After months of planning and years of dreaming, the Freeman Model UN club held its first conference, FreeMUN I, this past weekend. 60 delegates from high schools and middle schools across Henrico County participated in five different committees on Saturday. These students worked together to tackle issues from modern-day artificial intelligence technology to the American response to Cuban independence in 1898 while representing the interests and opinions of countries or individuals.
“For an inaugural MUN conference planned this fast and done virtually, I think we did phenomenally,” said crisis director Gio Mazzeo, a junior at Freeman. “I was proudest of how my staff quickly picked up the necessary skills and adapted to the situation. They were awesome, and we really couldn’t have done it without them.”
Junior Bella Fowler, who served as co-chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force committee, described the resulting conference as “a fun and well-run conference that was productive and enjoyable for both the students running the conference and the delegates participating.” “The delegates were just great,” she said, “all of them made meaningful contributions that made the committee so fun.”
Although the conference was successful, the planning was not as easy. “It was relatively complicated, given that this was the first year our club ran a conference,” said Bella. “We had some issues with the technology, like trying to figure out how to create enough Google Meet links,” she explained, “but our club sponsor, Mr. Abril, helped us work around these problems.”
Just days after the execution of the first conference, the FreeMUN team has already started planning for next year’s conference: FreeMUN II. “I hope we can get even more participants so we can run a larger conference, and maybe even have it in person,” said Bella. “There are plans to do this again next year and in person, but nothing specific yet,” Gio said. “All I can say is that it will be bigger and better.”