Last year we wrote about how to recruit top talent to your school’s Model UN team. But how do you even get students to notice Model United Nations at a student activities fair when there are so many other clubs seeking the attention of all these ambitious students?
Here are five tactics derived from actions that best delegates use in committee that can be applied to make your Model UN club stand out to students:
1. Display a photo board.
Best delegates are able to clearly frame their resolution when they explain it to others and other delegates will remember what that resolution is about. There’s always a primary clause (also known as a “hedgehog clause” for those who’ve read our book) that makes the resolution stand out from the rest, and then there are also other clearly defined supporting clauses.
A photo board is like a powerful resolution that will make your table stand out. People are naturally attracted by pictures because they show proof of how cool or fun the club can be. You can choose to use a tri-fold board to make this photo board — frame it by putting photos of Model UN in action in the large center column, and then put other themed activities on the left and right side columns. Themed activities could be social, cultural, educational, or service events that your club did outside of going to conferences.
2. Tie balloons to your table.
Some of the best delegates in committee like do something that makes them physically stand out. This can be wearing a pin of the country’s flag or wearing an appropriate tie to match the mood of the committee, for example. On the college level, West Point delegates tend to make others swoon by wearing their uniforms in committee.
Having balloons tied to your table is all it takes to make your table stand out. Balloons are cheap, look fun, and can be used to convey meaning (use UN light blue to relate your table to the real UN or use your school colors to show how Model UN is one of the school’s premier competitive teams). When no one else is using this simple tactic, balloons are essentially the equivalent of wearing a West Point uniform.
Bonus tip: for a more literal equivalent of wearing a uniform, have all the officers wear the same Model UN club T-shirt. People like seeing unity in organizations and the T-shirts convey some type of exclusivity compared to the casual clothes everyone else is wearing, so students will be curious to talk to someone in one of the shirts.
3. Have multiple officers recruiting.
The best delegates in committees do not do all the work but rather empower a diverse team of other delegates to help them. Delegates may not necessarily feel comfortable negotiating with a particular power delegate, but perhaps they may be more open to speaking with that power delegate’s ally.
In recruiting, you want to make sure you have multiple officers and even club members helping you recruit. People join clubs partially by how comfortable they feel about who’s already in them, and having different members pitch your club gives you more opportunities to relate to different people. It also prevents the club from being stereotyped (e.g. it’s nerdy or not fun or not diverse) based on the few officers that were there.
4. Pass out flyers.
The best delegates in committees are always the ones that are sponsoring the resolutions, and it’s their document that gets circled around before voting. By then, everyone knows what that sponsor’s resolution is about.
Similarly, you want to make sure you have a flyer that stands out from all the other flyers that students are going to collect. People need to know what Model UN is about (they will forget after speaking to so many club officers). The flyers should include three pieces of information: what Model UN is, why people should join, and when/where is the first meeting.
Bonus tip: flyers that have a funny theme or a prestigious theme to it tend to grab more attention. Be creative! Puns work well too.
Extra bonus tip: tape up flyers in the shape of the words “Model UN” on wall in a high-traffic area. The spelling will catch people’s attention!
5. Display your club banner.
The best delegates don’t just stand out in committee — they brand themselves. These delegates carry a reputation for being excellent delegates before they even start in committee and other delegates know who they are.
A club banner is probably one of the best things to invest in. Putting it in front of your table not only makes it stand out but it also conveys that your club is established and prestigious (especially if no one else has banners). Banners are also re-usable in many other events such as the club yearbook photo, post-conference awards photos, etc.
What else does your club do to catch the attention of new members?