MUNUC draws record turnout despite storm

The conference, held at the Palmer Center, hosted over 2,400 high school delegates.

By Madalyn Frigo

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Despite the blizzard, The Model United Nations of the University of Chicago (MUNUC) had its largest turnout to date at their 23rd conference this weekend, hosting over 2,400 high school delegates at the Palmer House in the South Loop.

As weather conditions shut down much of the city, MUNUC leaders were surprised to find that they broke previous attendance records anyway. “We were concerned for a while that we would have to take drastic action, but we didn’t need to. We had 80 percent of all attendees checked in on time, and only five schools out of 120 had to drop,” said MUNUC Secretary General and fourth-year Reece Trevor.

MUNUC is one of the largest RSOs on campus, with about 190 undergraduates involved. It organizes and holds national and international conferences for high school students meant to simulate those run by the United Nations.

MUNUC members say marketing efforts helped boost their numbers. “This year’s leadership has made an extreme push to move MUNUC out of the ’90s,” said Chief Administrative Officer of MUNUC and fourth-year Shirley Sierra.

They restructured the organization’s website, and hired a professional graphic designer to make the packets, folders, and papers distributed among students. “We did a lot to make sure the image was as professional as the conduct of our conference,” Trevor said.

While many colleges in the U.S. host similar conferences, Trevor said MUNUC prides itself on providing a different approach to simulating the United Nations.

“A lot of high school conferences do it in a very instrumental sense: You come to the conference to win awards and put it on your college application.” Trevor said. “We are first and foremost a pedagogical conference, which sets us apart and makes MUNUC a more rewarding experience than a lot of other conferences.

“We like to see MUNUC as something that gives students really essential leadership training. Unlike a trophy you win at other conferences and put on your shelf, the skills you get at MUNUC will stay with you forever,” Pramik said.