- Location – Nottingham
- Date – 18th – 20th November
- # of delegates – 150
- # of committees – 8
- Cost: delegate fee £25, social pack £30 (optional)
NottsMUN has earned a rightful place on the UK circuit for being a great beginner-friendly conference, and the tenth edition delivered on its traditional strength. However, some NottsMUN participants did note a number of things that didn’t go as well this year, and the scheduled socials were a bit of a fiasco.
The two main reasons this was a great conference for beginners was because of an experienced chairing team, and a friendly and supportive atmosphere in the committees. Chairs noted ups and downs, but reported an overall high level of discourse. One head delegate commented, “we came here with a lot of beginners, and they all very much enjoyed it, so I think for them it was a perfect introduction to a weekend MUN conference.” Additionally, a delegate said that “chairs understood and explained RoPs well, and could run the committee with their eyes closed, and that just streamlined the work in the committees.”
The conference did have slightly too many committees for their delegate count, and a somewhat dilapidated allocation between them, so while UNHRC had 27 delegates, most other committees had 12-15. The second complaint was that there was disparity between the quality of study guides from committee to committee. The reviewer hear complaints that many of the study guides were poor quality, while one experienced delegate said, “I didn’t find the study guide all that helpful, and I heard the story was the same in other committees.”
The conference was opened by two guest speakers, but not much in the way of secretariat speeches or festivity. The conference was fortunate enough to have Giandomenico Picco join via Skype, former USG of Conflict Resolution under Kofi Annan. His input was well received by the delegates, but the overall presentation, particularly from the secretariat, could have been much better.
The closing ceremony was no frills. The chairs took the floor, spoke for a short amount of time, gave awards, and then the Secretary-General wrapped up the conference with a thank you. The socials were best summed up by this delegate: “I liked the speakers at the opening ceremony, and I liked some of the more light-hearted speeches from the chairs at the closing, but I didn’t like the overall presentation.”
The conference took place on the massive main campus of the University of Nottingham. The sessions themselves conveniently all took place in one building containing all the necessary conference paraphernalia minus tea and coffee.
As far as breaks go, the campus is not 24/7 like some other universities in the UK. On campus shops, restaurants, cafes were all closed for the majority of the conference, and most vending machines were out of service.
The social pack (cost £30 for delegates) included two scheduled socials. The first was a delegate reception in the main hall of the building were committee sessions took place, while the second social was a formal dinner at St. James Hotel in central Nottingham. Both socials were followed by spontaneous after parties organised by the secretariat.
The first social provided a pitiful amount of drink, and delegates almost immediately left the social as if they didn’t even know there was a social going on. The second social had a much better atmosphere, but mixed reviews of the food, expensive drinks and a fiasco with the meal orders didn’t make it worth £30. Many delegates have positive feedback overall, mostly citing the after parties as the reason, but overall the socials themselves were not good value for money.
The socials were summed up by a delegate, who reported: “when it comes to the social, I think the fact that the secretariat put in after parties on both nights made a massive difference, because, for the amount that was paid, without the after parties, it was not good value for money.
Logistics & Communications
No serious complaints were raised about the logistics and communication of the secretariat who did include some detailed information about transport. On sight, the secretariat was approachable and helpful and were fairly successful at informing delegates what was going on. Three delegations did back out at the last minute and as far as I know did not receive a refund.
The largest communication breakdown was related to stating meal preferences for the formal dinner social, as most delegates interviewed didn’t even know that was necessary.