Boston College Model United Nations (BC MUN) welcomed over 500 delegates from around the world to its second annual Eagle Model United Nations Conference (MUNC) at the Westin Copley Plaza hotel in downtown Boston last weekend.
Scott Brown, former senator from Massachusetts and BC Law ’85, delivered the keynote address to the conference, which was held off-campus for its second year and attracted over 300 more delegates than it did in its first year.
Schools came to the Westin from as far away as India and Turkey, and many of the schools represented were Jesuit institutions, said Braeden Lord, secretary general of Eagle MUNC, secretary of BC MUN, and A&S ’15.
In a little over two years, BC MUN has grown from 15 members to over 280 members and is now the largest student organization on campus. Eagle MUNC has grown at an equally fast rate. In its second year, the conference had more than 100 staff across four departments-external affairs, finance, administration, and political affairs.
Lord credits that growth to the organization’s ability to attract students from all majors and its aggressive publicity strategy. For the conference, Lord and other executives created a unique 40-hour simulation program that assigned delegates specific roles and immersed them in those roles for two days.
During the simulation, delegates were subject to all the complexities of political life-at any time during the conference they were called to give press conferences or interviews, attend subcommittee meetings and crisis councils, or attend fundraising galas. Each delegate even had his or her own website account.
This real-life simulation, coupled with a keynote address by Brown, who is expected to bid for New Hampshire’s senate seat in the fall, made the conference internationally attractive. Lord said the conference is the largest student-run financial event outside of UGBC concerts.
“As [Brown] became more and more of a relevant figure with the New Hampshire campaign, it helped drive registrants to our conference,” Lord said.
Planning for the conference usually begins the spring before, so the organization has an entire year to plan the event’s logistics. School registration began on May 1, 2013, but teams could register as late as March 1, 2014.
“Before we knew it, it was conference time and we packed one of Boston’s largest hotels full of 14- to 18-year-olds,” Lord said. “It was an amazing experience.”
The first Eagle MUNC, held on-campus for one day last year, registered 162 delegates. This year’s conference welcomed over 500 delegates, and was close to being financially self-sufficient, according to Lord.
Unlike the conferences hosted by Harvard and Boston University (BU), which bring together thousands of delegates, Eagle MUNC aims to keep the experience smaller. The average committee contains about 20 delegates, which allows students to have a more hands-on experience.
“We try to be more accessible financially, but also more experiential with the educational content we create so that it’s a more realistic experience,” Lord said.
Simulations included general assemblies that simulated world organizations such as the World Health Organization, modern day committees that simulated the UN Security Council, the U.S. Senate, the Asian Joint Forum, and crisis committees that simulated specific historical crises. Topics ranged from regulating international banking to debating energy policy bills to responding to King Phillip’s War.
Each delegate was assigned to a specific simulation and played a specific role during the entire conference.
Lord is stepping down as Eagle MUNC’s secretary general after helping to grow the conference for the past two years. Mike Keefe, Student Assembly member and A&S ’16, will take over for next year’s conference. Lord said the executive board will focus on evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of Eagle MUNC II and then move onto planning the third conference.
“The drive never stops when you have to compete with schools like Harvard and Boston University that have 60-year-old conferences with 3,000 delegates,” he said.