Safety First: Make a plan to stay safe at AMUN

Safety in Chicago

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

~Dwight D. Eisenhower

It’s time to have an important conversation. Before attending any Model UN conference, but especially one in a major metropolitan area, groups should discuss matters of safety, contingency plans and emergency contact information. No one wants to think about anything going wrong, but it’s always best to have a plan in place so everyone knows what to do should the need arise.

Make a plan and communicate

Group leaders—faculty advisors and student leaders—should gather important information and communicate safety emergency information to all participants.

  • Collect emergency contact information for all participants, and keep it in an accessible place.
  • Establish a process or hierarchy for emergency situations—whom should people call first, second, etc. in the case of an emergency?
  • Establish a way to communicate as a group—you could consider using an e-mail list, a group text message, a phone tree, a Facebook or Social Media group, a Whatsap distribution list, etc.
  • Make sure everyone has group leaders’ phone numbers and contact information.
  • Make sure partners and roommates have one another’s phone numbers.
  • Consider daily check-ins as a group, perhaps first thing in the morning or as the last official event of the evening, or before or after a session.

Bright lights, big city

Some of the safety tips are common-sense tips for any excursion into a major city.

  • Generally, do not leave the hotel grounds without letting your group know how to find you. Let your group leaders know if you are leaving the area around the hotel to visit local friends or family, to find a new restaurant, etc.
  • Always make sure someone knows where you are, how to contact you and when to expect you back.
  • Do not leave the hotels alone after dark; always travel with at least one person you know.
  • Remove your Conference credentials (name tag) before you leave the hotel, so you don’t advertise yourself as a “tourist.”
  • Encourage common-sense safety behaviors for others in your group.

At the Conference, in the hotel

Other safety-related issues are more specific to large conferences and hotels. Here are some of our recommendations.

  • Stay hydrated. The HVAC systems in large conference hotels are notorious for producing dry air, and the Sheraton is no exception. Bring a refillable water bottle, and make sure you are drinking water throughout the day.
  • Practice good hotel-sense—don’t allow strangers into your sleeping room, always ask for identification from hotel staff and keep your valuables secured.
  • Don’t leave personal belongings unattended in meeting rooms, even for short periods.

AMUN’s role in conference safety

We have placed a shorter version of this discussion on our website, and we hope you’ll take the time to review it there as well. AMUN is committed to helping ensure the safety of all of our participants. We work closely with the hotel security staff to ensure a safe environment for all conference activities from committee sessions to the dance to after-hours caucusing to the room block at the Sheraton. We ask the hotel staff to treat Representatives like adults and like distinguished ambassadors from their respective countries. We find that cultivating an air of respect and diplomatic courtesy also increases the safety and security of our participants.

You will also find AMUN staffers walking the halls of the Sheraton after hours, from about 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., as a service to you and to assist hotel security. If you have any security or safety concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask an AMUN staffer (identified with a blue badge) or to contact hotel security by dialing 0 on any phone in the hotel and asking for Security. We are here to assist you and ensure everyone remains safe, so they can focus on the educational, social, and cultural experiences that AMUN offers.

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