Si Sun, the author of this post, is a student volunteer at #ASIST2015.
1. Reduction of conference registration fees
One of the biggest benefits to be an ASIS&T student volunteer is that our work is paid generously with the conference registration fee. The duties do not conflict with our other obligations because Stephan, who is in charge of student volunteers, always makes arrangements with sufficient communication.
Stephan Addo at the registration desk
2. Meet the crew
Student volunteers have the benefit to work with and get to know the wonderful crew from ASIS&T headquarters. We can also sneak a peek of what it is like behind the scene to organize a premium international conference. They made things happen. I am proud that we helped make it happen.
3. Approach the speakers
As student volunteers, we talk to the moderators and speakers before the sessions to set up the podium. This gives us a perfect chance to introduce ourselves and get to know the speakers and moderators, especially if we arrive earlier than the majority of the attendees. We can even have a preview of their slides.
4. Experience what it is like to be a technician
It turns out that we do not need one PhD to understand how to deal with technologies. We need 4 or more. At a sessions on knowledge management and education I staffed, it took at least 6 people to figure out why the projector does not project images. We eventually found out that we did not slide the cover of the projector aside. Before that, we tried to solve the problems by repeatedly pressing the buttons on the back, which is quite funny in retrospect. Recalling this incident, I am amazed by how non-transferable some types of knowledge is to other fields. All of us studying information technologies and services do not necessarily understand the mechanism of a common piece of hardware, while this problem can probably be resolved by a technician in a few seconds.
5. Meet other student volunteers
The common ground of being a student volunteer allows many first-timers to start socializing in the circle of student volunteers. Many of my long time friends started from a handshake at our volunteer orientation. It is not to say that other venues of socialization is not as good, but simply more venues mean better chances of developing friendships.
6. Privilege of blogging and Tweeting
As student volunteers, we have an additional reason to blog and Tweet our experiences – supporting the Annual Meeting with our unique perspective. I have been holding a camera and wondering around, hunting down old friends for a piece of news on their latest projects and “stocking” new attendees for some information on their recent discoveries. Showing my student volunteer ribbon allows me to satisfy my curiosity to my heart’s content without being awkward. I had experiences as student photographer at other conferences and the ribbon never failed me.
7. Get an additional ribbon
I love collecting items at conferences and carefully preserve them afterwards. These items remind me of the great experiences I had and the wonderful people I met. For collection freaks like me, an additional ribbon can bring a huge sense of achievement.
8. Stay alert
With the duties of being a student volunteer in mind, I had an additional incentive to stick to get up early and get more involved. I have always arrived early at sessions, which enabled me to extra chances to talk to the other early arrivers.
9. Show off
I found myself saying multiple times, “I’m an ASIS&T student volunteer – for a third time!” There is a sense of honor that comes with the title student volunteer in the same way that I feel honored serving my SIG and giving a presentation. This sensation seems to grow stronger the more times I volunteer.
If you have not had the chance to be a student volunteer, wait for Stephan’s emails next year and grab the chance. I guarantee you this is a meaningful, unique, and rewarding experience.