What is Model United Nations?
Model United Nations is an extracurricular activity that allows students to strengthen their knowledge and broaden their perspective over global issues through role-playing as delegates within the actual United Nations. Students are given the opportunity to develop not only their research and public speaking skills, but also their critical thinking abilities when challenged with difficult topics concerning multiple countries, people groups, issues, etc. The stimulating and competitive environment intrigues students to work hard and find the best solution to their issue.
Registration takes place beginning in March or April for schools that have attended before and ends in May. New schools may be added off of a waiting list in May if space is available. We would love to allow everyone who wants to attend our conference the opportunity to do so. However, there is a physical limit to the amount of students that can attend our conference due to the limited number of desks in each classroom. The earlier your school expresses interest in attending our conference, the more likely we will be able to accommodate your request.
When attending a conference, the advisor must ensure that all students are registered and prepared to participate come the day of the conference. There are fees to participate in MUN conferences, and they should be payed prior to the conference. Additionally, advisors should review the amount of students they want to register and compare that to the amount of countries available per committee. You should plan student assignment accordingly for both single delegate and dual delegate committees based on the number of available spots.
When placing students in committee, it is advisable to follow our “best practice” guidelines which is available on our website. You want to fill each country whenever possible before allowing students to sign up for another country. For example, let’s say you have requested 16 spots in the NOT Freshman committees. You are given two countries – perhaps “Angola” and “Mexico” – and now you should fill all of the spots for one country, “Mexico,” before you fill the spots for “Angola”. This method ensures that country spots can be returned and distributed to another school if you have less students attending the conference than originally planned. This also ensures that the size of each committee remains relatively uniform and students can be evenly spread throughout each room.
In order to be successful at any MUN conference – whether novice or advanced – a delegate must be prepared and know a substantial amount of information about the topic at hand. This requires the delegate to conduct research prior to the conference, enabling them to prepare speeches, comments, and, most importantly, solutions. It is vital for students to both know their topic and be familiar with the country and its policies which they are representing. In novice committees at SOCOMUN, most delegates will be new and have a limited amount of time to prepare. Our conference focuses on encouraging all delegates to participate without marking any delegate down for being “off policy.” We certainly want to educate and steer debate in the correct direction, but we believe that encouraging everyone to participate is our primary job at this conference.
Additionally, our conference is technology friendly. We encourage all delegates to bring and use a laptop computer, tablet, and other electronic devices for the purpose of taking notes, researching, and drafting solutions. We will have free Wi-Fi available all day to students and advisors with no passwords needed. We will also be providing computer access for delegates without laptops in our library.
Day of the Conference
The day of the conference is when the delegates’ hard work shall be rewarded. The faculty advisor needs to check-in their school in at the registration table in front of the lunch shelter. There will be student greeters at the front and back of the school that can direct you. Typically, a conference starts with an opening ceremony. The ceremony is not very long and consist of the Secretary General (student leader in charge of the conference) informing everyone about any announcements as well as general information. After the opening ceremonies, the students are dismissed to their committees. Committee Chairs will meet all delegates in the lunch shelter and guide them to their committee rooms. Delegates should check the conference program online prior to the conference and have access to their committee room number and campus map in case they become separated from the group. Advisors might want to print out a copy of the program to have with them throughout the day. It is all available online on our website or by clicking this link here. Again, we have free Wi-Fi to access all online information, but many advisors still prefer a printed copy to digital.
Once committee starts, it is time for the delegates to show their knowledge and introduce their solutions to the committee. Committee typically consists of moderated and unmoderated caucuses, speeches, comments/questions, points and motions. Each delegate should familiarize themselves with the different points/motions prior to the conference. If the student is well prepared for committee, they should know enough information about the topic and the committee to stay engaged and continually participate throughout the day. SOCOMUN will have all of the speaker’s lists posted online so advisors can see which of their delegates are speaking in which committees. Advisors will also have access to score sheets throughout the day so they can monitor their students’ progress in committee. After the conference, the score sheets will be made available to the delegates to.
The day of the conference usually finishes in the afternoon with closing ceremonies where the awards are announced and everyone is dismissed. A student can win a commendation (lowest level), an outstanding, or a best delegate (highest level – only one per committee) award. Every committee bestows an award to the students scoring in that range for that particular kind of award. The range of points needed to receive each award is different for each committee. The SOCOMUN conference has a very generous policy with awards. We are known to give a lot out to every committee. We want to encourage as many delegates as possible to continue to participate in MUN in the future. With that being said, delegates should not be discouraged if they didn’t win an award. MUN should also be about learning, growth, and giving your best effort possible on that day.
After a long day at a MUN conference, a delegate should reflect on their performance at the conference and how they can potentially improve for their next one. Did they do as well as they thought they did? What were some interesting things that the student observed other delegates doing, and should they consider using those ideas in the future? Was the delegate as prepared as they would have liked to be? What tactics were effective in committee and could be beneficial to use in the future? By reflecting on the conference, a student learns to recognize their achievements as well as the areas that they fell short, and use this knowledge to better themselves for the next conference.