Widener Students Take on Key Roles in European Union Simulation in Brussels
Each year, Widener University students spend months preparing to assume roles as part of EuroSim – one of the largest simulations of the European Union. With help from faculty, they learn how their assigned roles as major European political actors would respond to key issues affecting the European Union.
But, this January, Elexis Kenny, a junior political science and international relations major, was surprised when two days before the simulation in Brussels, Belgium, her role changed after another participant could no longer attend. She stepped into a leadership role as director of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. It was a key position since this year's simulation topic was border security.
The leadership skills Kenny acquired at Widener helped her succeed in the last-minute role change at EuroSim 2018 in Brussels, Belgium, and she was awarded "Best Special Role" out of approximately 150 participants from universities in Europe and North America.
"I was so surprised to receive the award," Kenny said. "EuroSim is a great opportunity to learn how to go into a room and feel confident to take on a leadership role. You really learn to put yourself out there."
"The students spent half a semester in the fall preparing for their roles," Jones said. "By the time they arrived at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Brussels, they were able to analyze legal questions and form political positions, while sharpening their rhetorical skills."
The Widener delegation played important roles in the four-day simulation. Aidan Hostetter, a junior majoring in political science, international relations and French, was chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Committee and minister for the Interior for Bulgaria.
It was his third year at EuroSim – and each year, he said he learns even more skills in policy-making and international negotiations.
"You have to really get to know your role and their viewpoints," Hostetter said. "You have to perfect negotiation skills and learn to compromise."
Miranda Burke, a junior political science and international relations major, agreed. The political science department at Widener and her experiences at EuroSim have helped her become more comfortable with public speaking – a skill she says will be of use when she pursues a law degree in the future.
"Widener has helped me find my voice and find the confidence to speak in front of a lot of people," she said. "I really had to push myself in the role of prime minister of Bulgaria."
Widener's delegation also included Jordan Lucas, a senior international relations major; Kyle Schreiber, a senior political science major; and Matthew Stellfox, a senior political science major.
After the simulation, the group explored Belgium with trips to tour the European Parliament and the city of Ghent.
The next EuroSim will take place at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York from March 28 – 31, 2019. It is open to students from any major, and since it is in the United States, freshman are eligible to participate. Students who are interested can contact Jones at email@example.com.