Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Become a PyCon 2016 volunteer!

A community conference like PyCon is run by volunteers. There are many ways to get involved if you are interested in serving the community as part of the team who makes the conference possible. Here is what the volunteer calendar looks like for PyCon 2016:

The two major opportunities to volunteer before the conference are happening right now — we need volunteers for the two program committees who work to put together PyCon’s schedule!

  • The Talks Program Committee votes on which talk proposals get to become part of the conference schedule. They are currently working on the 300 talk proposals that have already been received, and will probably have several hundred more to evaluate by the time the Call For Proposals ends on Sunday January 3! If you have watched PyCon talks before and you are planning on attending PyCon 2016, then the program committee would love your help. Volunteers get to use the cool new voting app that the committee chair has written to streamline the process this year. To get involved, join the committee mailing list and the welcome message will tell you how to get started!
  • Meanwhile, the Tutorials Program Committee is hard at work evaluating the 100+ proposals that they received before their own Call for Proposals closed back on November 30. It is not too late to help out! If you have experience as a student or instructor and you plan on attending PyCon 2016, simply join the mailing list and ask how you can help.

Either program committee will require hours of your time over both January and February as each process slowly winds its way towards completion. Near the end of February, both efforts finally come to an end as the results are tallied and the conference chairs reveal the official talk and tutorial schedules for PyCon 2016!

Several months then pass before late May, when attendees start to assemble in Portland and the whole world of on-site volunteer opportunities opens up!

  • Swag bag stuffing is a come-as-you-are event on the evening before the conference starts, that transforms piles of brochures and boxes of branded accessories into neatly packed tote bags that are ready to be handed out to attendees.
  • Volunteers are needed during the conference at both the registration desk and at the nearby booth where tote bags are distributed to attendees.
  • Tutorials are supported by tutorial hosts who make sure that instructors and their students have working equipment and get everything they need to learn as effectively as possible.
  • Talks happen thanks to two very busy sets of volunteers. Session runners escort each speaker to the correct room and help make sure their laptop gets hooked up to the projector. Session chairs introduce each speaker at the beginning of their talk and then mediate the question-and-answer period that takes place at the end.
  • Special events like the Young Coders Workshop and the PyLadies Auction have their own dedicated teams of volunteers.

There will be opportunities to sign up for these on-site volunteer roles once the date of the conference is a bit closer — probably starting at the close of Winter. We will announce each sign-up opportunity both on this blog and also on the conference twitter account, so follow along for the chance to volunteer as one of the people who helps put PyCon on for the worldwide Python community!

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