[Foss4g2008loc] Volunteers FOSS4G2008

Dave Patton davep at confluence.org
Thu Aug 14 11:51:29 EDT 2008

On 2008/08/14 7:12 AM, Russell Hope wrote:
> Hello
> I am in the process of completing the Volunteer Handbook but a few
> unanswered questions have popped up.

Brian Low was the volunteer coordinator for FOSS4G2007,
so he may have some feedback, but I believe he is on
holiday until the end of the month.

> Will they get lunch and refreshments?

Because we had volunteers working "1/2 day" shifts,
with a 30-minute overlap between morning and afternoon
shifts, the idea was for the afternoon volunteers to
get their lunch 'at noon', eat it, and then relieve
the morning volunteers, who could then go get their
lunch. This proved to have problems. The 'still on
duty' morning volunteers couldn't 'leave their post',
as they were guarding the rooms, and in some cases
there wasn't food left by the time they were relieved.
The same sort of thing can happen with LOC committee
members who might be busy 'when the food is served'.
My suggestion is to have a separate room/area/table
just for "volunteers and committee members", to make
sure they all get fed.

 > Have you got a sponsorship for T
> shirts or any form of easily recognizable clothing?

For FOSS4G2007 we used the same design as the delegate
T-shirt, but had it printed with "VOLUNTEER" across
the back, and used Orange shirts, so they were
easy to spot. Volunteers had to specify their sizing
when they 'signed up', and had to wear their shirt
when they were "on duty" during the conference.

 > 3 - Exhibition

For FOSS4G2007 we didn't have specific volunteers for the
Exhibit Hall, but our "security access control" was done
at 'the entrances to the convention floors'. One thing
that wasn't planned was the need to have people to 'clear
out' the Exhibit Hall. For example, the hall was supposed
to be completely closed during the closing plenary, to
avoid noise through the 'curtain wall'. Brian and I had
to 'play police' to try and get everyone out of the hall.
Despite being told ahead of time, some exhibitors refused
to leave, because they had to do the tear down of their
booths, because they had booked an afternoon flight.

 > 6 - Registration

Your numbers are higher than what was used for FOSS4G2007.

 > 6 - Workshop (2 per room as names will have to be checked)

 > 2 - Labs - Roof Terrace and Room 1.4
(further down you use "3 x access control",
so that should be "2 x access control"?)

 > 3 - Presentations - Rooms 1.4, 2.4 and 2.6

For all three of the above, to the "volunteer's duties" I would add:
- assisting the Instructors/Presenters with anything they
   need in order to deliver their Workshop/Lab/Presentation
   (e.g. might involve communication with the Volunteer Coordinator
   and/or venue staff re facility issues, handing out materials, etc.)

For FOSS4G2007 the 'access control' for Labs was both to 'guard'
the room when it was empty but not yet locked(to protect the
equipment), and to restrict entry (first come, first served)
to the maximum allowed for the room size. While our policy was
"max 2 people per computer", some instructors were willing to
have people stand at the back of the room, which I didn't think
was very professional. I'd suggest establishing a clear policy
with the Instructors prior to the conference, and making sure that
the volunteers are aware of the policy.

For FOSS4G2007 the evaluation of Presentations was done as part
of the overall conference evaluation, but Workshops and Labs had
their own individual evaluations. If Workshops and Labs are to
have the same for 2008, then I would add:
"coordinating the distribution and collection of evaluations"
to the list of duties for Volunteers. For 2007 the logistics
of collecting completed evaluations and delivering them to the
'conference office', and the distribution of evaluations and
'Instructor materials'(info sheets, course materials, etc)
before the Workshops/Labs wasn't really "planned out in advance",
so I ended up doing much of it, but it could have been handled
by a volunteer (supervised by the Workshop/Lab coordinator).

Three things that I see missing are:
- The Volunteer Coordinator and the Workshop/Lab
   Coordinator, from the perspective of what duties
   they will have during the conference. I mention
   that because Brian and I ended up doing some things
   that weren't planned, and had they been anticipated,
   might have resulted in using some more volunteers.

- Counting attendance. For FOSS4G2007 one of the PCO
   representatives went around during each 'session' to
   do a count for each room, so they could include that
   in their report. That was something that didn't come
   up in the Workshop/Lab planning. I would suggest that
   volunteers have an 'attendance sheet' for each room
   (Workshops, Labs, and Presentations), which they can
   fill out before each session ends. All it needs to
   be is "a number"(how many people were there), but it
   could include other info, such as if people came late
   or left early, whether people sat 'two to a computer'
   or spread out to use every available computer, whether
   all of the Instructors/Presenters showed up, etc.

- No mention of volunteers helping setup and tear down
   the computers for the Workshops/Labs

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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