Club organizes bio-terrorism simulation
Carter Stevens ’13 stands up to propose solutions for the crisis situation.
Last Thursday, March 29, nine students in Diamond 141 considered the following scenario: the Frankfurt Airport is experiencing an act of bioterrorism. An aerosol canister was dropped in the airport, created a loud noise and proceeded to release a “white vapor.” As a central location of travel in Europe, the event could affect countless numbers of people if it is not contained and handled properly.
Six Colby Model United Nations (MUN) club members and three non-members participated in the bioterrorism simulation. The organizer and vice president of the Colby MUN Dan Sunderland ’14 said that the club wanted to increase its presence on campus and get more people involved. This simulation was a “user-friendly” way to go about accomplishing those goals.
Sunderland has a personal connection to this type of simulation, as he has participated in MUN for six years now, and had experienced simulations of this kind at Dartmouth College’s MUN conference when he was in high school. He gained “a lot of inspiration” for this event from his experiences with Darthmouth’s MUN. “I did try to make it as realistic as possible without being unreasonable,” Sunderland explained, describing how he used information he has picked up in MUN, classes and news articles to try to create a realisitic scenario.
Participants were asked to consider a specific bioterrorist attack on Frankfurt Airport and to respond with immediate thoughts. Students who wished to pose directives—actions that should be taken—placed their names on a rolling speakers list to facilitate discussion. Anything written down as directives took effect immediately, as time was not a constraint in this simulation. Sunderland had planned three updates to follow the initial information about the attack, describing more information that the “delegates” would need in order to properly handle the situation.
“I predicted there would be a few things that they would miss,” Sunderland said, but he “was pleasantly surprised. I expected to have more problems…[and expected to] have to guide them more,” but he said that the participants came up with directives that he “hadn’t even thought of.”
Colby MUN member Caroline Kiernan ’14 said that she “thought [the simulation] was really well executed and organized….I was glad to see a few people who were not in MUN at the simulation.”
Sunderland echoed Kiernan’s sentiments, saying that “any major has the potential to integrate into [the MUN] format.”
Non-MUN-member Amanda O’Malley ’14 said that she “felt the lack of structure to the simulation was good for newcomers like myself, but wasn’t nearly as focused or informative as I hoped.”
O’Malley explained that she “would’ve liked to get more background on bioterrorism...perhaps a quick slideshow on what exactly it is and how a realistic bioterrorist attack would unfold.” She said that although she doesn’t have time for MUN right now, “more simulations like this would be a good way to start [getting involved].”
“The simulation turned out better than I could have hoped,” Sunderland said. MUN is planning another simulation for this semester and more for the coming fall.