A Weekend Trip to 2016

By Emily Provencher '20 | February 23, 2018

Students at Model UN

On February 15-18, I had the absolute pleasure of traveling along with 11 of my fellow members of the Saint Anselm College community to Harvard’s National Model United Nations Conference in Boston. The conference hosts 2,600 college students from all over the world for the four-day event. While most participate in committees packed with over 100 delegates representing countries, I had the opportunity to work in a specialized agency with just 19 other students. 

My committee was called “Hillary for America 2016.” Each member of the committee was assigned to play the role of one of Clinton’s top campaign advisors as we moved through the events of the campaign, from the eve of Super Tuesday up until election night. I played the role of Marlon Marshall, Clinton’s Director of State Campaigns and Political Engagement. While my fellow Saint Anselm College delegates researched a country and its stances on various issues, I researched Marlon Marshall’s role in the campaign until I felt as though I could truly represent him. 

The action during my committee was non-stop. We were constantly being briefed with crisis updates and visits from people playing a wide range of characters; Martin O’Malley, Elizabeth Warren, Vladimir Putin, and Oprah to name a few. To prevent the committee from being predictable, we were told that the race would take place without Donald Trump as a candidate. However, Trump still commentated on the election via a Twitter feed that was used to keep us updated on events and news stories during the campaign.

Many of the events that took place in our committee did not perfectly line up with history, so it was up to myself and my fellow committee members to use our own political knowledge to decide how to react. One of these issues was that Oprah had died of a heart attack just before giving us her endorsement. Another was the betrayal of three top staff members who leaked our campaign strategies to our opponent, Ted Cruz. We were also tasked with responding to events that took place during the campaign such as James Comey’s announcement of his investigation just days before the election. We saw immediately what it had done to our numbers and had just minutes to act on a strategy to regain the trust of the American people. The committee, just like the election, never had a dull moment. 

As I return to Saint Anselm College, I bring with me a great deal of knowledge on the campaign process, American politics, and the importance of technology in modern-day campaigning. I also gained a wonderful experience in how a group of complete strangers can become friends in just one weekend when united under one goal. I was moved during our committee reflections as each of us broke character and shared what the election had meant to us and our memories of election night 2016. I am so thankful for everything I gained in my experience at Model United Nations and I cannot wait to go back next year.