Today’s guest post is by David Jason Gershkoff Slusky, a graduate student in the Department of Economics at Princeton University and a former president of the Yale International Relations Association, where he was also SCSY Secretary General and an award-winning member of MUNTY.
Click here to see his guest post last week on why grad students should do Model UN. In this post, he offers suggestions on how.
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So how do we get graduate students more involved in Model UN?
The main reason more graduate students aren’t involved in Model UN is that neither they nor the organizations have taken the initiative to ask. Here are some strategies for both sides to start reaching out…
1. Grad students can reach out locally. First, find out if your university has a Model UN club. Model UN might also be part of the International Relations club or a similar organization. See if they have a website with contact info for the organization’s leaders. Also look out for their general interest meetings at the beginning of the year or semester.
2. Grad students can look to their roots. Reach out to the current undergrads at your alma mater. See if there is any content they want an expert on, whether it’s you or someone you’re connected to. You can offer to link them up with professors at your university who can be guest speakers for them.
3. Grad students can get back in touch with old friends. Get (back) in touch with your Model UN cohort from high school or college who may be grad students elsewhere and already have relationships with a current college team. Find out how they’re involved and brainstorm with them different ways on how you get involved.
4. Model UN organizations can also reach out locally. Talk to the political science, economics, history, anthropology, area studies, law school, etc. departments and student groups on campus to see if any current grad students are interested. Pitch it to them as a way to deepen their campus involvement and utilize their expertise.
5. Model UN organizations can broaden their outreach. Include in your regular alumni newsletter a call to alumni who are graduate students to get involved. Give them options on how to be involved and at different levels of involvement.
Within those strategies, here are some suggestions for roles that grad students can take on within their Model UN clubs…
6. Be a guest speaker during Model UN conferences. Find out what committees and topics are being simulated and discussed. If you have expertise in that area, you can offer to give a short speech or a PowerPoint presentation, either to an individual committee or even to an entire conference.
7. Edit background materials or journal publications. Model UN organizations produce reams of committee background guides and some even edit their own quasi-academic publications of research. Offer to be a senior editor or an advisory board member. You can bring the caliber of their content to a new level.
8. Plan a crisis. The staff of crisis committees need to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about their topics in order to pull off crises properly. You can provide content expertise and vet different ideas they might have for a crisis. Your role here can range from a “guru” who helps review concepts and ensure details are realistic, all of the way up to a full blown crisis director or even multi-committee or secretariat-level crisis coordinator.
9. Prepare Model UN teams for conferences. Come in during a meeting or practice session and offer to do a Q&A on the country they’re representing or any topics in which you have expertise. If you have time, you can also offer to answer questions over email/Facebook or review position papers.
10. Meet the club leadership for lunch. Offer to share your knowledge, as well as your personal experiences, with members of the Model UN club over lunch or dinner. There may be ideas and programs that worked well when you were in college that the leadership hasn’t considered or isn’t sure how to do.
Do you have other strategies for getting grad students involved in your Model UN club? Let us know in the comments below!