The Southern Regional Model United Nations (SRMUN) conference was inaugurated in 1990 in Greenville, South Carolina, with the intention of being an exemplary learning experience for undergraduate college students interested in pursuing issues of international concern. The first conference attracted delegations from 10 schools and a total of about 100 student participants. SRMUN's first Secretary-General, Julie Pauling, was instrumental in organizing the conference. As a student member of the Board of Directors of the National Model United Nations (NMUN) organization during 1990 - 1992, she was convinced that establishing a regional "spin-off" would achieve two useful goals: first, schools that sent delegations to the spring NMUN conference would be able to gain some experience at a fall conference that would be smaller and less overwhelming to newer participants and, second, schools in the southeastern part of the country financially unable to send delegations to NMUN would still have an opportunity to benefit from a Model United Nations experience.
The conference site was moved to Atlanta in 1991 in order to have a location that was more central and an area that was more attractive to interested schools. The tactic worked successfully in very little time. Around 20 schools and 250 students participated in the second annual conference. Conference participation over the next several years gradually increased to over 400. As SRMUN entered its second decade of activity in 2000 delegate numbers exceeded 500 participants from approximately three dozen campuses. Most of the schools involved in SRMUN are located in the southeastern United States, but several colleges from outside the region also furnish delegations. It is particularly gratifying to observe the same schools returning year after year. In addition, each year's conference sees delegations appear from schools sending students for the first time. A significant number of schools are also able to provide more than one delegation. Thus, the number of countries represented at recent conferences runs typically well over 80.
During its early years (1990 - 1993) the administration of the SRMUN conference was the responsibility of NMUN's Board of Directors. The NMUN Board was generous with its financial support to get SRMUN off the ground. SRMUN did not have its own independent Board until 1993. In addition, NMUN advanced the funding to SRMUN that was required to establish the conference in the amount of a $10,000 loan. The rapid growth of the newly created conference enabled SRMUN to pay off the loan by 1995. By that time SRMUN's independent Board of Directors was fully established and became the ultimate authority for the conference's professionalism. SRMUN at this point became a fully sovereign conference independent of and separate from NMUN and equipped with its own governing structure. The structure of SRMUN over the years has revealed remarkable resiliency in terms of how it dealt with what could only be referred to as growing pains. Atlanta was universally accepted as a natural physical location for the conference. It did become necessary to change hotel conference sites on a few occasions. However, as the conference grew in the number of attendees, first tier hotels developed substantial interest in hosting the event. From its inception, SRMUN has been held during the last half of November, normally the week before the Thanksgiving holiday. This schedule enables delegates the greater part of the fall semester to prepare for the conference and also allow them to enjoy a brief recess before the final examination season commences. The conference itself traditionally runs from late Thursday afternoon to Saturday evening.
In recent years, SRMUN attendees made it clear that a real need for a Spring conference was evident. After researching possible locations in the southeast, the Board of Directors voted to host the first annual SRMUN Spring conference in Charlotte, North Carolina which was held in April 2013.
SRMUN is a successful conference because of the loyalty and professionalism of its staff, delegates, faculty advisors, and supporters. There is no doubt that the original intention of the founders to make SRMUN a memorable learning experience has been and continues to be fulfilled. The participants are always eager, energetic, and devoted to their task.