Tag Archives: concom

Get Into the Guts of Convention Planning on Our Hotel Team

Have you ever thought about how crucial WisCon’s Hotel team is to the convention? Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you don’t know what the Hotel Department is or what they do. Would you like to learn? It just so happens we’re looking for a few understudies!

You might have already guessed that they interact with our hotel—it’s right there in the name. The Hotel team keeps in touch with the Madison Concourse Hotel, our venue, throughout the year (and not just because they get to be friends during the convention, though that’s true, too).

Details? The members of our Hotel team get the updates on remodeling and other changes happening at the Concourse, keep tabs on reservations in WisCon’s room block, and double-check that our programming will fit into the available space. They confirm which rooms will hold the Safer Spaces, the Quiet Space, the parties, papers, panels, and workshops, and sort out which rooms need what audio/visual equipment when. They work closely with the Concourse to put together the diagrams of how each program room will be set up, when those setups need to change, and whether or not we need to rent more chairs, tables, or microphones. They tell the hotel when to expect our deliveries, meet our moving truck, and make sure that everyone involved—volunteers, convention members, contractors, and hotel staff—is able to have a great time throughout Memorial Day weekend.

How crucial is the Hotel team? Without them we wouldn’t have rooms to sleep in during the convention. Or anywhere to have panels. And no one would be able to hear the panelists, since they wouldn’t have microphones. Or chairs. Or tables. And we couldn’t all chill in the Con Suite because all of our kitchen equipment would still be in storage.

Want to be part of making all of these practical details happen? We’re currently looking for at least two additional Hotel team members, no prior experience needed. We will teach you all of the mysteries of who gets a “lanyard of power,” what our contracts say, how to read BEOs, and, incidentally, what BEO stands for.

Members of the Hotel team do not need to be local to Madison, since we work via email, chatrooms, shared documents, and conference calls. Folks on the team are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $22 of your $55 membership back after the con ends.
To apply to join the Hotel team, please email personnel@sf3.org.

WisCon 41 Concom Opportunity — PWD Safer Space lead

WisCon Chairs
SF3 Personnel Committee

We’re looking for someone to run our Safer Space for people with disabilities as the prior lead may not be able to make it to WisCon this year. This is, of course, a role that’s reserved for a person with a disability.

The lead is responsible for the key to the room and determines the setup for the room. They will also have control over a small budget that they are free to use for refreshments, supplies, or whatever they determine is necessary for the space.

To fill this role you do not need to be local to Madison, but should be planning to attend WisCon 41. We particularly welcome volunteers from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

The PWD Safer Space lead is part of the WisCon Concom and is automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $20 of your $50 membership back after the con ends.

If you are interested in joining our Registration team, please email: recruitment@wiscon.net

WisCon 41 Concom Opportunity — Registration co-lead and table captains

WisCon Chairs
SF3 Personnel Committee

WisCon’s Registration desk is the information hub of the convention, greeting every member as they arrive, selling and handing out name tags and dessert tickets, and answering questions. Registration is a vital space that’s open every day of the convention — it’s where lost & found is, where you can sign up to volunteer at the Art Show or Con Suite or anywhere else that needs a hand at the last minute, and where members go when they have questions.

Registration is a great place to contribute time to help WisCon go smoothly, especially if you love knowing things and meeting people.

We are looking for someone to join the Registration team as co-lead for WisCon 41 — a role that’s part of the Concom.  We’re also looking for folks willing to learn the Registration interface (it’s easy, don’t worry!) who can serve as table captains during short shifts throughout the convention.

To fill these roles you do not need to be local to Madison, but should be planning to attend WisCon 41. We particularly welcome volunteers from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

The Registration co-lead is part of the WisCon Concom and is automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $20 of your $50 membership back after the con ends.  The table captains are not part of the Concom, but as volunteers are of course eligible for the membership rebate.

If you are interested in joining our Registration team, please email: recruitment@wiscon.net

WisCon 41 Concom Opportunity — Hotel Liaison team

WisCon Chairs
SF3 Personnel Committee

WisCon’s Hotel Liaison team works throughout the convention with the amazing staff of the Madison Concourse Hotel to ensure that every one of the ballrooms, conference rooms, and meeting rooms in the hotel is correctly set up for each of the 240+ programming sessions throughout the weekend, coordinates banquet orders for any events that include food or beverage service, responds to member inquiries about hotel availability, and monitors the status of WisCon’s room block to ensure that sufficient rooms are available in the hotel.

The Hotel Liaison team gets a crash course in the nuts and bolts of large-scale events, but with the safety net of working within a 41-year-old convention with a relationship with the hotel that’s lasted more than three decades.

To fill this role you do not need to be local to Madison, but should be planning to attend WisCon 41. We particularly welcome volunteers from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

The Hotel Liaison team is part of the WisCon Concom and is automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $20 of your $50 membership back after the con ends.

If you are interested in joining our Hotel Liaison team, please email: recruitment@wiscon.net

WisCon 41 Con Suite — Seeking staff & at-con volunteers

WisCon Co-Chairs

Did you visit the Con Suite last year? Do you want to see WisCon’s Con Suite continue to be a place where people choose to eat and spend time?

Then we need you!

But there’s a catch.

Our intent is to specifically address the racist and misogynist abuse toward Con Suite staff and volunteers that we saw at last year’s con, so we are putting emphasis on recruiting Con Suite staff and volunteers who are white and male identified.*

What’s the difference between being Con Suite staff and a Con Suite volunteer?

Just a matter of scope and commitment.

Staff become part of our Concom prior to the convention, comprise a team under our Con Suite leads, are required to go through ServSafe training and certification (fees paid by WisCon) and to help to guide the work of volunteers, and will be asked to commit to a minimum of two three-hour shifts during the convention. Tasks will include setting and resetting the Con Suite space, preparing and portioning foods, maintaining and monitoring inventory, helping to order supplies, and unpacking and repacking equipment, among other things.

Volunteers are encouraged to go through ServSafe training and certification (fees paid by WisCon) though it isn’t required, must follow guidance from Con Suite staff and leads, don’t need to commit to any minimum number of hours, and are not part of the Concom. You can let us know that you intend to volunteer to help out in the Con Suite now or at any point before or during the convention. Tasks will include keeping the Con Suite clean and ready for visitors, directing foot traffic, assuring that everyone in the space is wearing shoes, helping staff to portion and set out food, helping staff to reset the space between mealtimes, and other things.

What will you get out of stepping up to become Con Suite staff, or volunteering?

The most crucial reward will be that we will continue to have a Con Suite where you will enjoy spending time and eating! We’ve had wonderful feedback — and very very high demand — for the Con Suite over the past two years. That means that the WisCon community loved what our Con Suite lead, Julia, created so much that she is no longer able to keep up with it. As a community we need to make sure that she and her successors lead a team that is both large enough that no one has to spend the entire convention working and capable enough that they can all rely on each other.

If pride in a popular Con Suite isn’t the reward you’re looking for, we’ve got more! All staff are automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of your registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $20 of your $50 membership back after the con ends. Volunteering? You can get the same rebate deal as long as you volunteer at least six hours and ask the Con Suite lead to confirm those hours (ask how at the Registration Desk!).

To apply to join Con Suite staff, contact: recruitment@wiscon.net

To let us know you plan to volunteer in the Con Suite, contact: volunteers@wiscon.net

*Wait! You aren’t male identified, or you aren’t white, and you want to join the Con Suite team? Fantastic! We want to have you on the team as well, and we’ll work with you to make sure that your Con Suite experience is a good one. We are optimistic that we will not see a repeat of the poor behavior toward the Con Suite team last year, but we also assure you that behavior is a violation of our Code of Conduct, and will not be tolerated if we see it again.

WisCon 41 Concom opportunity — Dealers’ Room lead

WisCon Co-Chairs

The WisCon Dealers’ Room is a marketplace of books, toys, posters, artwork, magazines, cards, jewelry, and all sorts of other science fiction and fantasy related merchandise as well as items relevant to explorations of feminism, gender, race, class, and disability.

We are looking for someone to step into the role of lead for the Dealers’ Room for WisCon 41, as part of the Concom. To fill this role you do not need to be local to Madison, but should be planning to attend WisCon 41. We particularly welcome volunteers from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

The Dealers’ Room Lead role involves some planning prior to the convention, doable in a few hours a month during March, April, and May. During that time, you would review applications from vendors as they come in, determine the final list of vendors from the applications you receive, and maintain a waitlist if necessary. The Dealers’ Room lead is also responsible for answering questions from potential vendors, assigning them tables, and confirming that all table fees and memberships have been processed by the payment deadline.

During the convention, the lead also needs to be on hand while vendors are loading in to the space (Friday 10am-2pm), as well as for opening and closing the Dealers’ Room space every day, for checking in throughout opening hours, and for being on hand as vendors load out from the space on Monday (after 2pm).

The Dealers’ Room lead is part of the WisCon Concom and is automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $20 of your $50 membership back after the con ends.

If you are interested in joining the concom as the Dealers’ Room lead, please contact recruitment@wiscon.net

WisCon 41 Concom opportunity — Gathering lead

WisCon Co-Chairs

For people new to WisCon, the Gathering is their very first look at what WisCon is like — and for folks who have been to WisCon before, it’s a welcome time to find people they haven’t seen in a year, to catch up, and to relax with one of the diversions that the Gathering has to offer!

Those experiences make the Gathering, the official start of the convention, an important event at every WisCon. A defining event, just as much as our Opening Ceremonies.

WisCon is a feminist convention, and we believe that means not just “diversity,” but inclusion and centering marginalized identities, including identities around race, gender, class, and ability. The Gathering must reflect that as well.

We are currently seeking a lead for the WisCon 41 Gathering. The Gathering lead is part of the WisCon Concom and is automatically eligible to opt for a WisCon membership rebate of 40% of the registration fee, meaning that if you register for WisCon as an adult, you can opt to receive $20 of your $50 membership back after the con ends.

You need not be local to Madison, but should be planning to attend WisCon 41. In particular, we are seeking applicants from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized identities.

Your role will include some planning prior to the convention, doable in a few hours a month during March, April, and May. You will determine what activities will be held from the applications you receive, communicate with the people running those activities, and solicit other activities as necessary. During the convention you will be on hand when the Gathering space is set up Friday morning and will be present during the event itself.

To apply to be Gathering lead, contact recruitment@wiscon.net

Recruitment drive: Con Suite coordinators

Alexandra Erin
Media & Communications

Let’s face it: WisCon just wouldn’t be WisCon without the Con Suite. It also wouldn’t be as affordable for those dining on a budget, or as accessible for those who can’t readily leave the building, or as fun and friendly for everyone. WisCon’s unique Con Suite does more than just lay out some snacks, it provides hot food and hospitality throughout the convention.

A first-rate Con Suite doesn’t just spring into being. We need volunteers to head up the Con Suite for WisCon. This year we are looking for a team of people to divide the responsibility, so that everyone involved has a chance to fully enjoy the convention in addition to their duties. They say too many cooks will spoil the broth. We say many hands makes for a great con all around.

Our ideal volunteers for Con Suite head have experience in food handling and ServSafe certification, or be willing to complete it — our treat! The ServSafe program is just a simple online course followed by a test. The heads may assist with planning, purchasing and preparing food, supervising Con Suite volunteers, ensuring food safety, and the set-up and tear-down of the Con Suite.

Traditionally the Con Suite has been open Friday, 6 p.m. –
3 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 a.m. , and Monday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., when it closes for good. The Con Suite closes during opening ceremonies, the Guest of Honor Speeches, and the award ceremonies. These hours may be changed to meet the availability of our head volunteers.

To help out or request more information about ServSafe certification or other details, please contact WisCon’s Recruitment department at recruitment@wiscon.net.

Also check outthe full list of open Concom positions!

Update from Anti-Abuse

Jacquelyn Gill, chair
Anti-Abuse Team

Since last year, members of the concom have been hard at work developing new policies and procedures for handling harassment reports and for improving member safety and well-being at WisCon in general. Our guiding principles have been to make harassment and abuse rare, reporting easy, and follow-through timely, respectful, and reporter-centered.

One of our first steps was to implement a new Anti-Abuse Team model.  The AAT will be a permanent, year-round concom department that will include a Safety representative and a historian/archivist — a model which we hope will help prevent past issues with institutional memory, mishandling of reports, and lack of follow-through.  The policies that the AAT will operate under will afford improved flexibility to handle both individual reports and to address general concerns.  The AAT will also strive to maintain a diverse team that reflects the diversity of WisCon’s membership.

Here are a few of the things we have been working on:

  • We completely rebuilt our anti-harassment policy, working off of the Ada Initiative policy for conventions. Our draft policy is currently under review by the concom.  We will also be sharing it with our membership for public comment.
  • We have developed a new policy to address member conduct outside of WisCon that may threaten member safety at the convention, including doxing, outing, stalking, assault, and online harassment.
  • We have been working very closely with Safety, Registration, Programming, and Volunteering so that decisions on reports (e.g., bans, programming restrictions) are communicated to and enforced by relevant departments.
  • We have been working with Safety and AppDev to design a secure database for incident reports.  We have also adapted our policy to include informal communications or general concerns raised about individuals or the climate at WisCon in general.
  • We are re-evaluating the formal member advocate position (implemented just before WisCon 38) and have drafted some alternative policies.
  • We are investigating training opportunities in advocacy, bystander intervention, and other relevant skill sets for members of the concom.

A draft document of our new policies will be available for public review in the next few weeks, so that we will have our new policy implemented in advance of WisCon 39. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me and the Anti-Abuse Team (antiabuse@wiscon.net) or Safety (safety@wiscon.net) with any concerns or questions.

[Footnote:  The policy and procedure revision is a separate process from the work of the subcommittee convened to consider Rose Lemberg’s report of harassment by F.J. Bergmann.  That subcommittee should soon be asking the concom for the final vote.  We will announce when that vote happens.]

update from subcommittee reviewing harassment report

Chris Wallish
Media & Communications

The subcommittee convened to consider Rose Lemberg’s report of harassment by F.J. Bergmann is beginning to wrap up its work.  Finalizing conclusions and recommendations will yet take several weeks.  The last stage of the process begins with the concom voting on whether to accept the subcommittee’s final report and recommendations.

The subcommittee’s next update will be an announcement when the concom begins voting.

planning WisCon 40

Andrea Horbinski and s.e. smith 
Co-Chairs, WisCon 40

We’re celebrating 40 great years in 2016 and we can’t wait to see old and new faces!

WisCon wouldn’t be what it is without all the wonderful members who make it home every year, from those who have been attending for decades to newbies who are just getting ready for their first Con. As we prepare with some special events behind the scenes, we’d also like to hear from you — what do YOU want to see at WisCon 40?

We welcome your nominations for guests of honor, comments, and ideas, big and small, by 5 January 2015. You can comment here, comment on Facebook, or Tweet at us — as well as emailing directly to chairs@wiscon.net.

Come build WisCon with us

Alexandra Erin
Media & Communications

Who runs WisCon?

You do.

WisCon is your con. It’s run by you, for you. Every year, it takes the hard work of a dedicated band of volunteers to make the convention happen, but every year, through your efforts we can make the con that much better for everyone. We have a need for volunteers with many different skills and all levels of experience. Fresh voices and enthusiasm are just as needed as old seasoned hands. Whether this is your first WisCon or your fifty-first*, you can become a part of the heart of the con by volunteering.

While you can step up to help the day of the con by just putting yourself forward when someone asks for help, the best way to get involved in on-site volunteering is send an email to volunteers@wiscon.net and let us know that you’re interested.

But we also have an immediate need for people who are willing and able to step up and take on essential roles in the running of the con. By volunteering for one of these positions, you will step into the Convention Committee (ConCom), the overarching committee that does the work to make WisCon happen. You will become a part of planning discussions and decision making throughout the year, in addition to your at-con role. This means that you’ll have a direct hand in shaping WisCon 39 and the future of WisCon beyond. While these positions do require you to take on responsibility, this also means you’ll have a support network and the expertise and experience of other ConCom members, or at least some sympathetic brains to pick.

If you’re interested in joining a particular department, just send an email to recruitment@wiscon.net,

Right now, we have a particular need for people to fill the following roles:

  • Organizer for the WisCon Writer’s Workshop.  The workshop  traditionally takes place on the Friday before the con, and gives up-and-coming and newer writers a chance to share their work and have their stories critiqued by a pro writer.
  • The front desk needs some people willing to take a lead position for At-Con Registration. You can become a personal hero to one of the tireless heroes of the con by taking responsibility for the registration desk for just half a day during the con. This position requires you to be able to answer questions about the con with knowledge and confidence, and be prepared to handle all forms of payment for same-day registration sales. This is the perfect role for someone who likes to meet people, share information, and help people out. If this position interests you but you feel you lack the experience, the registration desk always has a need for helper minions. Feel free to put yourself forward during the con.
  • WisCon traditionally ends with an After-Con Party, but this party doesn’t just happen! We need someone to organize it. Remember, this is a wind-down affair, so you wouldn’t need much in the way of activity planning, but while there’s a potluck of food leftover available from the rest of the con, some fresh refreshments will have to be lined up. The main thing about this party is that it happens after many people’s brains have handled all the pressure and responsibility they can in one long weekend, so we need someone who will take charge of lining up food, setting it all up, and closing it all down.
  • We need a Banquet Liaison for the hotel. In the months before the con, your responsibility will be to collect information about furniture layouts and menus required for catering services by different groups, and follow up as necessary during the con when reality diverges from expectations. Requires organization skills, communication skills, and an ability to follow-through and encourage others to do so.
  • The Art Show requires a lead for set-up, as well as “understudies” who can assist in running it and also step up to lead if needed during the con.
  • We need an Ad Salesperson for the Pocket Program book & souvenir book.
  • Do you have experience in non-profit funding? We are building a team with experience in Grant-Writing and Fundraising.
  • We need additional volunteers to run the Gaming Area, preferably enough to have one person to take lead for each night. You would be overseeing the set-up, clean-up, and operations of the gaming area.
  • A Pre-Con Head for the Green Room to organize the schedule for the Green Room, set up volunteer time slots and work with the Volunteer Coordinator to fill them before the convention begins. You will also set the menu for the Green Room and may make changes to its layout as necessary.
  • Programming can always use more people!
  • In order to ensure the Bake Sale comes off, we need someone who can act as a second to the organizer with an eye towards taking over the role in the future. Due to external uncertainties, there is a chance you may become the primary organizer on-site at the con.
  • Last but certainly not least, our current ConCom chairs (Mikki Kendall & Levi Sable) would like a 3rd or even 4th Chair for WisCon 39 to share duties and expertise.

If you’re interested in filling any of these roles and joining the ConCom, send a query to recruitment@wiscon.net. For general volunteering during the con, send an email to volunteers@wiscon.net.

*Time travelers are by definition always welcome.