Snowbound students bond over football

GW’s Model United Nations Coordinator Tom Mullaney wrote a brief column for a McGill University publication before arriving at the Montreal University for a Model United Nations conference Jan. 27.

In this column, he wrote about Model United Nations’ uniqueness as an intercollegiate activity.

(It’s) not like a track meet or a football game. It’s not about fight songs, he wrote. We come here to have fun, to learn and to come out of our own personal shells.

That’s what Mullaney thought.

Within hours of the conference’s conclusion Jan. 30, as they sat snowbound in Albany, N.Y., Mullaney and the rest of his 46-member squad discovered that Model United Nations is about fight songs, football and has something to do with that personal shell.

The team left McGill University Saturday night. The roads were snow-covered and treacherous. The Greyhound bus the team traveled on headed south toward D.C. and stopped in Albany to refuel.

Rumors started to go around that I-95 South was closed, said GW Model United Nations participant Daniel Loren.

Minutes later the driver announced that the roads were too dangerous. The team was stuck in a Albany bus station and by then it was snowing.

Mullaney and Model United Nations Chairman Colin Van Ostern scrambled for a plan. They called a nearby Ramada Inn and found 12 empty rooms.

The backdrop in this unfolding drama was Super Bowl XXXIV. Just like the Tennessee Titans, suddenly the Model United Nations team was coming together.

We all used the game to get pumped up, Mullaney said.

Mullaney said suddenly, things weren’t so bad. Besides, look at the Titans – they were so close to victory. Look at the Model United Nations – not even close, he said.

Cut to an hour later – the game is over and their first night as a real team has just begun. They’re relaxed, boisterous, and above all they’re extremely proud.

We were acting silly, Mullaney said. Singing Britney Spears, being loud.

The 46 members were all on one floor. Some filed into the rooms to tell stories, watch television or talk politics. Some went to play in the snow. Then, the team assembled its 46 members and sang the GW fight song.

I have never been prouder of something, Mullaney said of that moment.

When we sung that fight song, we were a team, Loren said. That was a community moment. We’d been stuck, and we were going to get through this.

The next morning, they were through it.

Now trouble-free, Mullaney paused on the bus ride back, turned to his team and said: I have so much love for you guys.

One snowbound night had forged a bond between the 46 members.

I was walking through J Street the other day, and I got a few hugs from some of the guys, said trip participant Mike Pellegrino. We got a lot closer.

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