Elon Connected: Model UN helped Pearl Sullivan ’21 build community at Elon

This is the next profile in "Elon Connected," a new series that highlights how students are involved with campus organizations at Elon.

How are you Elon Connected? This is the first in a new series that highlights how students are connecting at Elon outside of the classroom.

The university is home to hundreds of organizations that provide nearly limitless ways for students to engage, and Elon Connected shines the light on what these groups mean to the students involved and to the campus community.

Pearl Sullivan ’21 — Model United Nations

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Major: International and Global Studies and Spanish

How did you get involved in Model UN?

I first got involved with Model UN as a first-year. I did Model UN in high school and loved it so knew I wanted to be involved in college. My first day of classes, I sat next to a sophomore who mentioned that she was involved in passing so I went to the first meeting with her and have been hooked ever since!

How does your student involvement line up with your academic interests?

As an international and global studies major, Model UN lines up pretty perfectly with my academic interests (especially given that it is a 1-credit hour Political Science class in addition to being a club). Topics and current events that I discuss in class are often also discussed in our weekly UN Security Council debates and preparing for these debates as well as intercollegiate conferences has taught me about understanding different perspectives especially in regards to international relations.

Pearl Sullivan, right, with Model UN colleagues after winning awards at a UNC conference in 2019

… with your social life?

Some of my best friends are people I met through Model UN and it is the organization that first welcomed me on campus. I think I built my community at Elon with Model UN as it’s made up such incredible people.

… with your career goals?

I’d love to work at the UN in the future, specifically with UN Women, so the understanding and experiences I’ve gained through Model UN both prepare me for that and helped me figure out what I was interested in.

Most memorable experience with Model UN?

At UNC’s conference last year, we won 3 awards and then went and had lunch together after closing ceremonies and it was just such a wonderful celebration to end a really fun weekend. (Also, I once got pied in the face sophomore year as a reward for everyone paying their dues so that was definitely memorable).

Elevator pitch to someone considering joining?

Model UN is my favorite thing I do on campus. Not only is it interesting to discuss a variety of global issues each week, but the organization is made up of passionate, dedicated and kind people and I truly can’t imagine my four years at Elon without them. I strongly encourage anyone considering joining to absolutely do it.

What do you think your organization adds to campus life or the broader community?

I think the most obvious thing Model UN adds to campus life is the International Crisis Conference at Elon which is a simulation that we organize and execute each semester for all of the students in Pol 141: International Relations. Outside of that, students in Model UN are committed to our organization and do so much in all other parts of campus so I think the contributions that our organization’s members make throughout Elon’s community are what I’m most proud of us adding.

Biggest adjustment for your group in response to the pandemic?

The biggest adjustment has been doing intercollegiate conferences virtually. Usually we travel to another school for a weekend to compete, and now it is all virtual which is a very new experience. We’ve been successful in our transition as our delegation that attended a conference hosted by Florida State University was awarded Best Small Delegation last weekend (which is super exciting!)

Related Articles

What’s your advice to other students about balancing student involvement and academics?

I think the biggest piece of advice I have is to do what makes you happy and adds value to your life. Elon can cultivate a culture of busyness, and the most balanced I’ve been is when I’ve taken classes that interest me and taken part in organizations and activities that I’m passionate about like Model UN.

What lies ahead after Elon?

Honestly, not 100 percent sure yet, but I’m hoping to work in international development focusing on women’s political and economic empowerment.

Something most people don’t know about you?

I call my Grandma every day.