NACOGDOCHES, Texas –– Stephen F. Austin State University’s Model European Union team, which consists of nine political science majors and one international business major, earned Best Delegation honors at the Midwest Model European Union competition for the second year in a row.
Hosted by Indiana University, the MMEU competition is the second-oldest intercollegiate simulation of the European Union in North America. The purpose of the competition is to increase awareness and knowledge of the EU, its institutions and its processes, according to Dr. Steven Galatas, SFA associate professor of government and Model EU faculty advisor.
“The students gained a deeper appreciation for the EU and its role in the world, as well as the importance of the United States and EU relationship in maintaining peace and stability in Europe and globally,” Galatas said.
SFA’s team represented Germany, which was chosen through a lottery system, during the competition. The team met regularly beginning in January to review EU legislature processes and research the country’s positions on important or critical issues, including climate change, energy security in Europe, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
“Model EU was an absolutely amazing experience,” said Casper Dirkx, international business major from Spaarndam, Netherlands. “I have gained a much better understanding of the European Union, and I improved my debating skills a lot. Experiencing what it is like modeling a legislature includes critically thinking about approving, denying or modifying any proposed legislation within your ministry.”
Nacogdoches senior Rebekah Cook, whose role was European parliament from Germany representing the German Green Party, and Nacogdoches senior Caitlyn Shrewsbury, whose role was European council as the chancellor/prime minister from Germany, each received first place in the competition.
Placing second from SFA were Gentian Kojeli, a senior from Tirana, Albania, representing economics and finance from Germany, and Ayshia Carr, a senior from Tomball, representing environment minister from Germany.
Edinburg senior Trinity Altemeyer, whose role was justice and home affairs minister from Germany, placed third. Other team members included Trophy Club senior Morgan Harlow, Dallas senior Alexander Gilmour and Rice senior Dacoda Burkholder.
“Going toe to toe with bigger universities and students from their departments is a show of not only how good SFA’s team is but also how good the faculty and the department are in preparing them for the experience,” Kojeli said. “It is an immaculate experience to see how much you have learned and how much of your knowledge you can put into practice. Winning back-to-back honors is an achievement that all of SFA has to be proud of, as the team and the faculty have put SFA on the map as heavy hitters, even against bigger universities with larger endowments such as Notre Dame.”
During the competition, students participated in five legislative simulations with the goal of negotiating and bargaining between member states to pass legislation for the EU. It also allowed the students to showcase their knowledge of assigned countries’ policies and affairs.
A new addition to the competition this year was the European Parliament, the legislative body that represents the citizens of the European Union’s member states and is directly elected by voters in the EU. Lakeway sophomore Gavin Willsey was asked to chair the European Parliament and placed second in his role.
Participants in each of the seven groups were ranked based on their negotiation and bargaining skills and participation in the debates, among other criteria. A total of 15 universities and 20 teams participated.
For more information on Model EU, contact Galatas at firstname.lastname@example.org.