The Workforce of the Conference
Tuesday, July 20, 1998
By Michael Brubaker
You see them around every corner, wearing red vests and baseball caps. They're the ones checking access badges to the rooms, setting up monitors in the kiosks, assisting speakers in the prep room. They're the ones who know which line to stand in at registration, who's at the next technical sketch, where to find the restrooms.
They're the proud, the smiling, the SIGGRAPH Student Volunteers.
And they're here four-hundred strong to make the conference a success.
"We couldn't do it without them," says Joe Lohmar, SIGGRAPH 98 Student Volunteer Chair, "they're the workforce of the conference."
This year's volunteers come from all over the globe, with perhaps fifteen percent coming from abroad. Students hail from the UK, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Taiwan, Spain, and Canada. A contingent from Japan was elected through a lottery system from a pool of eager applicants.
And what do the SV's hope to get out of the experience?
Martin Aristegui, a junior at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, hopes to meet some interesting people and get feel for what the conference is about. "This is my first SIGGRAPH and I'm excited to be here and be a part of it."
Cory Pampalone, a student from Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, looks forward to the seeing the animation. And he'll get his chance at one of the 10 p.m. screenings of the Electronic Theater; Lohmar has four hundred tickets for his volunteers.
Besides admission to the ET, Volunteers have full conference access to the Exhibit Halls, Papers, Panels, and Courses -- that is when they're not scheduled for a shift. Students can sign up for a range of work commitments, with twenty five hours qualifying them for conference admission and Course Proceedings and Papers on CD-ROM, and thirty five hours qualifying them for hotel accommodations as well.
One new feature this year is the specialized Student Volunteers, those with specific skill sets, such as computer networking, HTML coding, or TV production. These students will be placed in specific venues such as the Interactive Dance Club, SIGGRAPH Online, or STV, the closed circuit broadcast originating from inside the Orange County Convention Center.
Another new addition to the SV Program under Lohmar's direction is online scheduling. "Previously students were sent their schedules in the mail. However, some schedules would not be received until after the students had left for the conference. Therefore I created a cgi-bin script which allowed students to view their schedules on line."
Students interested in volunteering for next year's SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles should pick up a Call for Participation at the SIGGRAPH 99 booth in the main lobby.