From bioweapons to blockchains, Andrew Baker and James Goodman know their stuff.
During Spring Break, while a lot of students were taking it easy, the student organization World Affairs Delegation was winning awards in Madrid, Spain.
Baker and Goodman both took diplomacy awards home, given out to members who “seek to empathize, to understand, and to collaborate with their fellow members to produce the most positive change and advancement they can,” according to the Harvard World Model United Nations (WorldMUN).
It’s the second year in a row Baker and Goodman have won the diplomacy award. This year, there were 45 countries in their committee and just four awards were given out. According to Baker and Goodman, last year’s committee was larger.
“We were pretty well prepared,” Baker said. “I don’t really set many expectations for these kinds of things. It’s just to compete and have fun first, and awards second.”
Baker and Goodman spoke highly of their committee. They said the level of competence was engaging. This year, WAD picked blockchain computing technology as their topic. Goodman said it wasn’t something he was familiar with, but it seemed interesting.
When they weren’t competing, Baker and Goodman said they attended some of WorldMUN’s social events, including Global Village where delegates get the chance to sample food and speak with other teams from other countries.
“My favorite was the tables from an Australian university — they had vegemite on toast.” Goodman said. “I’m a big fan of vegemite.”
Combined, Baker and Goodman have been doing Model UN for 10 years. They’ve been going to school together since fourth grade and went to La Cueva High School.
“I started Model UN as a sophomore (in high school),” Goodman said. “I really got into it going through high school and going to the different conferences UNM helps put on.”
As for college, Goodman said, “When I was at orientation, I saw this table at the discover fair with the United Nations flag on it and thought ‘these are my people.’” He said he recognized a few people at the table from previous events and started going to meetings in his freshmen year. Goodman is double majoring in political science and geography.
Baker said he joined his senior year of high school, after doing speech and debate. He took a year off when he came to UNM. He said we wanted to get a feel for how things worked at a university first. He joined WorldMUN his sophomore year. Baker is double majoring in political science and population health, with a minor in German.
“I tried to get (Baker) to join freshmen year (of high school). He came to one meeting and then didn’t come back,” Goodman said.
Baker and Goodman are juniors and with at least one year left, each had something in mind for the WAD they wanted to leave behind.
“One of the things that we were talking about on the trip was that people feel like we might be able to do a better job of preparing for these big competitions,” Baker said. He said he wanted to develop how the team prepares for World MUN.
Goodman said that, as vice president of WAD, he would like to improve retention.
“At our first meeting this year we had like 65 people there just from our recruitment over the summer. And then it dwindles down pretty dramatically as people realize whether or not they want to do it,” Goodman said.
He added that a lot of people drop out when they realize not everyone attends the overseas conference. “I think people feel they can’t really contribute to the organization in a meaningful way — I’d like to change that.”
Next year’s conference location has not yet been announced. Goodman and Baker are expecting it to be somewhere in Asia.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.