July 24, 2014

Shivani Poddar on being a volunteer at GUADEC

GUADEC couldn’t happen without the help of volunteers. These are attendees that dedicate part of their conference experience to help the organizing team. They are there to make sure things run smoothly, and are always available to help.

Shivani Poddar was a volunteer during last year’s GUADEC in Brno, her first GUADEC both as an attendee and a volunteer. The experience was so remarkable Shivani is now back to volunteering. She’s coordinating the volunteer activities for this year’s GUADEC — and she guarantees it’s not too late to sign up to help!

We chatted with Shivani about volunteering at GUADEC, and how you can also help:

shivani_poddarWhat can volunteers help with during GUADEC?

Volunteers can help with a number of different things. They can assist at the information desk, where they answer questions about the conference events, and help with registration and swag handling. They can also become a Session Chair, which means moderating the talks, making sure they start and end on time, and that attendees can ask questions. Another way volunteers can help is by, literally, running around and helping as needed — we call these the “runners”.

All of this happens during the conference, but there’s a lot to be done before it as well. Volunteers are welcome to help us with the pre-conference setup, which includes putting things in place, folding badges, and solving last-minute troubles.

You were a volunteer during last year’s GUADEC. How was the experience?

I personally loved the experience. Firstly, as interns [Shivani was a Google Summer of Code intern last summer], we don’t have to worry a lot about organizational tasks. So volunteering was a great way to contribute my bit to the conference. I not only learned about how things work (including running, being Session Chair, etc) but also got to meet a lot of new people because of it. I saw the effort people put in, and felt like contributing a lot more in the following year (read this year!).

How can attendees volunteer? Can anyone help?

Yes! And thanks to all volunteers, it means a lot!

If you want to help, all you need to do is the follow these steps:

  • Add yourself to the Volunteers list, and read about the different volunteer roles carefully.
  • Add yourself to the timetable. Make sure to only sign up for slot you will be available to cover.
  • Make sure you are subscribed to guadec-list — all important announcements are communicated there.
  • Make sure to attend the volunteer meetings.

If you want to volunteer (or are already one) and have any queries, ping me at #guadec on IRC. I will be happy to help you.

Thanks for the interview and for coordinating the volunteer work at GUADEC, Shivani!