Chapter Spotlight: Bellevue College
The Bellevue College chapter of UNA is the perfect example of a young group off to a great start. Despite only being officially started as a UNA chapter during the winter quarter of last year, there is a lot to say about this group of high-achieving students advocating for the United Nations and social justice in Washington state. This chapter has grown out of the Model UN club at the school to quickly host several events and campaigns during the middle of a pandemic and even went on to win the UNA-USA +1 Campaign.
The success that Bellevue UNA has found can be attributed to the dedication of its small but mighty team leading the way. Daniela Hernandez, the chapter’s treasurer, says that everyone in the group is extremely dedicated and loves what they do and that this characteristic has helped them attract even more members interested in their passion for their work. When it comes to their win in the +1 Campaign, which required them to have the most new members recruited to join their chapter out of all the UNA-USA campus chapters, this success had a deeper meaning than just the Campaign–it meant finally having enough members to register as an official student organization at their school. Their membership growth and change-making have only continued to grow since then, despite the pandemic and virtual circumstances. A strong leadership team is always important for creating a successful group, and the UNA-Bellevue chapter has had a great one leading it through the past few semesters. Co-presidents Hannah Stoddard and Phoebe Skok lead weekly meetings for their leadership team, as well as host regular events for members to attend. Hannah says that it has been very important for them to develop creative events that are different each time to engage members, but the important thing with this is that they are held at consistent times for attendees to remember.
This has been easier to do now that they are separate from the MUN club at their school, according to Phoebe, as they are now able to set their own priorities and lead with their passions. This passion is always central to the group–Phoebe says that it doesn’t matter if people think you’re weird or over-excited about something because the people you want joining the group will be others who are similarly interested in the topics and work being done. Bellevue UNA values being a part of the larger network of UNA-USA chapters around the country full of people interested in the same things as they are. It has inspired the leadership team to keep working in times of struggle, put smiles on their faces to be able to talk with like-minded people and friends regularly, and empowered them to make a positive impact on the world. This chapter is a valuable addition to the UNA-USA network and has proven that its passion lies behind all that it does to make the world a better place through advocacy for global collaboration through the United Nations.