UTSA Department of Political Science and Geography Receives Funding for New Technology for its Model United Nations Conference

January 18, 2018

Model UN members

(Professor Hofferberth (second row, third from left) and members of the Model UN Society at UTSA.)

Photo Courtesy: UTSA Department of Political Science and Geography News


Written by: Nicole Duff, Communications Specialist

Students who are members of the Model United Nations (UN) Society at UTSA will be able to fully immerse themselves in upcoming model UN conferences hosted by the university.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography and Faculty Advisor of the Model UN Society Matthias Hofferberth, Ph.D. recently received a grant from the Office of Information Technology (OIT) Academic Support Solutions Fund to purchase new technology to enhance the conference experience for students and guests.

“I am very happy and grateful for the funding and I’m excited to put the funds to good use,” said Hofferberth. “It was a good call for OIT to use these funds for student initiatives and it’s a really good idea that students are involved in the voting process.”

Open to all students, the Model UN Society features bi-weekly meetings aimed at raising members’ awareness of world affairs. The simulated UN conference, the signature event of the Model UN Society, is a three-day event slated for early November. It unites UTSA students, as well as students from other tertiary institutions and local high schools for a thought-provoking debate centered on international relations and diplomacy.

During the model conference, participants serve as delegates representing various UN member countries and express their views on critical world issues, which they thoroughly research beforehand.

Since its inception in 2013, however, the Model UN Society at UTSA has lacked the proper technology infrastructure to facilitate the conferences and to accommodate the growth in its participants, which doubles every year.

“In the past, we have run the conference with personal laptops and my office printer,” said Hofferberth. “We realized that with the new scale and level of professionalism, this is no longer feasible.”

This prompted Hofferberth to submit a proposal to OIT last fall for a project entitled “UTSA goes UN: Empowering Our Students to Become Global Citizens.” As 1 of 15 proposals selected to receive funding, his proposal outlined the need for technology such as a laptop, tablet, computer and printer. This technology will help the department better facilitate future conferences hosted at the university.

The new technology will also enable participants to conveniently perform tasks needed to ensure the conference’s success. This includes printing materials on the spot, and displaying a timer for delegates. The department is currently finalizing the order for the infrastructure ahead of the next model UN.

“I bear the responsibility of making this conference possible for our students and raising the standards is of paramount importance because there’s more potential,” said Hofferberth. “Also, a global perspective is important for our students in alignment with the vision of our new President and the critical IT infrastructure will help us reach the next level of professionalism in the conference.”

Model UN conferences are held at numerous institutions across the U.S. and enable students to improve their critical thinking, research, and public speaking skills.

To learn more about the OIT Academic Support Solutions Fund, click here.

To learn more about the Model UN Society at UTSA, click here.