April 17, 2014
Whether the organization is the men’s soccer team, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee or the Sigma Nu fraternity, Andrew Bobowski desires to be a leader at Albion College.
No amount of leadership skills, however, could prepare the sophomore from Rockwood, Michigan, to tackle his role-playing exercise as a Bolivian general. Whether or not it was the role of a lifetime, it was certainly a role to remember, as a group of Albion students in the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service traveled to the Big Apple recently for a Model United Nations competition hosted by New York University.
Model United Nations is a simulation of the organization’s General Assembly and other multinational bodies. Participants in the NYU competition were tasked with solving drug trafficking in the South American country at the start of the four-day event, and the pace picked up as the students were given additional scenarios.
“We were given a packet with general guidelines and I began by studying Bolivia’s relationship with other countries,” Bobowski said. “I paid attention to drug trafficking and cartels and their relationship to the economy; coming up with alternatives to prevent farmers from being hurt. And there was the component of not doing anything to upset other countries in the region.
“I spent a lot of time reading about current events, and it happened that riots broke out in the days leading up to the competition,” he added. “I knew quite a bit about the scenario.”
Albion’s club included Zac Crumb, Lindsey Marvin, Mariah Phelps, Taylor Sokoloskis, Ethan Sutton, and Dave Utrata, and it went into the NYU competition against students from Brown, Harvard, MIT, and Princeton who have trained in debate for years. Though the Albion club was shut out of awards, Bobowski said the New York experience left them wanting another opportunity to showcase their talent.
“As much as we were prepared we weren’t fully aware of the level of competition,” Bobowski said. “We can be competitive going forward, and I know we can win awards.”
Honing his debating skills with other members of Albion’s Model UN club three to four times per week and becoming knowledgeable about current events was just part of Bobowski’s busy schedule. The public policy and philosophy major was the starting goalkeeper in 15 men’s soccer contests last fall, and he is just as committed to helping the Britons achieve a place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament next fall.
“It’s not like I dumped soccer,” Bobowski said. “I’m still going to the Dow [Recreation and Wellness Center] five to six times a week to work out and practicing [with the team] three to four times a week.
“I slack more when I don’t have a busy schedule,” Bobowski added. “Soccer isn’t going to carry me to my life goals, but it is second most important behind my academic work. It is a stress relief to play the sport I love.”
Bobowski says he has plans for law school after graduating from Albion, and Model UN is just one experiential-learning activity he is using to gain an edge. He will intern this summer with the judge in Michigan’s 24th District Court in Allen Park.
“I don’t want to just be a member of organizations,” Bobowski said. “I want to be a leader. I want to be a leader in everything.
“The reason I came to Albion was for the small class sizes, the opportunity to know my teachers, and to be able to debate different issues – even if your ideas get shot down,” Bobowski said. “I’m more involved than I could have ever imagined.”