How to Dress Business Professional

The phrase “business professional dress” or “Western business professional” is one of those things that so incredibly subjective that it pretty much means nothing. That being said, here are some rules that we tend to follow when we hear this.

Before we get into this, a little note. We are big feminists. Wear whatever you want in life if it makes you feel good. That being said, there are certain things that are/aren’t appropriate in certain situations, as deemed so by society (not us). People will also 100% judge you for what you wear, as much as we wish they wouldn’t. This is sadly the world we live in. This is just us telling you (with a lot of love) what we tend to see on the circuit as far as dress code goes.

A few general rules for everyone in Western business dress:

  • Take out the tacking stitch in your jacket. For the love of everything, please do this. It is Carol’s number one pet peeve. This is a tacking stitch if you are confused. (Source)
  • Tuck in your shirt unless debate is so heated that you’re sweaty and need to cool down.
  • Please wear socks if your shoes warrant them.
  • No sneakers.
  • No T-shirts.
  • No jeans (unless its Sunday business casual, but that’s a whole other topic).

A few general rules for the ladies in Western business dress:

  • Knee-length (or at least almost knee-length) skirts or dresses.
  • Slacks that aren’t aggressively tight like leggings.
  • A generally modest shirt that isn’t too low-cut.
  • No spaghetti strap shirts without a jacket over them.
  • Optional blazer.
  • No t-shirts.
  • Closed-toe shoes – This is a huge point of contention between the three of us. We love a good, classy, strappy sandal with a sensible heel, and Kyla loves her peep-toe shoes. But for some reason closed-toe shoes are the norm.
  • Heels of a sensible height with no aggressive platforms.
  • No fishnets (you’d think we wouldn’t have to say this but we’ve seen some stuff).

A few general rules for the gentlemen in Western business dress:

  • A good suit is a good thing and you should have one.
  • Tuck in your shirt.
  • Wear either suspenders or a belt. Not both.
  • Undershirts help with sweat.
  • Match your shoes with your belt.
  • Probably learn how to tie a tie.
  • If you’re wearing a tie, make sure it’s not too long or too short. (Source)
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With these guidelines, you should easily be able to stay within the reasonable bounds of committee appropriate dress. Being appropriate doesn’t mean you can’t still look fly as hell. Maybe we will do a follow up article on our favorite conference outfits… food for thought. Regardless, if you have any really good conference looks, DM them to us @mun01podcast on Insta for a potential feature!

As always, email us at mun01.business@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or concerns!

How to Research a Crisis Position

Researching for a Model UN committee. Some love it, some hate it. Some think deep research is an invaluable part of preparing and some like to just cover the basics and see what they can do on the fly, in the room. I’m a part of the former camp, but regardless of your feelings on research it’s undeniable that you must have a baseline understanding of your position and background to succeed in committee.   

The following guide will teach you how to research a crisis position in a present or historical committee, given that the position actually existed. An article about preparing for futuristic committees with invented positions or any type of made-up position is coming soon.

The Basics

Where you should look: The Background Guide, Wikipedia (gasp), Online Encyclopedias (like Britannica), The First Page of Google 

In this portion of research I’m looking for the essential facts about my position and the world and time period the committee is set in. I would keep an eye out for position background information, maps, and major events.

Obviously, the first thing to do is read the background guide. Print out the guide. Not only will you be able to carry it into committee to reference when you need it (as most conferences do not allow electronics during committee), you can also mark up the guide by making highlights and margin notes when needed. I typically read a guide thoroughly multiple times. To find out tips and tricks to making the most out of your background guide reading, click here

When you’ve identified your position, the other positions in the room, the time period, and the historical events that start off the committee continue on to the next step. Make sure to take notes as you go, write down all the important information that you find, and highlight key points.

The next thing I do is Google my position’s name. Typically one of your top hits will be the Wikipedia page for your position. If that’s the case, click on the link to Wikipedia and begin reading. I usually print out all my major research sources resulting in the decimation of a small forest’s amount of paper and a bizarrely large stack of stapled packets. That’s up to you. I, again, like to highlight and write in the margins as ideas pop into my head or I find important facts.

I’ll also check out the Wikipedia pages for any notable events mentioned in the background guide that I’ve highlighted as well as the key locations for the committee. You want to form a holistic understanding of the world you’re operating in. Another resource for researching both the world and your position is the online Encyclopedia Britannica. I recommend using a few sources in case anything important has slipped through the cracks.    

The last thing I would do for baseline preparation is print out maps. Now, this may depend on the committee you’re in, but I’ve always been a believer in the importance of maps–even as a backup. I’ve had good luck sending maps in crisis arcs to better explain my plans and they’ve turned me into the go-to delegate to consult with during war games. Always print out a few of your committee’s location, as well as any places that might come into play mentioned in the background guide.   

Going Deeper

Where you should look: Niche Websites, Youtube Videos, Wikipedia Citations, The Second Page of Google

If you are a crazy prepper like I am, the basics are not enough to feel ready for committee. When I go into competition, I don’t just want to know who my position is, I want to be them. Having a full and complete understanding of my position allows me to take action that I feel is representative of what would actually happen from my position’s motivations and in the world. At this level I would look for my position’s interests, family/friends, education, and assets. 

During my time as training coordinator I created a crisis committee research outline which is loosely based on Rutgers University “The Crisis Handbook v1.2” (an awesome guide which is available online, for free at the time this article was written). You can access the crisis committee research outline, also free, by clicking here or under the Training Materials tab. This outline helps breakdown the most important aspects to understanding your position and your position’s motivations.

This research is a great way to spark ideas for a crisis arc and, at the very least, will give you a good idea of resources you can use either in your arc or in a pinch. Typically I derive my crisis arcs from my position’s interests and job history. I’ll use family and friends as contacts to help me in my arc, draw upon skills and contacts from education, and use my assets in my plan. This isn’t to say that coming up with an unrelated arc is a bad idea, this is just an easy path to creating one. It also provides assets and contacts to use down the line if you find yourself needing them. We’ll have an article about building a crisis arc soon!   

At this level, I would research more about the society my committee is set in at a macro level. I would look at the history of the central topic, how society functions at this time period, and the actors in recent history who have affected the topic.  

YouTube videos, especially if you’re in a complex committee with a background unfamiliar to you, can be a lifesaver in breaking down intricate political and economic ideas. The CrashCourse channel is fantastic for anything ranging from history to technology to science to economics. (They even have videos on public speaking and projecting confidence, but I digress). Understanding the context of your position within the committee and then the context of your committee within the outside world is important!

How Did I Even Get Here

Where you should look: Google Books (Autobiographies, Biographies, Textbooks, Historical Books, Books Your Position Wrote), Full-Length Documentaries, The Tenth Page of Google, Bing?

If you’ve reached this point in research, congrats! You’re officially as crazy as I am. All of my teammates know I’m insane like this, but it’s what has worked for me. Again, disclaimer, everyone performs differently. I’m here to share how I succeed in committee through research. 

At this level I would do a cursory search on the background of other positions. I would also look for niche facts about my position that would help give me ideas for interesting crisis arc ideas and resources. To sum it up, the importance of this level is to look for more assets and standout crisis ideas. Sometimes I struggle coming up with a unique crisis idea (trying to differentiate myself from the age old cult arc) and I’ve based entire arcs off of something I’ve seen in a documentary or a line from a Google Book. 

This is where I finalize my confidence in the subject going into committee. Most research at this point will serve to reinforce the research you’ve already done, but there can still be new facts and stories that affect how you approach committee. Just doing a brief skim of the Wikipedia pages for other positions can also give you an idea of what others may be up to over the weekend. All of this information should come together to shape your debate, your crisis arc, and your general committee attitude. 

Like it is said, everyone researches differently to prepare for Crisis Committees! Questions, comments, and concerns can be shared with us at mun01.business@gmail.com or through our “Contact” page. All feedback is appreciated!

Joint Crisis Notes

What is a joint crisis note?

If you already know what crisis committees are, joint crisis notes (JCNs) are pretty easy to understand. If you don’t know what a crisis committee is, click here to learn more about the committee structure you use joint crisis notes in. A joint crisis note is, as its name suggests, used in a crisis committee. While typically a delegate would send personal notes, crisis notes, to complete actions through crisis and directives to complete actions through committee, JCNs serve as a medium point between these two choices. JCNs are notes to crisis authored by more than one delegate in the committee. They could also be, in the case of joint crisis committees (JCCs), notes authored between delegates on opposing sides of the room to take action through crisis while in different rooms. Read more about JCCs here. Usually, these two or more delegates are working together with their joint power to affect the room through crisis.

What are the benefits of a joint crisis note?

As previously stated, joint crisis notes are a way for multiple delegates to join their personal powers through crisis. One of the largest benefits of a JCN is that two or more delegates, if they write a solid note and work together effectively, can heavily influence debate. Anecdotally, I’ve found that crisis directors and crisis rooms really enjoy seeing JCNs. From what I’ve seen in committee, JCNs have a higher success rate as the crisis room likes to utilize them to help build the committee arc. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have your own, well-thought-out arc, but that demonstrating you can work effectively in different ways in-room and out-of-room is important for your success as a delegate.

For example, in one of the committees I was in at CIAC, I was in a JCC for the Peloponnesian War. I, as an Athenian delegate on one side, was able to contact a Spartan delegate on the other who held an important piece of land in the battle to eventually flip him to our side. Through JCNs, we were able to have this happen with negotiations through crisis. When he eventually joined our side, we gained an important ally in the battle. Although Athens ended up losing the war, I believe the JCNs I wrote with the other delegate helped us both stand out in committee to award.

What are the negatives of a joint crisis note?

Joint crisis notes are not without their risks. When you open yourself to working with others through crisis, you are also allowing your position to become vulnerable to them through crisis. You are also allowing for yourself to be potentially exposed by your bloc writing the JCN if the note is nefarious. If a delegate you worked with decides to play your actions against you in the future, you could find yourself facing restrictions, trials, and death penalties in your committee. 

For example, in Episode #9 of our podcast (listen to it here) we talk to a delegate, Stephen, who used a JCN work with a delegate that he wanted to assassinate to further his own arc. Through a JCN, he ensured that the delegate would be invited over his house for dinner, where he kidnapped them through his own personal crisis notes. The delegate was later fed to the tigers at the zoo Stephen owned, but you can hear more about that by listening. The delegate fell prey to lowering their own guard with their JCN partner and that was their own downfall. 

The Ultimatum

Joint crisis notes, in my opinion, are a very powerful tool in displaying your abilities as a delegate, as a negotiator, and as a creative thinker. A successful joint crisis note can prove that you can work well in all levels of debate and crisis. However, delegates need to be aware of the potential for a JCN to be exposed by their allies. When writing a JCN, keep your guard up, don’t give too much away about your own arc, and work with those in committee who have been proven trustworthy. JCNs are the time to demonstrate your abilities to covertly collaborate with others in the room and if you can succeed, you can pull off some seriously impressive moves.

MUN01 Guest Writers Wanted

Do you enjoy MUN01’s content and want to be a part of the ~magic~? We are currently looking for current and former MUN delegates to write articles about their MUN experience. MUN01 wants the story of what being a MUN delegate is really like. 

We want your unique perspectives. Are you an international delegate? A high school delegate? A collegiate delegate? A middle school delegate? A former MUN delegate now using their skills in the real world? We want your input!

Pitch us an article and we’ll let you know if you are selected to guest write. We’re looking for stories unique to YOU and YOUR experiences. Tell us anything ranging from what MUN is like in your part of the world, challenges you face running your club and how you’ve risen above them, or any story that shows how your MUN experience has been original. 

Moral of the story: Be different, we want the real story of what MUN is like today.

Please note, we are looking for stories about your MUN experience, why you joined, what the experience has brought to you, favorite moments, difficulties you’ve faced in MUN, etc. Don’t feel like you shouldn’t apply if you don’t have a lot of shiny awards. MUN is more than that. 

Apply here: https://forms.gle/ncfGXhpvPsZhDJT3A

Club Management: Making Your Plan

Welcome to part 2 of many of our Club Management Series! While all parts of our suggested steps are very important to future club success, I think this one is especially key. Forming a plan sets out your stepping stones for what your club/team will be, so pay attention lest you become like Dr Frankenstein and create a monster you aren’t prepared for. 

Learning MUN Basics

Something that a lot of students trying to start teams forget is that they need to learn what Model UN is first. This may seem redundant, but if you are new to the game and want to start a club, learn the basics! A newbie can absolutely start a team, but not without the proper baseline knowledge. Check out our into articles here to learn more about MUN, or use other online resources to get an idea of parliamentary procedure, debate, and other skills. Also, if you are an experienced high school delegate looking to start a college team, learn the differences. College level MUN is different and, obviously, more challenging due to the level of competition, so a refresher never hurts!

General Questions to Consider

My version of prepping to start a team is basically making a vision board for your future  club. Do you want a large team with multiple rotating delegations within it, or a small group of committed MUN fanatics? Do you want to do crisis, GA, or both? What size of a leadership team will you have, and what will their positions be? Where will you travel? How will you raise money? What will your by-laws be? What are your school’s policies for club management and travel? While this is not an exhaustive list of questions, I would recommend that you sit down and do your research before deciding on any of these things. 

Tough Love: The Sad Truth

Think about your school, your means, and how much time you want to put into this. You can never ask people to put more time into something than you are willing to, and you have to be able to function within the confines of the rules of your school. Be realistic when starting to answer these questions. Everyone would love (in theory) to go to 20 conferences and travel internationally, but that is not a reality for most, at least at first. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but setting goals and expectations that are too lofty will lead to failure and disappointment. Set small, achievable goals in the short term. Feel free to set out big goals, but remember you will only be around for 4-ish years. Focus on setting a strong foundation for future team leaders so they can move the club in a direction you would be proud of. 

How to Answer These Questions

Research, research, research. Look at your school policies, your student government’s policies, your local circuit, Model UN guides, our podcast (self promo, baby!), travel costs, etc. Every team is different, so sadly I can’t give you all of the answers. If you haven’t already, please read our article on finding an advisor, as they will likely be able to help you with answering these questions. For other help, reach out to other teams and see what they did to start up. People on the circuit are so kind and will likely love to give you some advice about what club/team structure worked for them. College teams love to give help to high schoolers and may even give training tips or workshops for young delegates. If you are a college team, don’t feel as though the “competition” will give you the cold shoulder. Teams love to make friends and be social, and most will gladly help you out. You can also reach out to us! We will try our best to give advice based on your situation and aid in getting you to a vision for your club that you can be happy with. 

Final Thoughts

Model UN teams are not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. For that reason, do your research, and make a really pretty vision board for what you are hoping to achieve realistically. Pictures are mandatory. DM us pics of any vision boards made (kidding but not really, if you make one and show us I’ll give you major props). 

As always, feel free to email us at Mun01.business@gmail.com with any questions comments or concerns!

Crisis Notes: Dos and Don’ts

Crisis notes are an elusive and complex mistress; so fickle and situation dependent. In other words, I guess, every crisis director is looking for something different. Therefore, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all way to write notes. However, here’s a standard list of the dos and don’ts for writing notes which may be helpful if you are new to the crisis scene, or if you are seasoned but are finding your notes falling a bit short. I would also recommend our full article on crisis committees for any other tips and tricks.

Do: Choose a style and stick with it

  • There are several different formats in which one can write a crisis note. A favorite of some (*cough* *cough* Casey) is that of the letter. This format is great for creating a narrative. It works exactly how you think it does, basically you address all notes to different people as your character. Ex: “Dear Wife, can you please let me know the status of our estate. Xoxo, Your Husband”. This is great for establishing crisis contacts and allies that can collect info for you. The other popular style is that of the command note (Kyla’s fave) (I have no idea what kind Carol likes, sorry). This is basically done by communicating with crisis in a direct way. Ex: “I would like to contact a bodyguard trained in hand to hand combat and hire him full-time”. While this doesn’t build quite the same level of narrative, it is very effective in getting things done quickly and communicating clearly. I like it because I am only managing myself and my actions and a director is less likely to throw you a curveball where the person you were writing a letter to suddenly dies or something like that. Not trying to convince you, both are great. However, try and choose a style and sick with it. It allows staffers to understand and anticipate your notes which leads to better repore. 

Don’t: Be Irreverent

  • I love funny crisis arcs. Like LOVE them. It’s my go to and can be super effective. They’re unexpected and harder for other delegates to block, and the staff generally likes an engaging and funny arc because it entertains them. However, stay on topic. I have seen way too many delegates go off the rails and create these ridiculous arcs which end up leading to nowhere. The farther off the trail you get, the harder it is to close out and complete your goals. Also, the more annoyed a more serious staffer will get. If you try a funny note and get a negative response, (a “no” or otherwise) don’t push it. Read the room, director, and staffers, don’t force your narrative upon a committee which will gladly block your plans and leave you without an award. Basically, know your limits.

Do: Be Specific

  • Oh, how many crisis notes have I personally shot down because people don’t include specifics. Crisis plans should be elucidated down to the minutiae. Girl, if i ever see one of y’all send a note saying “I would like to kill such and such” or “I would like to acquire troops” with no plan, I will personally scold you. Never forget, crisis is always looking for holes in your plans and will take advantage of them. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Tell them how you are getting your supplies, where they are coming from, how much money you are spending, where that money is coming from, so on and so forth. Have your ducks in a row and your who, what, when, where, how’s all in order when you send your note, especially if its a note associated with a Big Move. Be specific and get that plan executed.

Don’t: Write Novels

  • This may seem contradictory since I just told you to be as specific as possible, but let me explain. I’m asking you, as I am sure your middle school English teacher did as well, to cut out the fluff. A note may edge long if you are writing out a long, intricate plan; but if every single note you write is a page long, you’re doing it wrong. Stay concise and figure out a way to rephrase to be as accurate and as quick as possible. The more time you spend writing these long stories (that a staffer will skim in 3 seconds), the less time you are spending debating, listening, or writing directives. Your longest notes should be the ones executing major plans, and length should always correspond with importance. Also, I am not coming for you if you have big handwriting, because same here and I will make an exception for you.

Do: Have The Proper Materials

  • This is an ~aesthetic~ recommendation for paper note conferences, but it’s also practical. I suggest writing notes on colored paper or with a colored pen so you can see where your note is if its getting passed around. Also, it helps crisis staffers recognize which notes are your which helps response time. Not to mention the subtle office supplies flex which is oh so important for conference clout. I’ll also take this time to recommend a legal pad (or a MUN01 branded notebook! Check out our merch!). If you use a long sheet of paper, there will be plenty of space for crisis to respond so you can keep track of dialogue on one sheet. Furthermore, if you send in a note on a little crumpled ripped piece of paper, I guarantee your chance of that note being lost in the paper flood increases 10-fold. 

Other tips:

  • Do: Have Legible Handwriting
  • Don’t: Push The Same Crisis Idea More Than Once
  • Do: Be Well Researched
  • Don’t: Complain Excessively About Response Times
  • Do: Establish Rapport With Your Staffer
  • Don’t: Take It Personally If Your Arc Isn’t The Main Arc
  • Do: Pass Other People’s Notes Quickly
  • Don’t: EVER EVER Read Other People’s Notes
  • Do: Keep Your Notes For Future Reference In Other Sessions
  • Don’t: Leave Crumpled Notes on the Floor

As always, this is not comprehensive, but I hope it helps. Crisis notes take time to master and it is all by trial and error. What works at one conference may not work at another, but if you stay within these suggestions you will be able to adjust and succeed (I hope). Good luck and godspeed, send us your fave crisis notes (funny, effective, etc.)  for a chance to be featured in upcoming content!

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Questions to Ask When Reading a Background Guide

A background guide can be a daunting document (shouts to us for alliteration). Here are some good questions to ask when reading your guide for the first, second, or tenth time.

While reading the letter from the chair:

  • What are the chair’s hobbies?
  • Are they passionate about the topic?
  • How long have they been doing MUN?

While reading the background information:

  • What time period is the committee set in?
  • Where is the committee set?
  • Who is the king/queen/president/prime minister/etc. at the time?
  • What’s the general situation?
  • What are the questions to consider?
  • Is there information in the background that helps address some of the questions to consider?
  • What information seems irrelevant (if any)?

While reading the list of positions

  • What does your position say?
  • Do you have any sort of power?
  • Who are you allies and who are your enemies?
  • Do you have a significant other?
  • What are your past political ties?
  • Who seems to be easily persuaded and who seems stubborn?

While looking at the sources:

  • Are they all from wikipedia?
  • Are some of the websites foreign?
  • Are there a lot of “.edu” or “.gov” websites? (these often have other really good sources linked to them)
  • Which ones can you use to find more information on your position?
  • Are there a lot of books referenced or is it mostly internet sources?
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How to Read a Background Guide

A good background guide gets better with each read. Because of that, we think it’s important to look at all of the included information not just once, but sometimes five times. There will always be stuff you missed, or things you can build on to work with your arc or to write a great resolution.

The First Look

This is where you’re going to get an idea for what the committee will actually focus on. We’ll take it step by step, cover to cover.

The first thing you’ll typically see in a background guide are letters from the chair (and maybe crisis director) – these are sometimes interesting to read. These are typically introductory letters where the chairs and CDs introduce themselves and say what they’re interested in. They’re typically pretty informal. I like to know what my dais members are interested in and if they have a particular passion for the topic (which they hopefully do). Sometimes you can also gauge how experienced they are as a delegate, which should give you some indication of how debate will go. What we mean by this is that sometimes more inexperienced chairs have a harder time controlling the room and may use stricter parliamentary procedure in order to try and bring about order to the room instead of just going with the flow of debate. How to control a room is learned in time, and is something even the most experienced chairs may have trouble with. Check out our article on how to be a great chair here.  Also if you’re looking to get on your chair’s good side, bringing up one of the hobbies and talking to them about it is a great way to make connections on the circuit. 

Past the letters will be the first bit of information relevant to the committee: background and introductory information. This information has been researched by the dais members and chosen specifically for the committee. Do a general read of this at first to see what time period you’ll be in and what the big issues are. More in-depth reads will come later in the background guide reading process. 

Next you will typically encounter “questions to consider.” An oft-overlooked bit of the guide, these questions will essentially guide debate. They are created by the dais to specifically lead debate to talk about those questions (i.e. this is what the dais wants you to talk about). Read through these carefully. It’s far more important to absorb the questions the dais wants you to ask and skim through the background information at first, and we’ll tell you why in a minute. 

Past this will be position information. These short little bios tell you important and relevant information about the positions in the committee. Sometimes a fun fact will be included in the bio which can often be helpful in building an arc or getting people to side with you on an issue. Look at your position’s bio first. It’s important to take in everything that the dais has included that they believe is relevant to your place in committee. From this, then look back at the other positions and see who your allies may be. 

Love at (Second) Sight

Now’s when you’ll really get into the meat of the guide. Using the “questions to consider” part, look again at the background information. Is there anything in there that specifically addresses one or more of the questions? If the guide is written well, there should be. Highlight, circle, or do whatever to this info so you can look back at it later. There’s a reason the writers put it in the guide, so use it. This is why it’s more helpful to look at the questions before doing a deep dive into the background material. Now you’re able to focus more on what the dais wants you to know without getting sidetracked by other information that may not be as relevant. 

Look at the positions again, but this time using your new information from the guide. Are there any positions that are radically against the situation? Who is on your side and who’s on the opposing side? How many positions are on the opposing side? Are you friends with anyone? Check the article here for more questions to ask while reading a guide so you get the full picture of what’s going on. 

Now look at the sources at the end of the guide. Another underrated part of the guide, these sources are often the key to good research. In this article about how to research a position, we talk about doing a deep dive into the sources as one of the first steps to good research. When you’re looking at the sources, try and figure out what the writers of the guide left out. Is there any information that you find important that wasn’t featured in the guide? If so, make a note of it. 

The Third Read (and On)

This is where you really pick apart the information. How are you going to address the questions, and how does your position play into the situation that you’ll be discussing. Make sure you don’t graze over anything in the guide, the dais wrote this guide a certain way for a reason. Try and absorb all the information you can from it, and then take to the books and the internet to look for more information. It’s better to be over-researched and use only 20% of it in debate than to have very little research and the debate is focused on the 20% you didn’t look at.

Good luck and hit us up at mun01.business@gmail.com with any comments, questions, or other fun things!

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What is a Crisis Committee?

Crisis committees are like General Assembly committees in the sense that they both follow Parliamentary Procedure, focus on solving a problem, and (if you’re in a good room) incite lively debate. That’s about where the similarities end. 

Basic Structure

Crisis committees are based around a central situation, the “crisis,” which delegates are pushed to solve over the course of the committee. For example, a common crisis committee topic is the American Revolutionary War. For a committee like this, delegates may be starting debate in the middle of a battle and have to come up with battle plans, or they may be at the tail end of the war and have to start building a government. In crisis committees, delegates are typically given people, characters, or specific positions (e.g. Russian Embassy Official, Senior VP of Marketing) to represent rather than acting as a country representative. 

In-Room vs. Out-of-Room

In the committee room, debate will often focus on the bigger problems at hand. Oftentimes solving these problems in only a few committee sessions is a lofty goal. How do you stop human trafficking globally while also trying to crack down on the black market sale of illegal weapons used by traffickers? I’d go so far as to say that the point of committee is rarely to completely solve a problem, but rather to make some sort of progress towards solving a small part of the problem. Sure, it would be nice to find a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I doubt that a room full of high school or college delegates can do that over the course of a weekend (but if you can, you’d probably receive some sort of Nobel Prize). Delegates in the room will likely try to be cooperative – this is often because they are doing something shady outside of the committee room through the crisis team.

The Crisis Room

There are two rooms in crisis committees – the debate room and the crisis room. The crisis room is where staffers from the conference answer notes from delegates regarding the committee and their personal plan for how they want their position to affect committee. This plan is called an “arc.” A crisis arc is used by a delegate to influence actions in the debate room and also affect the outcome of committee through actions not taken in the debate room.

For example, if a delegate’s position in a committee structured like a political cabinet was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the goal of the committee was to solve some sort of environmental crisis, the delegate could use their individual powers (called “portfolio powers”) as the Sec. of HUD to start research into more sustainable construction practices. Since this isn’t an issue that the whole committee might be interested in, that delegate could send a note to crisis saying something along the lines of “please reach out to scientists in my department and tell them to look into more sustainable ways to build housing.” We’ll break down crisis arcs and how to do them properly in a separate article. What you should know for now is that every delegate in the room could potentially be working on a secret plan to impact committee, and that plan isn’t always positive.

Crisis Notes

Crisis notes are how delegates in the debate room communicate plans for their personal arc to staffers in the crisis room. They can be anywhere from one sentence to a full page long – different conferences prefer different styles of notes and it’s often a game of trial-and-error to see what the crisis staff responds to best. One thing to note with crisis notes is specificity. The more specific your notes (try to answer who, what, when, where, and sometimes why in your notes) the better your response is going to be. Also try and make sure that there are no errors in your spelling in the notes – instead of sending 50 planes to rescue people, you could send 50 plans because you simply forgot an “e.”

Tips and Tricks (without getting too in-depth)

  • Be specific in and out of room! Specificity in your speaking, directives, and crisis notes will let other delegates and staff know that you know what you’re talking about and may increase your chances of awarding.
  • Creativity is big, especially when it comes to crisis notes. The more interesting a note or arc is, the better your responses from crisis are likely to be. This doesn’t mean you should go off-position though – if your position wouldn’t do something in real life, it’s very likely crisis won’t let you do it in committee. 
MUN delegate writing on legal pad

What is a JCC?

JCC, The Acronym

We all know that Model United Nations, MUN, loves acronyms. To learn more about MUN acronyms and terms, check out our official MUN Term Glossary. JCC stands for “Joint Crisis Committee.” As the name would imply, JCCs are crisis committees, meaning they follow crisis procedure. You can read more about crisis committees here. Before launching yourself into the world of JCCs, you should have a strong grasp on crisis committee procedure and how crisis powers function. However, JCCs are special in that they are not only one committee room.

The Structure

So if a JCC is not made up of one committee room, how many are there exactly? Typically, JCCs are made up of two, separate committee rooms. However, some conferences are experimenting with “JCCs” that are, in reality, three, four, five, or more committee rooms. Regardless of the size of a JCC, the rest of the structure remains the same. The committee rooms in a JCC are separate in their physical location, but united under the same committee topic. Take the most fundamental JCC, the war themed JCC, for example. One committee room can be on one side of the war while the other committee room is on the other side of the war. A popular committee for this type is the American Revolution. One room would be the British and the other would be the American Revolutionaries. 

To summarize, JCCs are often two, separate committee rooms (sometimes more) that are battling against each other. Crisis operates in the same universe and actions from one committee can affect the other. Usually there is a “win condition” that will end the committee on Sunday morning with one room being victorious over the other. Typically JCCs will be themed as wars (cold or regular) and have a high likelihood of war games happening.

How Should I Prepare for Committee?

Alright, so you volunteered or were volun-told to be in a JCC. What now? Hopefully, you’ve already got your crisis game down. This isn’t to say your first ever committee shouldn’t be a JCC. In fact, my first committee was a five way JCC. Hear all about that in Episode #3 of the podcast here. Just make sure you know crisis procedure and that you understand the powers of crisis notes well. From there, follow the normal steps to research your crisis position and prepare your arc. We have multiple articles on how to do this from background guide strategies to questions you can ask yourself while reading one.  Keep in mind that everybody’s strategy for a JCC differs. You can go into committee and play anything from the strong leader fighting for your side’s cause to the traitor feeding information to the other side. Make sure to read up on your position and understand their motivations and figure out a strategy that will work with that as well as your own strong suits.

For JCCs, you will need to go the extra step in researching a bit about the other side. Read their background guide, if it’s a separate document, and take note of a couple things. 

  • What is their motivation in the fight? (Land, wealth, information, control, etc.)
  • What positions are in the other room? (Who you should worry about and who you can work with)
  • What kind of resources do they have? (What kind of things can they use on your side)

What Will I See in a JCC?

In every JCC I’ve ever been in, there’s always someone, two, or three who feeds information to the other side. There’s always been the leader rallying people against the other side. There’s always been the loud dissident fighting for the cause but against the leader. These are all archetypes that you will see in a normal crisis committee except for the first. You need to be aware that nothing you say or do in committee will stay secret within the room. Another new aspect to committee will be the communication that is available between the two committee rooms. You’ll be able to create crisis arcs that involve both rooms and may even be able to meet face to face for secret hallway meetings.

Parting Words

Don’t be scared about going into a JCC. If you understand crisis, going into a JCC will feel familiar, but with fun, fresh aspects that will keep committee engaging and exciting. It’s always interesting to battle against the crisis room in a typical committee, but it’s a whole new level to battle against another room full of delegates. 

This article covers a topic that was discussed in Episode #14 of the MUN01 Podcast. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Questions, comments, and concerns can be shared with us at mun01.business@gmail.com or through our “Contact” page. All feedback is appreciated!