Putting Pages on Pages

Press Trust of India, News24, Austria Presse Agentur | Pages

Throughout the busy halls of the assembly, while countries are collaborating on the world’s crises, they are busy at work navigating the valleys of stairs that separate each country.  They are the backbone, the underdog, the mailmen of the whole organization. They are the Pages. Here are their stories… 

Being a Page often consists of developing a system and climbing the many stairs of the conferences, balancing a large array of notes, and deciphering a myriad of different handwritings in order to keep the conferences running smooth.   Often times when you think you might have a solid system after the first day, your world gets flipped upside down when the countries are sitting in different places the next day. As one Page mentioned, “There are so many stairs! I tripped twice. The anxiety and frustrations with finding the countries tend to get overwhelming. It gets to the point where I’m like  ‘where is it, where is it!’ because some of the placards fall and it’s hard for me to tell who is who.” Although a few of the Pages are first-timers to the whole experience, more than half of the pages served as delegates years prior. When asked what made them want to take on the role of Page one answered, “[I decided to be a page this year] because I was too busy working on college apps so I didn’t have [time]  to write my position papers but I still really love Model UN so I wanted to continue to take part.” 

A commonality the Pages shared was the excitement of just being able to observe the passion of all the delegates.  One particularly awestruck Page from GA1 stated, “It’s really fascinating to see how much the delegates worked for this committee and for this conference especially about resolutions and the details. I’m just so inspired!” 

As the secret agents of Model UN, it is the job of the Pages to read each note that they pass between delegates. Based on interviews with Pages, some committees completely abided by the rules, and notes were on topic or complementary of delegate statements. Additionally, with a unique outside perspective, Pages can tell that many delegates have done enough research to know who to ally with when forming groups. However, sometimes Pages are overwhelmed by off topic note-passing; in small amounts it is entertaining, but eventually things get ridiculous. Some examples include delegates used note passing to play TicTacToe across the committee, a note with “a picture of Africa with a heart around it,” and a note that just said “I love capitalism.”

Pages also observe how certain delegates handle giving out constructive criticism. One page explained that they were most entertained when “the delegate from Malaysia just went off on America because America… was inconsistent.” The Page confirmed that the delegate was accurate in their criticism, so Malaysia was not necessarily being inappropriate. Also, Pages have noticed that global superpowers often use note passing to stack up alliances with various countries. Powers like the United States and Mexico use notes as a sort of group chat to collect support.

In addition to catching the entertaining tidbits of committees, some Pages face real scandals and have to decide the best course of action to deal with them. Sometimes a Page will encounter disrespectful or out of line notes. Because confrontation is never fun, Pages can be hesitant to call out a specific delegate for their actions, “but at a [certain] point it becomes repeated behavior, so… it’s time to take action.” Pages are prepared and professional, so negativity and inappropriate note passing is reported to the dias. Furthermore, Pages explained that many delegates do not seem to realize that it is the Pages’ job to check the notes. Disrespect in Model UN will not stand because the conference is gifted with Batman-esque heroes watching controversial notes unfold. 

When asked the question, “Would you want to be a page again?” many responded with the same answer. No. While the task of reading and passing along notes may be fun, it is also stress-inducing. “This year they overestimated how many pages there were gonna be, I think they said we were supposed to have 44 and they only ended up having 12 so there is only one Page per room. It’s kinda hectic.” As seen in the number of pages present today compared to yesterday, many committees are left without pages. In GA Plen, the one Page present was overwhelmed with the number of notes passed around. “My room had four pages yesterday, and now it’s only me.” In a standard committee room, it is filled with 20, 30 delegates, making it hard to understand what is going on with the excess amount of notes. Further upon reading these notes, “sometimes they were off track so there would be even more notes” leading to a spiral of confusion. Combined with the voices of every delegate in the room, it is easy to get lost in the task at hand.

 When asked if they were willing to do it again next year, many pages ( who were not graduating)  want to work in a committee next year. One page commented, “I’m on the waitlist to be Russia,” and others followed with the statement, “I’d do just any.” Out of all of the pages that were interviewed, those who were in the WHO committee specified they would prefer to delegate in WHO next year. Another stated they wished to become a part of the Press Corps next year. 

No matter the reason a student is a Page or what they plan on doing next year, all Pages deserve appreciation. Sometimes delegates can get lost in focusing on getting resolutions passed, grabbing allies, and taking down critics,  and they forget how important it is to thank and respect the pages. Model UN depends on pages to keep their cool in hectic situations, facilitate kind communication, and keep track of every country placard. Sometimes games of TicTacToe are a key part of Model UN’s entertainment, but remember that to a Page, every note counts; they need to read each one and balance the joke notes and serious notes. Pages get just as tired, bored, and stressed as delegates, but they master the art of calmness and kindness. In fact, while some delegates hesitant to talk to Press Corp, all of the pages were enthusiastic and especially kind to interviewers. In conclusion, thank the Pages. Ask them how their day is during free time, (for real they have the best tea). 

Thank you, Pages. You’re the heroes of Model UN.