A large international conference such as FOSS.IN requires tremendous amount of ground support during the days of the event. The nature of support varies from activities such as interacting with speakers and escorting them to the stage right down to sprinting from one end of the conference venue to another carrying a message (or a 17 inch monitor) to darting across the city to pick up scotch tape! People involved in this activity require a strong sense of *can-do, will-do* attitude coupled with a sense of trust and team work. Such people who will volunteer to help run the conference are what we term Volunteers. Volunteers are people who make sure that the event runs smoothly.
To be a volunteer at this event, having been one at a previous event will help. If you are volunteering this time, it would help to be introduced by someone who has volunteered for a previous FOSS.IN conference. Volunteers will be our trusted lieutenants and therefore a reference will help. If you are absolutely new and have no such references, there is still place for you in the team – we believe in bootstrapping :)
Some Typical Roles of Volunteers
Volunteers are required to assist and/or solely execute the following roles:
- Hall In-Charge – Volunteers are required to help ensure the smooth running of talks in each of the halls. They will be required to introduce speakers, take care of the hall equipment, and generally ensure that everything happens according to schedule.
- Speaker In-Charge – We need a few volunteers to help ensure speakers are able to reach their halls in time.
- Technical Team – Some volunteers are required to help with the set up, and working of the desktops at each hall, the FOSS.IN hack centre and network (wired and wireless) at the venue. If you have some prior experience in setting up networks, crimping cables, and quickly debugging technical issues, let us know.
- Registration – Volunteers are required to man the registration desks. This will only be done by those volunteers who have been part of the volunteer team in previous editions of the event.
- Help Desk – A few volunteers are required to man the help desks, to point people at the right hall, and to answer queries from various delegates
- Delegate Kits – Some volunteers are required to help pack and distribute Delegate kits to the participants and speakers
In addition to these roles, a volunteer may be requested to perform a role other than to which he is assigned for, depending upon the needs that arise.
- Be polite: Always answer any queries with patience (who knows, you may be talking to your future employer). If anything seems like it is getting out of hand call out for the managers and they will handle it from there. Be enthusiastic, but not over enthusiastic.
- Dressing: Dress neatly, don’t wear anything out of the ordinary. Don’t dress too formally, as you may have to run around or carry machines. If you have a Linux T-Shirt for all the days, wear it. Dress comfortably.
- Attending Talks: Please be warned that your duties as a volunteer may clash with some of the talks happening at the event. If you want to attend a talk badly, talk to the managers and arrange for an alternate person to man your job. Same applies for lunch.
- Running around: Some odd things will have to be bought at the last moment. So we recommend that people with bikes get them to the venue.
- Managers: Get to know the managers and their respective responsibilities. Report problems to the appropriate manager whenever possible.
- Unusual Situations: Use your common sense to handle any unpredictable situation that arises. However, if it affects the tasks that you or another volunteer have been assigned then pass the problem to a manager or inform one ASAP.
- Staying Late: Some volunteers may be required to stay a bit after the conference closes for the day, to help get ready for the next day.
Hall In Charge
Below are some of the guidelines for Hall in Charges:
- Each hall will have a Projector, a PC for projection, microphones, and numerous other pieces of equipment. Make sure that they are there till the event is over. Check that the Mics and Projectors work before each talk. Remember you are trusted with some really expensive equipment.
- Make sure the talk titles are prominently posted outside the hall and that they are changed promptly.
- Please ensure that the halls are clean, and there is space for people to enter and exit the hall.
- Each speaker is allotted 60 minutes (talk + questions). Signal to the speakers at the end of 50 minutes that his time is up. Give him/her an allowance of 3-4 minutes. If he doesn’t stop after that, call a few of the other volunteers and drag him off stage.
- Equipment accounted for.
- Equipment working.
- Slides ready.
- Talk Title written on boards.
- Speakers located.
- Hall in order.
Speaker In Charge
- Show the speakers around the venue. Let them know about their schedules (which talk at what time). Demonstrate your ‘time-up’ signals (10 min left, 5 min left, Stop, etc). Keep an eye out for the speakers, so that they are there on time for their talk.
Some Guidelines for Volunteers manning the registration desks:
- Ask the delegates for their ticket with the barcode and ticket number printed on it.
- If the delegate does not have a ticket, ask them for their ticket number if they have bought it already else ask them to register online for Rs.2500 or fill out the registration form and pay cash.
- For on the spot registrations, enter the Registration Code into the system.
- Give the delegate their coupons
- Call a manager if you are in doubt about what to do
How to register as a Volunteer
If you wish to register as a volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of what you are interested in doing, which days you can help out on, and a bit about yourself.
Please note: Your volunteer registration will be confirmed only AFTER you have registered as a delegate. Volunteers are expected to pay the delegate fee. However, we will refund the delegate fee to all volunteers who help out at the event. This arrangement is required to avoid some unethical people “volunteering” to get in for free, then not actually helping with the event.