Thursday, February 23, 2012

What to do on Thursday at PyCon? Learn the in's and out's of PyCon!

As we mentioned in Wednesday's post, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities at PyCon. Thursday is both a setup and a teardown day, being the last day of tutorials and the night before the main conference activities begin. As always, we can always use help if you have the time!

As we approach the opening of conference talks, did you know that even the speakers are volunteers whom pay their own way? When you take into account that speakers wrote and submitted their proposals by mid-October and have been researching, writing, and practicing their presentations the last few months, they've donated a lot of their time to make this conference so great. If you get the chance, and we hope you do, thank your speakers!

Session Staff and Speaker Orientation

If you signed up as a session chair or a session runner, join us at 7:30 in the Great American Ballroom (Tutorial Track IV a.k.a. F1) room for a quick meeting. We'll go over your responsibilities, walk through the processes, and answer any questions you may have.

If you're a speaker, please join us in this meeting so we can take you through the same steps and make sure everyone knows who everyone is and understands the roles of the chair and the runner for their presentation.

Speaker Assistance

Immediately following the orientation is a new meeting for 2012: speaker assistance. We'd like to bring everyone together and make sure every speaker knows how the conference works and then share tips for getting the most out of your presentation. We will go over laptop setup and have A/V personnel around to make sure people have the right settings and adapters. The last thing we want is a first time speaker walking up on stage with a bad setup, then spending the first 5 minutes fumbling around with video card settings in front of 300 people. It's definitely no fun for the speaker, and it's no fun for the audience either.

First time presenters: please ask every question you can think of! Experienced speakers: please come out and help your fellow presenters out by sharing the tips and tricks that have worked for you over the years. We're all one big team, and being able to lean on each other the night before it all kicks off will make sure we put together a quality event.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

We know this is a lot of information and it gets hectic with 1500 people wandering around the halls when you need some help. That's why we've introduced a new group this year: the Welcoming Committee.

Be on the lookout for people in funny stove pipe hats.They are there to help you navigate PyCon and if they do not have the answers to your questions, they know how to find those whom do. Are you a PyCon veteran with an outgoing personality, a willingness to help others, and look good in funny hats? Join in and help out with the committee.

Re-Tool the Conference

As the tutorials end and Thursday night begins, we flip the switch on conference mode. We need to tear down the tutorial setups and convert them to Open Space rooms. We need to setup the Open Space board. We need to do the rest of the setup in the ballrooms for the talks. There's a lot to do, so we'd be grateful for any time you can volunteer to the efforts.

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