Humboldt State University

Students Excel at Model United Nations Conference

Political Science Professor Noah Zerbe, who’s been involved with HSU’s Model UN program for 12 years, created the Model United Nations Fund two years ago with a $2,000 gift to defray travel costs and help students attend the annual conferences hosted in New York and San Francisco.

Model UN is a conference where HSU students studying Political Science or International Studies have a chance to debate current issues, apply their diplomacy and negotiation skills, and compete with 5,000 students from around the world. However, the expenses associated with transportation, hotels, and dress code can be prohibitive.

“There is a strict dress code for attending the conference. A few years ago, I gave a student cash to buy shoes and a suit just so they could participate in the event. I decided then that financial means shouldn’t determine having this experience and started the Model UN Fund,” says Noah.

The Model UN Fund provides financial support to all students who attend the New York conference and to a select number of students who attend the San Francisco conference. The fund, which is need-based, helps pay for expenses related to food, hotels, and other special circumstances. 

Noah Zerbe

Noah believes Model UN is worth supporting because of the learning opportunities it provides students. “The Model UN is an experience that’s transformative and engages students in a way the classroom cannot,” explains Noah. “The conference challenges them on many different levels, and they come away with skill sets critically important for success in today’s world.”

The Model UN offers students the opportunity to network with professionals who work at the United Nations. Students are also placed in an environment where they can apply the basics of diplomacy, refine their public speaking skills, and learn to work with competing interests.

“I’ve seen HSU students build their self-confidence and prove to themselves that they can stand their own against students from prestigious universities,” reflects Noah.

Giving students opportunities to shine is why Noah has taken student success into his own hands. “I love when a student comes into their own and plays a critical role at the Model UN. It feels good to see students given a chance to rise to the occasion.”

Since the fund was established, Noah and some alumni from the Model UN program contribute regularly to help the fund continue to grow.

If you’d like to join Noah and other donors supporting Humboldt State students, you can make a direct contribution to the Model United Nations Fund. If you have questions about giving, or would like to learn about other ways to support HSU students, visit loyalty.humboldt.edu, email the Office of Philanthropy at giving@humboldt.edu, or call 707-826-5200.