Sunday committee sessions are ridiculous at most conferences. A time to destress after a long weekend of debate, Sunday sessions quickly devolve into superlative awards, poetry recitals, sleeping, the occasional dance-off, and, of course, invading other committees.
Sundays cheapen an intensive academic experience in a matter of two hours.
I understand the need for Sunday sessions from a conference organizer perspective. I remember serving on secretariats and frantically pulling together the closing ceremonies awards slide deck, printing award certificates, writing speeches, and pushing hotel staff to set up ballrooms. Sunday morning committee sessions give conference staff invaluable time to prepare for the pomp and pageantry that is a closing ceremony.
Therefore I offer three alternative suggestions for Sunday committees.
Run an Actual Committee Sessions
This is a shocking idea for sure, but how about actually running a proper committee session? I know many secretariat members plead with their staff to run a proper committee for at least one hour; however, we all know this never happens. And when it does, another committee usually ends up busting through the doors and throwing paper at everyone.
One of the worst experiences I’ve ever had on Sunday resulted from lack of chair discipline. (Don’t worry, I do not intend to reveal the conference). At the end of sessions on Saturday, we had not voted on draft resolutions. As a committee, we voted to recess so that we did not have to rush through voting in the last five minutes. A wise choice. The following morning, the chair clearly lost all interest in the debate and we rushed through voting in 10 minutes so that we could “have fun.” For me, it ruined the entire conference experience, and I was not alone in feeling foolishly heartbroken that our work product did not matter to the dais.
Organize a Networking Event for Committees
Maybe you do not want to run a proper session on Sunday because you believe it provides an opportunity for members of the committee to interact in a less stressful, non-Model UN way. I can buy that point. If this is the case, I propose conferences leverage this unmet need.
On Sunday, one or more committees should use their final hours to network with one another. Trade contact information and have meaningful interactions with one another before they scatter back to their homes. This would not take a great deal of effort from conference organizers and could help in setting up closing ceremonies. Clear the large ballrooms in favor of a few tables and let delegates mingle in the light of day (opposed to the mingling of Saturday night).
Let Delegates Sleep, Check-out, and Eat Breakfast
Finally, maybe you just agree with me and want to see Sunday committees banished from Model UN conferences. You hate pulling yourself out of bed to make it to committee; you hate rushing to pack everything at the last minute; you’re annoyed that you can to check out of the hotel room and lug your baggage with you to committee; and you hate sitting bored in a committee room for two hours. Got it.
Conferences need buffer time on Sunday morning to prepare for closing ceremonies and cancelling session on Sunday does not have to effect this. Give delegates the time to recover from the previous night, check-out of their rooms without having to rush, and eat breakfast! Conferences will still have the time they need and the hotel staff will have more time to breakdown committee rooms; a genuine win-win scenario.
What do you think about Sunday committee sessions? Do you live for superlative awards? Is the highlight of your weekend reading the haiku you’ve been working on for two days? Let us know in the comments below!