College Leadership Summit Meeting Notes: Improving the Crisis Committee Experience

by KFC on April 9, 2012

I was able to host a College Leadership Summit at ChoMUN this past weekend. It was intended to be a continuation of the discussions that have taken place at previous summits at NCSC and McMUN on the broader issues on the circuit but with a focus on crisis committees since ChoMUN is a crisis-oriented conference. Although the summit was much smaller in attendance, it did produce good dialogue and ideas to address those issues. My hope is that conference organizers and delegates take note of some of the possible solutions presented in the meeting notes here and to figure out how the circuit can continue to communicate their issues and ideas going forward.

1. How can head delegates do a better job preparing delegates for a circuit that increasingly focuses on crisis committees?

  • Basic crisis training materials need to be shared. One example is teaching delegates on how to effectively communicate with crisis via notes to prevent delegate frustration when crisis does not respond to the notes.
  • Delegates need to be taught on how to manage their role as a less influential cabinet member. Delegates have figured out how to use a small country effectively in UN committees but feel powerless when they have a minor cabinet role.
  • Delegates need to understand that certain crises are solved with collective action while others require individual action.
  • Delegates need to understand that there are three crisis tree styles: instigative crises where creative delegate actions drive the crisis, balanced crisis tree with pre-set possible responses plus escalators or calming factors, or linear storyline without many alternate options meant to accurately re-simulate most of history.
  • Delegates need to figure out that crisis tends to play on a converging thesis or a thematic tension.

2. What can conferences do to make the crisis experience and conference experience in general better?

  • Delegates want transparency more than standardization in rules of procedure since crisis committees may have innovative rules
  • Rules of procedure should be published in the background guide and the chair should walk through it at the beginning of committee to set expectations and answer questions.
  • Conferences could balance portfolio powers by giving the minor cabinet roles more individual crises if they do not have the ability to react to certain collective crises. ChoMUN does this by sorting cabinet members into their ability to respond to different group crises and supplementing the minor roles with individual crises.
  • Having a novice committee in some of the Fall conferences may be a way for delegates to learn the basics of crisis committees.
  • Crisis trees should undergo feedback by the entire crisis staff so that it is more robust in terms of possible actions and options.
  • Conferences should have a specialist to deal with hotel logistics — the biggest issues are checking in to many rooms at once and obtaining bloc rooms to minimize disruption caused by delegates socializing

3. How can we do a better job in engaging with alumni, BestDelegate.com, and college MUN leadership?

  • There’s a potential initiative led by Georgetown alum Michael Karno to create an online platform for alumni to communicate
  • Alumni are valuable as subject matter experts to help with developing a committee or crisis, to serve as keynote speakers, and to speak on career panels
  • Delegates want BestDelegate.com to focus on list of conferences, list of events, and re-sort the articles into more of a training curriculum
  • The college leadership summit idea is useful but may not be effective in its current format. There may be some burnout from its lack of action and head delegates have made it a lower priority.
  • We will need to find a better time and format for this type of meeting. Delegates mentioned possibly having a Fall meeting at NCSC to open the season and a Spring meeting at ChoMUN to close the season.

Feel free to share your thoughts about these ideas in the comments!

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