A dripping wet Friday afternoon and a cold Saturday morning on December 15th and 16th marked the 3rd installment of STIMUN, the biggest MUN conference in the South Texas circuit. With over 70 students STIMUN is the biggest conference to be hosted in the South Texas circuit. Students from all over the IDEA Public Schools district along with some independent delegations attended the conference eager for the biggest conference of the season. Topics ranging from Cybersecurity to Immigration were on the floor for debate. The 2-day sessions saw direct debate, collaboration, and a steady flow of directives from those in Crisis committee. All while resolutions were signed and voted on in various other General Assembly committees. Lunch breaks saw old fellow delegates meet again and new friendships and alliances formed. The sights, sounds, and atmosphere were one of a properly large conference reminiscent of the East coast circuit.
Despite being the biggest conference in South Texas, STIMUN has not been around for as much time as other big conferences. 4 years ago, this conference did not exist. In fact, 4 years ago the entirety of the South Texas Circuit did not exist. It is thanks to a partnership between a worldwide education company and an independent school district dedicated to the success of its students that MUN flourished in a completely new region.
The impact this partnership has had on students has been monumental.
To truly understand how an entire region was introduced to MUN in the time it takes a high school student to graduate, we must look back at 2014 when a group of students from IDEA Mission College Preparatory went to a Model United Nations Institute session at Georgetown. The students left with the physical resources to create a Model UN program, but even more than that they left with the leadership skills that they needed to create a thriving program. According to former MUNI mentor Laurabeth Goldsmith “Every student developed their public speaking, research, debate, and negotiation skills. But for me what was particularly incredible to witness was the confidence that students developed through Model UN.” Through this pilot program a partnership between IDEA Public Schools and Best Delegate was formed. Along with funding from the federal GEAR UP grant and extensive work from Sylvan representatives Yanira Aguilar and Ronaldo Najera this partnership was able to flourish and empower an entire school district with MUN. In a matter of months, ground work for future students was laid out, funding and ideas were put in place, teachers and advisors were trained, and the program expanded to other schools rapidly creating the South Texas Circuit as we know it.
Today the partnership between IDEA Public Schools and Best Delegate enables students to have an immersive experience at various MUNI summer programs. These students then return to their campus and start their own MUN clubs and expand the system to new schools.
Thanks to the perseverance of students and work of many associates, an entire region been introduced to MUN. It is partnerships and associations like the one between IDEA Public Schools and Best Delegate that empower high school students to start their own delegations and expand MUN to a different region. Just as a group students brought MUN to theirs.