[Foss4g2008loc] Volunteers

Dave Patton davep at confluence.org
Thu Apr 10 10:40:44 EDT 2008

Russell Hope wrote:
> Hello
> Below is the volunteer info from 2007 as it is on wiki  - I have
> requested the responsibilities , group setup and scheduling from
> Brian Low  ( FOSS4G2007 )  - no response yet
> Please send me your comments

> The way I see it:
> Control Access at  Rooms, Workshops and Exhibition
> Registration - assist with bags / information
> Directions
> Computer setup and Computer dismantle
> Volunteer photographer
> Poster session

I ended up working with many of the FOSS4G2007 volunteers,
and closely with Brian Low during the entire conference.
Committee chairs, especially the Workshop committee chair,
need to keep the volunteer coordinator informed about who
on their committee will be able to act as a "helper" during
the conference, and in what role(s).
You may need volunteers to work before the conference
starts, to do things such as stuff the bags, and setup
the computers.
For 2007, we had one volunteer assigned per Workshop
room, and part of their role was to check the list
of registered names, so that only people who had paid
got into the Workshop. Some Instructors didn't care,
and there were a few cases of people being let in who
had to be told they couldn't stay (e.g. at the back of
the room). Best to have a clear policy, and make sure
that the Instructors know the policy (e.g. how many
'helpers' can an Instructor have helping out in the
room). Also, have a clear plan beforehand how to deal
with people who show up for the Workshop but whose
name isn't on the "list of paid attendees". For large
rooms, it may be worthwhile having 2 volunteers.
For 2007, we had one volunteer assigned per Lab
room, and part of their role was to limit the number
of people - first come, first served. In most cases,
for Workshops, we had the 'attendance list', but it
needs to be part of the volunteer instructions that
they have to turn those in, so the PCO can include
the totals in the final report. For Labs, it was the
on-site PCO person who was keeping track of attendance
at Labs and Presentations, but in retrospect, with a
volunteer assigned to each room anyway, it would be
easier to make that part of their responsibilities.
Make sure that the catering plan deals separately with
the food for the volunteers, because sometimes they are
not free to 'leave their post', and therefore may miss
out on food, or not have the time to line up and wait.
For 2007, we had some extra volunteer help for the
computer setup, because a few conference attendees
who were in town early volunteered. We also had
enough help on the last day, in part because we had
people who offered to help (in addition to the planned
volunteers). The biggest single 'non-scheduled' use
of volunteers was at the end of "Workshop Monday",
where we asked the students to stay for a couple of
minutes after the last Workshop of the day, and to
shutdown the PCs and disconnect the cables. Some of
those people also stayed longer, as we were immediately
starting to pack up the PCs, so that whole process
went quite a bit quicker than planned. If possible,
avoid planning the schedule so that people who are
having to do things such as disassemble computers
have to miss some part of the conference (for 2007,
it meant missing part of the OSGeo AGM).
While we both knew that we had 'a job to do', as the
Volunteer Coordinator and Workshop Committee Chair
(respectively), I don't think that Brian and I knew
before the conference that we would end up spending
virtually the entire conference "working". Depending
on the role of the PCO, and the number of their staff,
that may or may not be necessary at other conferences.
Some of the things Brian and I did weren't planned,
such as helping to usher people out of the Exhibit
Hall before the start of the closing plenary, etc.

Dave Patton
CIS Canadian Information Systems
Victoria, B.C.

Degree Confluence Project:
Canadian Coordinator
Technical Coordinator

OSGeo FOSS4G2007 conference:
Workshop Committee Chair
Conference Committee member

Personal website:
Maps, GPS, etc.

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