Many Model United Nations teams across the globe strive to provide individuals with an experience that is both educational and competitive. Teams prepare for and approach Model UN in a multitude of ways, and Best Delegate gathered a few unique perspectives from the New Jersey region to compare answers to the overarching question: How does your team approach Model UN? The drastic difference in approach to Model UN in these schools explains the diversity in preparation and performance demonstrated at conferences across the globe.
Bergen County Academies: In contrast to some of the other successful MUN teams, BCA Model UN harbors a different approach. Delegates at our school can show interest by taking a MUN elective or joining the MUN club. After completing either or both, they are given the opportunity to join our traveling team. Due to our extended school day which ends 4:10pm and because students live an average of 30 minutes+ from the school, practices as a team are extremely difficult. It’s not that we’re not serious; we just have a unique approach. Some schools only care about winning, but we strive for more – we want to learn how to solve problems in the world. BCA’s vision of making the world a better place- whether in committee in the lab, or in the court house – is what ultimately drives our success. We still want to win; not for the gavel, but rather for the world.
–Winnie Lau & Josh Meier, Members of the Bergen County Academies MUN team
Hillsborough High School: Our UN sessions are held over the course of two weeks. The first week is dedicated to a “work session,” which includes discussion and resolution writing, and the second week features the debate over that topic. Students gain confidence, knowledge and skill through this process, and are thereby more prepared for participating at the 4-day conferences we attend. Younger members learn by watching and emulating the more experienced members and improve steadily via regular participation. Far more important than the awards is the ability to think on their feet, speak in public, and deal with people with different approaches while competing in MUN.
–Bob Fenster, advisor of Hillsborough High School MUN
JP Stevens High School: JPSMUN is pretty unique in its approach to Model UN. While our delegates are very well-versed in their knowledge of global politics and economics, we try to introduce a typical MUN element very differently in committee, and that element is passion. We hold house meetings to coordinate strategy, share our experiences, and tackle the issues presented in each background guide as a team. We work with each other, constantly providing feedback and improving in a nurturing environment focused on improvement, and not criticism. We ensure that delegates are genuinely interested in their topics and committees, and are prepared to devote large amounts of time to preparing for each conference.
-Avinash Saraf, Vice President of JPSMUN
West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North: North MUN approaches MUN with the traditional concept of “practice makes perfect”. We have meetings two times every week to work on skills needed to succeed in conferences. We like to promote rigorous competition between members yet provide lots of individual attention. The officers keep track and record the strengths and weaknesses of each delegate and constantly work to improve training. Our primary goal is to see every delegate improve as a self-motivated individual. For our team, conference preparation is also vital. In the weeks approaching a conference, the officers give more individual attention to delegates attending the conference to help them develop unique solutions and strategies for his/her topics and committee. Persistent training, individual attention, teamwork, and a competitive flavor are the main components that make our club great and extremely proud to compete as one of the top schools in the nation.
–Gopal Velagala & Paul Lee, Vice Presidents of NorthMUN
West Windsor- Plainsboro High School South: SouthMUN is unique from many other schools in the fact that we do not have regular meetings or practice sessions. All work is done outside of school, and have found this strategy conducive to our success, as members are able to research as much or as little as they need to be successful. This allows our club to be accessible to anyone, even those with other major time commitments such as athletics, music, or work. In effect, this has lead to our club developing into a diverse and collaborative group. We call ourselves a MUN dynasty because we leverage the experiences and guidance of our upperclassmen and alumni to help develop our younger members. Beyond awards, we pride ourselves on shaping delegates into confident, informed, and self motivated leaders.
–Prashant Sharma, President of SouthMUN