After several consecutive years of success on the collegiate Model UN circuit, Michigan State University (MSU) has a new leader at the helm. Chris Bourdganis, a junior, was elected as the new president and head delegate of the MSU International Relations Organization (MSU IRO) in March.
Bourdganis is no stranger to Model UN success. Competing for the high school MUN team at Stevenson High School in Livonia, Michigan, Bourdganis won awards at every conference he attended. This winning streak is still alive; Bourdganis has never walked away from a collegiate conference empty handed, winning awards at UPMUNC, McMUN, CMUNNY and ChoMUN, capturing seven awards total with two Outstanding Delegate awards. I caught up with Chris to talk about the future of MUN for MSU on the collegiate circuit, about other ways that he has gotten involved in the global community, and a few other fun facts about him. Here’s what he had to say:
Michigan State has had some successes recently, specifically at McMUN and ChoMUN the past two years. As the new president, what is a top priority that you have for the team this year? What kinds of programming are you planning to keep team members engaged while not at conferences?
I want to improve the training of our delegates. We have a lot of good delegates, and while they do eventually bloom, sometimes it’s not until their junior year. I want to see us peak sooner so we can do better for a longer time. We’ve never had double delegatation training before, so this year we’re doing this training to prepare us for bigger conferences so people can learn to work with others in the committee room. We’ve paired experienced delegates with newcomers, and I think it’s going to work out very well. As for programming, this year, we’re trying to plan a lot more events both social and academic. We had a lot of informal impromptu parties in the past, and those are the best way to become close with people. We’re also bringing in guest speakers this year; its professional but it’s still fun. We still want to have parties where anyone can come, and people bring a lot of their friends who usually then join the team. This way they fall in love with the team before they’re on it.
How do you feel about the ranking that MSU received from Best Delegate at the end of the 2011-2012 travel season?
As a smaller school, in terms of funding and our team size, I’m happy that we did receive some recognition. Yet, I look at the ranking and see room for improvement. I’m happy we’re up there, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better this year. I see a lot of potential with our team; at our last conference of the year last year, all the junior members, who were then sophomores, won. I would like to continue that trend as well as to see the freshmen do well this year too.
Other than MSU IRO, what other organizations are you involved in on campus?
In addition to MSU IRO, I’m the Vice President of Logistics and Financial Operations at MSU’s branch of Pangea Educational Development (PED). Katie Ott, one of my good friends, started the branch last year on campus; I was a vice president last year as well. On a global scale, Pangea works to develop sustainable schools in Uganda by implementing small businesses to keep the schools financially afloat. At home, MSU raises money and awareness of the need for better education around the world. Locally, MSU PED is looking to partner with the Lansing Area Literacy Coalition to tutor adults and children in reading and writing just as we did last year with a local elementary school. I’m looking forward to help expand MSU PED in the year to come. It’s a great way to take what I’ve worked on in committees and have a practical application.
10 Fun Facts about Chris:
Favorite food: Prime Rib
Favorite General Assembly Committee: The Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC)
Ban Ki-moon or Kofi Annan?: Kofi Annan.
Favorite Book: City of Thieves by David Benioff
Crisis committee or GA?: Specialized. Is this an option? If not, crisis.
Favorite MUN conference you’ve attended: McMUN 2011.
Twitter, Facebook or Instagram?: Facebook
A song that makes you think of MUN is… : Empire of the Sun’s Walking on a Dream. I will never forget when our delegation decided to get on our chairs and dance impromptu in the closing ceremonies of McMUN 2011 to this song. (Watch the video here)
Favorite TV show: Battlestar Galactica
Favorite quote: “All the stories are fictions. What matters is which fiction you believe.”- Orson Scott Card
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of feature stories highlighting Model UN delegates at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels who are not only accomplished in the committee room, but embody the goal of Model United Nations to create global citizens of tomorrow. Media Associates will take reader feedback into consideration when selecting delegates to be featured on a weekly basis. If you would like to see a delegate featured on our blog, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Spotlight.”