The fact that the vast majority of MUN clubs remain entirely inactive during the duration of the summer vacation is a tragic missed opportunity. By continuing activities in the summer, Model UN clubs will be better prepared for the next upcoming school year and able to maximize social cohesion. While MUN clubs could simply extend their regular activities into the summer, this is generally impractical because of members’ other commitments (camps, vacations, summer jobs/internships). Instead, MUN clubs would be better served by fewer, yet more targeted events during the summer months. There are three types of events that Model UN clubs will benefit from holding in the summer: practices, lessons, and socials.
Holding practices as events where the primary goal is improvement of practical Model UN skills through use is a fantastic way to provide students with opportunities to gain committee experience even when it’s not conference season. Practices could include simulations, practice resolution writing for non-political topics, or speech writing workshops. In order to get a greater variety of feedback for participants, clubs could invite alumni to attend. The great thing about practices is that they target a wide variety of participants, from people considering joining the Model UN club in the future to returning participants looking to sharpen their skills.
When delegates are away from Model UN for whole months at a time, it can be difficult to get back into the mindset once August hits; however, this obstacle can be avoided entirely by hosting as few as 2-3 practice sessions over the summer.
Your students will thank you for the added edge once the first conference arrives.
Lessons are activities with the primary purpose of educational instruction, executed by means of a lecture from an expert or an orientation for people new to Model UN. Lectures should cover critical MUN skills, such as speech delivery and structuring, resolution writing, lobbying strategies, bloc leadership skills, chairing tips, and crisis staffing logistics. Clubs also have the option of inviting local politicians, diplomats, or government employees involved in other globally relevant topics to speak about their area of expertise. Bringing in a speaker can be expensive if he/she isn’t known personally; but, it can be an excellent investment in terms of inciting motivation into students. Lessons can also be open to the broader school community, in order to draw in people who may be interested but not yet involved in Model UN.
In the late summer, clubs will benefit greatly from hosting an orientation session in order to raise awareness about both the club and the activity. An orientation session will kickstart the club bonding process as well as provide an opportunity to communicate practical information such as conference dates, simulation preparation guidelines, and attendance policies. Effective communication between club leadership and club members is essential to every functioning club, and that starts in the summertime.
Finally, socials are the easiest activity to hold because they are completely void of an academic purpose. For this reason, they may seem less important; yet, they can accomplish lots in terms of heightening sentiments of camaraderie and boosting member retention. Club socials can range from small get-togethers to larger parties. When done well, social events can foster a greater sense of community within a Model UN club. Remember that bonded teams are more likely to support each other and work towards delegation awards.
Many may say that their club is too small to remain active in the summer, but schools with small clubs can always host events in cooperation with other related clubs at their school or other Model UN clubs in the area. In general, MUN clubs will always benefit from increasing their summer activities. The best strategy for summer club engagement will vary depending on the school, the size of the club, and the degree of competitiveness that the club embodies; but, however you decide to implement them, summer activities will only work to your advantage in terms of optimizing your team’s success once the school year arrives.