Starting your own Conference
Hosting a conference is a fun and rewarding experience that can help grow and develop your MUN team. Conferences come in all shapes and sizes, some with thousands of delegates from across the world and others with only a dozen students from a local school. There is nothing wrong with either approach and each has their own merit.
The first step to starting any MUN conference is deciding what type of conference it will be. There are several decisions to make here. Will it be an advanced conference, a novice, or for all skill ranges? Is it going to be staffed by your students or outside chairs? Some of the first things to decide are:
- One, two, or three day conference
- Having awards or pseudo-mock (no awards)
- Conference size
- Source of chairs
Hosting an MUN conference is a gradual and fluid process, so some or all of these decisions can and will change as the conference approaches, but it's good to have an end goal in mind as you plan even if that isn't the final result!
Setting a date is a crucial step to any MUN conference. The right date can make or break a conference based on attendance and convenience. When setting a date consider events such as SAT/ACT testing, other MUN conferences, holidays/breaks, etc. The goal is to ensure that everyone who wants to come can come.
After setting a date, work backwards to create an actionable timeline for your conference starting with head chair selections and ending with the conference. This involves the entire officer corps dividing work amongst themselves based on their job. Here is a sample of what BMUN includes in its timeline:
- Picking Head Chairs
- Deciding topics and committees
- Registration opening & invitation mailings
- Topic synopsis draft due dates
- Topic synopsis final draft due dates
- Position paper due dates
- Position paper grading deadlines
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of what needs to be done before conference, but a framework such as this is great to give structure to the process.
In addition to a conference timeline, officers (or secretariat) of the club should create similar timelines for their responsibilities. This is not only good for conference, but for general club management as well. Here is an example of our USG of special events timeline.
Logistics is the "behind the scenes" portion of planning an MUN conference. Everything from the flags at opening and closing ceremonies to the gavels the chairs use must be discussed, ordered, and dealt with. For a high school conference, this entails working closely with the administration, advisor, USG of Logistics, and Treasurer. The first step for logistics is booking rooms for conference. Before you can set the date you must be sure that you can book the rooms! Make sure that each room has the capacity you need for each committee, or limit committee sizes to the sizes of your rooms. Either way, it's important to have some space in the rooms for people to walk around during unmoderated caucus, so try to book rooms that have a higher capacity than the number of delegates.
Getting placards, gavels, flags, food, guest speakers, table cloths, and secretariat all together on the day of is a daunting task, which is why conferences sort out these details well in advance.
Hosting an MUN conference is one of the most incredible experiences of any MUNer, but this doesn't mean it won't be a challenge. There will be problems that the secretariat will need to handle at every conference. Things will fall through the cracks and issues will arise the day of. This is why there always must be non-chairing secretariat members. Traditionally, this includes the Secretary General, USG of Logistics, and another high ranking officer. Their job is communicating with Advisors and manage any issues that may arise during conference.
This is not a comprehensive guide of what goes into an MUN conference, but its a good place to start. If you have any questions about the process of putting on an MUN conference, please feel free to email the BMUN secretariat either at our USG emails, or through firstname.lastname@example.org.