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Conference Previews: BruinMUN and SMUNC

by KFC on November 10, 2010

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Conference Previews

This weekend is one of the Top 10 Weekends of the Model UN season with twelve conferences taking place across North America. Best Delegate previewed the Northeast and college conferences earlier this week. Today, Best Delegate will take a look at the two premier high school conferences on the West Coast – UCLA’s BruinMUN and Stanford’s SMUNC. Also, Best Delegate will be liveblogging at BruinMUN this weekend! We love to meet our readers. Come find us to get featured!

University of California, Los Angeles’ BruinMUN

BruinMUN is held on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles and is considered to be one of the largest and most prestigious conferences on the high school circuit. The conference features 17 traditional UN committees with double delegations in each committee (besides the cabinets). NATO, the IMF, and the Human Rights Council being new to the conference lineup this year and the joint crisis cabinets will be between North Korea and South Korea which should make for some fun crises. The conference is led by Jennifer Patton who is in her second year serving as Secretary-General.

We saw many of the traditional Californian powerhouses — Mira Costa, Huntington Beach, Cerritos, Santa Margarita, Tustin, and Mission Viejo — win Best Delegation awards at the Edison High School Model United Nations Conference (EHSMUN) last month. How will their varsity teams stack up against each other at UCLA? And will another team steal the show?

*Liveblog Alert*Best Delegate‘s Parsa Sobhani will be liveblogging the conference this weekend! Parsa is excited to be back at his alma mater and visit a conference that he was Secretary-General of for two years.

Stanford Model United Nations Conference (SMUNC)

Stanford will be hosting its growing SMUNC conference at its campus in Palo Alto, California. The conference lineup features 23 committees and is known for having some crisis aspects to most of its committees which are medium-sized or small/cabinet-sized. Some of the unique ones include: Summit of World Leaders 2025, International Council of Museums, British Parliament starting in 1775 to address the American rebellion, Warner Brothers Board of Directors to address a Harry Potter film controversy, and the White House Task Force on DC Public Schools. The joint crisis cabinets will be between Turkey and Cyprus in 1974. Petr Johanes is the Secretary-General of this year’s conference. You can get updates on the conference from their Twitter feed, @SMUNC2010.

Northern California upstarts Gunn High School and California High School just went head-to-head at the Contra Costa County Model United Nations Conference last weekend and will be back in action along with high schools from throughout California. Who will come out on top this time?


Best Delegate will be previewing the Southern showdown conferences tomorrow: William & Mary’s WMHSMUN, the SUSMUN conference in Atlanta, Georgia State’s GSUMUN, and Centreville High School’s CENMUN.


Tip of the Day

Every conference has different philosophies, judging styles, and values in its awards criteria. Someone who is a Best Delegate understands that not winning awards is not necessary due to the bias of the chair but more likely because their performance did not match the chair’s philosophy of judging and values. Therefore, Best Delegates understand the need to research their conference.

Using UCLA is an example, here is the BruinMUN conference philosophy. Delegates should also be aware that BruinMUN uses a modified scoring method instead of holistic judging in determining awards.


We want to hear from the Californian powerhouse rivals. Let us know if you’re attending BruinMUN or SMUNC in the comments!

  • Ryan

    KFC gives an interesting tip for delegates from the East Coast visiting West Coast conferences and vice versa.

    East Coast conferences tend to score delegates holistically — at the end of the day, chairs make a list of the top delegates in their committees and rank them accordingly.

    In contrast, many West Coast conferences score delegates on their speeches, comments, and activity during unmoderated caucus. In other words, delegates are scored not just on quality, but also quantity — this system rewards delegates who are constantly active in committee. It makes delegates extra competitive in committee because they believe that every speech/comment/action counts.

  • KFC

    To add on to Ryan’s point, at many conferences in the West Coast where a scoring system is in place, one additional action (i.e. 5 extra points) could push you over the top into an awards category. However, UCLA has in the past used a modified scoring system takes into account total points and average points per category.

    Therefore, a delegate making an additional speech can bump their score up, but if the speech was not very good, it could actually drag their overall score down because their average speech score would decrease. This provision was added in because at large conferences like UCLA, it wouldn’t be fair for a delegate to get an extra opportunity through luck when the chair happened to call on them but didn’t have enough time to call on everyone else through a “round” of scoring.

  • Brian

    Gunn came out on top, by the skin of their teeth

  • Anonymous

    Both conferences desire to produce a good product. However, actions speak louder than words. Both have poor to often inexperienced chairs. They are MUN clubs/ teams that have poorly attended meetings / trainings and are much more social than serious. They mainly use the conferences to generate funds, as so many others for their own college conference MUN trips. Big committees are cash cows and usually the worst ran.

    The scoring is not a big deal bc the chairs are often so topic poor in knowledge that being prepared can seem foolish. Thus rhetoric and flummery reign supreme. Knowledge of the rules and running a committee is just as haphazzard or chaotic. Closing ceremonies are often very long and self congratulatory. We were charged an extra 300.00 in over time fees for our buses 2 years ago at Bruin MUN and almost missed our flt at Stanford a few years back.

    Both have the potential to be great. Especially UCLA which has had its high points in the past. As stated however they have little REAL commitment to the HS MUN teams want and need.These would be quality debate, knowledgeable chairs in topic, POLICY and rules, solid venue (UCLA is on their campus and a ,great asset Stanford sometimes is), assignments early and on time, NO Overlaps, hold advisor meetings that they listen to vs condescending hand holding sessions.

    Serious leaderhip and the recriuting of knowledgeable chairs / staff could quickly ameliorate these problems and return at least UCLA perhaps Stanford to a desired position of HS MUN conference prominence. Schools vote with wallets and feet.

    R Timberlake

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