University, Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania to participate in competitions, Kesari said.

"We are 100 percent into everything. We do our research and participate while we're there," he said. "In general, we make sure that Rutgers is known as a very professional, friendly school so that other schools know what Rutgers is really about."

Ahmad said while the Model UN would like to impact the campus community more, their greatest contribution is creating a positive image outside of the University.

"When [other teams] interact with Rutgers students who are equally as intelligent as them and who have been consistently beating them in nationwide competitions, they go back to their elite schools with a certain amount of respect for Rutgers and a changed perception from that of the usual state school with a big-time sports program and lots of parties," he said.

Ahmad said the award symbolizes a sense of pride for the entire Model UN team.

"For the Model UN as a whole … we share in each other's victories, and also it gives us a reputation outside of Rutgers that we're a legitimate school that is competing at the collegiate level," he said. "It basically represents us as hardworking people that are really passionate about what we do."

The award was only given to schools that are recognized for having the highest number of award-winning delegates, Ahmad said.

"It is a huge honor for any school and marks the beginning of a new era for the Rutgers Model UN program, where we will be well-respected around the nation for years to come," he said.

Rashmee Kumar

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