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Park Scholars Tell Stories

First-year Park Scholars share their experiences with the transition to collegiate life at IC

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Posted by Matt Fee at 7:33PM   |  Add a comment
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by Luna Olavarria Gallegos '17

When I first started compiling a list of clubs and organizations I wanted to join at Ithaca College, I put Model United Nations on the top.  My junior and senior year of high school, I travelled to different conferences and learned about international affairs through the Model UN club at my school.   Although I joined on a whim, I soon became fascinated and obsessed with learning about the complex international power dynamics and how the United States treats the notion of foreign affairs.

As a young media-maker I think it is crucial to deconstruct the larger systems that I am a part of when making media, and for myself, a global citizen, this includes the global community.  This is why I was so happy when I found out that Ithaca College had a team.  I applied and got accepted to the team, and am starting as a first-year with this school club.

During my interview, I was asked about the problematic aspects of the United Nations.  My mind immediately went back to the Park Scholar book we read at the beginning of the year, Crisis Caravan, that hauntingly outlined the issues with humanitarian aid.  I also thought of all the discussions about dynamics between developing and “first world” countries in the Park Scholar Globalization seminar.  Through many of these discussions, there has been a certain sense of hopelessness.

In high school when I further probed into the unbalance of power in the United Nations and in politics in general, I realized I needed to give up my dream as a diplomat.  I personally could never spend my life perpetuating a system that lacks cultural relativity and enforces culture superiority in the name of “aid.”  Regardless, I still find value in continuing to evaluate current global issues and finding creative solutions to real problems that have already affected my life, whether directly or indirectly.  Although I acknowledge the imperfection of the club and organization as a whole, Model UN has been a pivotal aspect of my education, especially of domestic and global news. 

I have been one of the new members of Model United Nations for about a month, and I will be attending the University of Pennsylvania Conference in just a few weeks.  I am extremely excited to continue to challenge myself and develop my thoughts about the way our global community works and what aspects of humanitarian aid work and don’t work. 


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