Given the ongoing circumstances regarding COVID-19, the Model UN community finds itself amidst rampant conference cancellations, the inability to host regular club meetings, and a general low morale level given the inactivity of Model UN in these trying times. With an activity that holds the value of community to be so high, isolation and social distancing is especially difficult for aficionados of Model UN. But, frankly, when the future remains so uncertain as to when life will return to normal, we must be swift in our capacity to adapt to the constantly changing circumstances and do what we can to keep the Model UN sphere active and progressive. Getting back in the Model UN mindset requires that Model UN leaders step up and lead their teams to success as best they can. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to sustain the activity of every Model UN club while the world remains in isolation, and prepare delegates for success and confidence once the 2020-21 season finally arrives.
1. Stay in regular contact with Model UN team members.
Even if the conversation does not involve formal meetings, maintaining regular communication amongst club members is critical to the team’s survival. Do not underestimate the value of team camaraderie and collective motivation. Scheduling online video chat calls, keeping the group chat alive, and reaching out one-on-one to individual club members are all ways to stay connected while in quarantine. Again, the content of this communication does not necessarily need to be Model UN related: check in with fellow team members and have some fun times together to keep spirits high and team bonding on the upward trend.
2. Focus on research-oriented activities.
Running committee simulations online is difficult with Model UN due to the dynamic nature of the activity: short speaking times, the collective writing process, and, of course, the chaos of unmoderated caucuses. A great alternative way to improve your team’s performance is by focusing some time on Model UN research and conference preparation. When it comes to improving as a competitive delegate in pursuit of awards and success in committee, proper research is step zero: even the most nuanced strategies will fall useless without strong research to back it up. So, if you are a club leader trying to continue training novice delegates for the coming 2020-21 season, put out some activities regarding things like reliable sources for Model UN research, how to navigate the infamously expansive UN website, and how to prep a solution set for a given topic. These topics are natural segue into discussions of position paper and resolution writing, which can also easily be taught remotely.
3. Work ahead to plan for the 2020-21 Model UN season.
Making plans for the future may feel like a pointless waste of time when so much regarding the next upcoming months remains uncertain. That being said, the quarantine and social distancing will come to an end at some point, and according to the data projections we have at this time, it is likely that the regularly scheduled Model UN season–centered from January until March–will proceed as per usual for the 2020-21 season. Every club leader, Head Delegate, or Faculty Advisor is familiar with the standard tasks that must be executed prior to the academic year in order for a Model UN club to run. So, dive into that budgeting spreadsheet, brainstorm some new recruitment strategies, map out the logistics for a few fundraising events, and put in the hours during this bonus time so that you don’t have to do it once August rolls around. Your future self (and fellow team members) will thank you, and it will be fun to get back in the Model UN mindset for a bit.
In the midst of widespread conference cancellations, it is of the utmost importance that the Model UN community band together and continue moving forward with motivation and excitement for what is to come. At All-American, we are approaching these weeks of quarantine as an opportunity to continue improving our offerings for the 2020-21 season, and show some love for the distressed Model UN community. Hang in there, and remember that there are always ways to stay plugged-in to the world of Model UN, even while prioritizing the health and safety of our fellow citizens.
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