As the new SSUNS and McMUN Secretary-Generals enter their terms for the 2019-2020 year, Elisabeth Hedstrom and Hawa Maiga have placed inclusivity and equity at the centre of the staff and delegate experiences of their respective conferences. We caught up with Elisabeth and Hawa to discuss how, alongside their teams, they plan to implement more sustainable practices at SSUNS 2019 and McMUN 2020.
How has SSUNS 2019 worked to implement sustainable hiring practices?
Along with all other IRSAM Portfolios, SSUNS recently released a document outlining its hiring and employment procedures that extend to all individuals who apply for and/or become involved at SSUNS 2019. The document can be found under Staff Resources at ssuns.org. This year, SSUNS is proud to continue its tradition of granting interviews to all Secretariat and Coordinator applicants, recognising the unique ways that applicants may prefer to express themselves and their visions for SSUNS. Additionally, this year all SSUNS applicants are extended a warm offer for feedback on their applications and interviews with the individuals involved in the hiring process. As a conference employing all university students, the opportunity to receive tailored and specific feedback after an application process is of utmost importance and value to us at SSUNS.
What initiatives will be implemented this year to better prepare SSUNS staff for their roles in the conference?
Given our commitment to inclusivity before and during the conference, all staff members will receive equity trainings pertaining to their specific roles at the conference and will have the opportunity to become more highly trained if they so choose. The Chief of Staff and Equity Coordinator have been collaborating extensively to provide SSUNS staff an array of options and levels of trainings on topics such as Anti-Discrimination and Sexual Violence Prevention. Beginning in the fall, any and all SSUNS staff members will be given the opportunity to join the SSUNS Equity Team, comprised of a group of individuals especially interested in educating themselves and others on topics of inclusivity and implementing more equitable practices during the conference to better support staff and delegates. From their hiring until after the conference, SSUNS staff have the chance to submit complaints, suggestions and comments to the Chief of Staff and Equity Coordinator via an anonymous form, and have been invited to contact either of them through email with any concerns that they might have. This form is accessible under Staff Resources at ssuns.org.
How will delegates be able to see inclusivity play out during their time at SSUNS 2019?
SSUNS 2019 will feature a new and improved Delegate and Faculty Advisor Code of Conduct, with the goal of providing its participants with a clearer picture of the welcoming and understanding environment they can and should expect at the conference. This Code of Conduct will be made available on SSUNS’ website and in the Delegate Handbook distributed at the conference. Delegates attending SSUNS 2019 can become better informed on issues of discrimination and inequity through a workshop offered on Thursday evening and Friday morning of the conference. Finally, an attractive alternative to the Delegate Gala hosted on Saturday night will be provided to cater to the diverse body of delegates attending SSUNS 2019.
Questions for Hawa, Secretary-General of McMUN 2020:
How has McMUN 2020 worked to implement sustainable hiring practices?
McMUN 2020 is currently updating its hiring practices by putting in place set frameworks and outlines to ensure equitable practices during the conferences multiple hiring periods. Such measures include providing all applicants a feedback form to gather their input on the application process. Furthermore, McMUN has instituted formal relationship disclosures in its hiring process to ensure transparency and accountability within the hiring taskforce.
What initiatives will be implemented this year to better prepare McMUN staff for their roles in the conference?
McMUN 2020 has updated its hiring practices by providing staffers with onboarding packages upon having accepted the position. These packages are a formal greeting and clearly outline the responsibilities and expectations of each hired member. By doing so, each staffer made aware of the tasks assigned to them before, during, and, in some cases, following the conference. Additionally, upon being hired to McMUN 2020, staffers shall be made aware of the “Staff Resources” section of the McMUN website. In said section, staffers will be able to find training dates, relevant communication channels, the IRSAM and McMUN codes of conduct, staff training resources, and an ongoing feedback form so that their concerns and questions may be heard and responded to responsibly.
How will delegates and staffers be able to see inclusivity play out during their time at McMUN 2020?
This year, McMUN has hired an Equity Consultant who will be working alongside the McMUN executive team in implementing inclusive and equitable measures in every portfolio. For example, promoting non-alcoholic beverages at Staff Cocktail, providing an alternative social event on Friday will ensure that participating delegates feel comfortable, safe and welcome at McMUN 2020. Furthermore, McMUN provides anti-bias and discrimination, and active bystander training to staffers will play a crucial role in ensuring an improvement in delegates experience at McMUN 2020.