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Skidmore to host EuroSim 2015 March 26-29

March 16, 2015
Model EU students and flag
Allison Hein ’15 and James Stanitz ’15 display EU flag.

Skidmore will be on the transatlantic map during the weekend of March 26-29, when approximately 185 students and 29 faculty members from campuses around the world will come to campus for EuroSim, a conference hosted by the College’s Model European Union Club.

Schools such as the University of Lower Silesia in Wrocław, Poland, and Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, will be among the nine European and 10 American universities participating in EuroSim 2015, organized and hosted by Skidmore’s Model European Union Club.

The conference is a European Union simulation similar to a model United Nations conference. Throughout the conference, each student represents an “alter-ego,” an important political figure from within the European Union. Past Skidmore delegates have been European heads of state, members of parliament, and justice ministers.

The theme of the conference is cyber security. Keynote speakers are Helena Ferrand-Carrapico (Ashton University), Brian Nussbaum (University at Albany, State University of New York), and John Occhipinti (Canisius College). All three will speak about different aspects of transatlantic cyber security policy.

All conference participants will have researched the European Union’s cyber security policy thoroughly in preparation for the conference. Learning about an abstract topic such as cyber security is a great opportunity for American students because the European Union treats issues such as cyber security very differently from the way that the American government treats such issues, according to James Stanitz ’15, spokesperson for the event. Students participating in the conference quickly notice that compromising the views of 28 different EU member states and the views of approximately seven different political parties present unique challenges for the European Union that are not present in American government. Skidmore students participating in the conference will also learn how to work with students from a diverse set of nationalities in a professional setting.  

Kate Graney, associate professor of government and advisor to the student club, said, “Skidmore is thrilled to be hosting the 2015 EuroSim simulation. Skidmore, under the leadership of Roy Ginsberg, was actually one of the founders of the organization that sponsors EuroSim, the Trans-Atlantic Consortium for European Studies and Simulations, back in the 1980s. Skidmore students participated in the very first EUROSIM, in 1988, when there were only 35 delegates, and have participated every year since. This year we will welcome close to 200 students and over 25 faculty from across Europe and the US—Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Pennsylvania, New York State--to Skidmore to simulate EU discussions and negotiations around the topic of cyber security.  We will hear guest speakers from SUNY Albany, Canisius College, and Aston University in the UK, and also enjoy some social time — an excursion to the Saratoga Battlefield and Saratoga Apple and a closing celebration at the Universal Preservation Hall downtown. After years of attending wonderful EuroSims in cities like Antwerp, Twente, and Wroclaw, we are so excited to show off our wonderful school and beautiful town. We hope everyone on campus and in town will enjoy the influx of some international visitors for a few days this month—brush off your German, French, Dutch and welcome them warmly!”

2015 Model EU team
Model EU club members Dorothy Parsons ’17 (left), Alexis
Cantor ’18,
James Stanitz ’15, Megan Schachter ’17,
Jesse Ritter ’15, Allison Hein ’15,
and Harrison Hale.
(Elaina Aquila ’16 photos)

In addition to the Polish and Buffalo universities, other participating schools include Ashton University and the University of Dundee, both of the United Kingdom; Alfred University; University of Antwerp, Belgium; Colgate University; East Stroudsburg University; Hamilton College, Helmut Schmidt University, University of Trier, and University of Saarland, all in Germany; Kennesaw State University; Maastricht University and University of Twente, both in The Netherlands; Niagara University; St. John Fisher College; SUNY Brockport; and Widener University.

Student organizers note that there are plenty of social events planned throughout the conference, including an indie band night featuring student bands and a large banquet dinner in the Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs. Many of the delegates who arrive early to will be given a tour of the Saratoga Battlefield. “The political backstabbing that occurs during coffee breaks is also a very exhilarating way to meet new people,” Stanitz said with a grin.

The EuroSim conference is coming to Skidmore because the Model European Union Club participates in the EuroSim conference every year. The conference takes place in Europe biannually and University of Twente in the Netherlands was host last year. While the club spends a majority of its time vigorously preparing for the conference every year, members also enjoy watching European films and discussing current events occurring in the European Union. The club also occasionally enjoys going out for meals together at European restaurants around town. Visiting Ravenous, a popular French restaurant in Saratoga Springs, is a club favorite.

Added Graney, ““What is also impressive about Skidmore’s participation in EuroSim is that we are the only school where the EUROSIM delegation is actually based on a student-run club. Our students are solely responsible for preparing materials, researching positions, and playing their roles in the negotiations.  Most other schools tie their participation to a class, and their preparations are guided by a syllabus and an instructor. I am always so proud of how well our students do essentially on their own, even when they are in there with students who are in some cases advanced MA or JD students from European universities.”          

The Skidmore EuroSim conference planning committee expressed appreciation for the support of the College administration, the Student Government Association, the Government Department, International Affairs Program, and all of the employees who are making this conference possible. The EuroSim conference planning committee consists of Graney, Stanitz (Logistical Director), Anya Hein ’15 (American Student Director), and Barbara McDonough.

This year’s Skidmore EuroSim team consists of Jesse Ritner ’15, Dorothy Parsons ’17, Megan Schachter ’17, Harrison Hale ’18, and Alexis Cantor ’18.

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