The Volunteering Experience

`Twas a sunny day when the IME conference committee were looking for volunteers. I had actually been interested to come as a participant as the speakers lined up were quite astonishing and after most lectures I feel inspired and motivated to do something. But rather than helping out, I thought it was a great opportunity to learn how to manage an event of this scale, to support the BSJ community in a more meaningful way as well as have one of my first CAS experiences.

Fast forward to Friday the 15th of September, I was dressed all in black, ready to usher the guests from the new Sports centre to the theatre. Already tired and sweaty, our team of 3 stood waiting at the lobby, ready to tackle the waves of visitors. Luckily for us they didn’t come. Unfortunately for the organisers, this meant less people coming to watch their event that they had taken so long to work on. But there was a steady enough stream of people to make our work difficult.¬†It was a tiresome and non-stop 3 to 4 hours of cumbersome walking – back and forth between the Foyer or the theatre and the lobby. While I didn’t explicitly enjoy ushering, I felt that I had done something new and worked on introducing myself to strangers at the very least.

A few things that I noticed that could have been improved / worked on and that I will keep in mind for the future:

  • Have a shift system: This allows your volunteers to take breaks and them less likely to complain about your event
  • Be organised: The sellers / ticket handlers at the front didn’t have a list of the speakers or media and felt extremely silly when approached by these people. If you want to have a good reputation make sure that your volunteers / staff feel that they have the resources to do their job
  • Security: Letting hundreds of strangers into a school which is home to children from political backgrounds and such was a concern for the security staff. Create a solution to make people get in hassle free whilst ensuring security.
  • Online sign ups: Create a spreadsheet and share with the volunteers responsible for ticket sales and verification
  • Promote, promote, promote: Events which have great value but small turnouts are always really unfortunate. Make sure you have that crowd coming.

That’s all for now until this Saturday when I write about last week’s JUMP! Training with the different leadership committees.

Have a smashing week,

– R

Here’s a picture of Sandiaga Uno and I

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