Tag Archives: volunteers

WisCon 40 concom recruitment

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

If it’s December, it must be… recruitment time for the WisCon Convention-Planning Committee.

The planning committee — most of the time shortened to “concom” — is the stage crew who push buttons, flip levers, and pull the ropes to make WisCon happen every Memorial Day weekend.

“What’s it take to join?”

Willingness to commit to doing a task. You can sign up for something that takes just a couple hours a month, something that largely happens only at the convention, or something that completely wraps up before the convention even starts. You don’t need to be local to Madison for most tasks. And even if you can’t make it to WisCon this year, you can still help out!

“Do I need experience?”

Not necessarily! It can be helpful to have been on a concom before, or to have skills that are relevant to what you’re interested in doing. But WisCon also has decades of experience in training new concom members to pick up a task and carry on.

“Are there meetings? I hate meetings.”

Our monthly meetings are definitely useful (especially closer to the convention), but they’re completely optional. If you’re local to Madison you can join the in-person contingent; if you’re elsewhere in the world you can join the meeting via phone. In between meetings we discuss things via a private Google Group, so regular access to a computer is helpful, as is the ability to respond to emails in a timely fashion.

“Why in the world would I want to join WisCon‘s concom??”

Ahhh. And that is a perfectly fair question. It’s one that I’ve been asked a few times, especially because I stepped into my communications role in the middle of the summer of 2014. So I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve been telling people these past 18 months — I joined because WisCon has been transformative for me, because I knew I had skills that would be useful to the concom and the convention, and because I found I was passionate to help. Which passion comes from one very simple idea: That by helping to build WisCon, I am, in a small but noticeable way, helping to build the sort of world that I want to live in.

This is why the concom needs you. Because we need your skills, your passion, and, yes, sometimes we need your anger to help us build WisCon — to help us build a better WisCon.

As Alexandra Erin wrote last year: “Who runs WisCon? You do. WisCon is your con. It’s run by you, for you.”

WisCon is your con — backstage and out front. Consider joining us on the stage crew.

Our list of open positions this year ranges from a Parties Coordinator, to Access, to editing, to Logistics (the stage crew of the stage crew). If you have questions or if you’re interested in any positions, contact us at recruitment@wiscon.net.

 

(PS: Oh, and the deep dark secret of the concom is… It’s fun to be part of the planning. You meet a group of tremendous, dedicated people who, the next thing you know it, are some of your closest friends.)

Seeking — the word-savvy, the cat herders

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

A mid-20th century typewriter with a scrap of paper in it; the paper reads "WisCon, WisCon, do you read?"Do you word?  Do you know your way around an editorial calendar?  Can you herd cats?  The SF3 Communications Committee — which handles all of WisCon’s external communications — is expanding the team and currently has openings for managing editors and writers.

We are also signal-boosting an editor role in WisCon’s Publications department.  Skip to the bottom if you’re interested in that job!  Note: For any of these positions, you absolutely do not need to be a Madison local.  I, for instance, live in Seattle.

The SF3 Communications Committee’s responsibility, first and foremost, is to WisCon and SF3’s communities.  We are here to communicate about WisCon/SF3 to you — our fellow convention attendees, our supporters, our panelists and audience members, our friends.  Our goal is to make WisCon more transparent, within the bounds of respecting individuals’ privacy and the few concom matters that must remain confidential.  I mean, we’re not going to crack and tell you who upcoming guests of honor are going to be even one second before they’re announced at the Dessert Salon, no matter how much you bribe us.

We are, basically, here to to make the inexplicable a bit more explicable.  We’re not here to confuse and obfuscate with spin.

If you’re interested in any of our editor positions below, please write an email to introduce yourself:

  • Do you have any experience as an editor, or as a managing editor in particular?  Tell us a little about the publication you worked for — what you did, what you liked about it, how you dealt with the challenge of having to nag people sometimes.
  • Do you have experience that fits the duties we need to fill, but that doesn’t come with the ~right~ title?  Tell us about that.  What have you done that suits you for managing a publication schedule?  For tweaking someone else’s writing?  For chasing after late submissions?

If you’re interested in being one of our writers, when you email to introduce yourself please include a few samples of public-facing writing, especially writing you did for an organization — send us links to blog posts, tweets, et cetera.

For all of the positions on the SF3 Communications Committee, our secret hope is to find people with some experience in external communications, because speaking as one person for a many-voiced organization like a convention-planning committee can be a challenge and we don’t want to throw you into the fire without proper gear. But, y’know, if you don’t have any background with this sort of communication, don’t sweat it. We’d rather hear from you than not hear from you — talk to us about what you’re interested in and let us know how you think you’re suited for it.

Some knowledge of WisCon will likely be helpful, but it is absolutely not a requirement to have ever attended WisCon!  Although please know in advance that being a member of the committee does not come with a comped WisCon membership.  No member of the WisCon concom, the SF3 board, or other SF3 committees receives a comped membership, although assistance is available through the WisCon Member Assistance Fund.

In particular, we do invite queries from individuals from traditionally underrepresented/marginalized groups — people of color, trans/nonbinary individuals, women, gay/lesbian/bi/queer/&c. individuals, individuals with disability.

We also do not care one iota if you don’t have a fancy college education.  I’m chair of the Communications Committee, and while I’ve spent my fair share of time in college (thank you, Pell Grants!), I still don’t have a college degree — in fact, I entirely flunked out of one college.  If you think you have the chops but are at all worried your class background disqualifies you in some way,  please write to me.

So, what exactly do we have open right now?

Blog Editor

The WisCon blog is where we put news and updates as they happen — announcements for upcoming deadlines, calls for submissions for panel ideas or articles for the Souvenir Book, and so forth.  The Blog Editor will handle requests when a department needs a post (making sure it gets written by someone, working with the department on the content and in making sure it’s ready on time, then doing a light edit and scheduling it for publication).  We are also developing a few regularly-occurring blog series, which the Blog Editor will be responsible for overseeing.  The editor would also have discretion to post non-WisCon items of interest to the WisCon community.

This position will be somewhat busy October-December mostly with planning.  Blog content ramps up significantly January-April when we start hitting deadlines.  After the convention in May, things drop off sharply. It’s really quite hard to give an estimate of what the weekly time commitment is since this is a new position, but we’ll work together to make sure you have a manageable workload. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: It will be useful to have a basic knowledge of how to post in WordPress.    Having an understanding of how to work with taxonomies, custom menus, and other WP features will be helpful but isn’t strictly necessary.  WisCon has its own style guide, so you won’t need deep knowledge of another (e.g., Chicago or AP).

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Website Editor

The Website Editor will be the one in charge of maintaining all the static information on the WisCon website (basically everything non-blog).  This will mean working with each department every year to make sure all information is up-to-date (deadlines, any changes to procedures, et cetera).  The Website Editor will also make sure everything is edited to be clear, concise, and appropriate for the web.  If a department’s request seems more appropriate for the blog, then the Website Editor will connect the department and the Blog Editor.

The position will be quite busy October-December because we plan to overhaul the WisCon website.  Things should quiet down significantly after this major update, although we do receive website update requests throughout the year.  In April there will be a short burst of activity as the Website Editor coordinates with the Pocket Program Book Editor and the WisSched App Developer to make sure all content for the latter two is also correct on the website.  In early May there’s another sprint as we prepare sections of the website for the next convention.  After the convention in May, things drop off until it’s time to start making deadline updates, usually around September.

As with the Blog Editor, it’s really quite hard to give an estimate of what the weekly time commitment is since this is a new position, but we’ll work together to make sure you have a manageable workload. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: It will be useful to have a basic knowledge of how to post in WordPress.    Having an understanding of how to work with taxonomies, custom menus, and other WP features will be helpful but isn’t strictly necessary.  WisCon has its own style guide, so you won’t need deep knowledge of another (e.g., Chicago or AP).

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Community Sites Manager (aka, Virtual Panel Moderator)

The Community Sites Manager will handle moderating comments on our blog, assist with curating WisCon’s Facebook and Twitter, and manage the flow of content to the WisCon Talk Google Group and to the fan-run WisCon communities on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth (consulting with the admins of the LJ/DWth communities as necessary). The Community Sites Manager will consult with the Anti-Abuse Team with any concerns about harassment or abuse in WisCon spaces.

Again, it’s really quite hard to give an estimate of what the weekly time commitment is since this is a new position, but we’ll work together to make sure you have a manageable workload. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: It will be useful to have good familiarity with all of the above platforms — WordPress (for our blog), Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and Google Groups.

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Writer(s)

Our blog could use a writer or two to help out with posts that fall outside of departmental announcements (which concom departments typically write themselves) — such as official announcements (either from WisCon or SF3), general updates, et cetera. Joining us as a writer is also a great place to start if you’re interested in stepping up to an editor position some day but would like to get some experience under your belt.

Time commitment for writers will depend somewhat on how many writers we have. We’ll work together as a team to make sure no one is overburdened. It will be necessary to keep in touch with the committee as a whole on a regular basis — checking in with the team 2-3 times a week via our online communication platform. We are also planning monthly team meetings, to possibly be held via a service such as GChat or Skype.

Skills: Clear, snappy writing! (See the notes in the section just above the job description about sending samples.) WisCon has its own style guide, so you won’t need deep knowledge of another (e.g., Chicago or AP).

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org


And now a word from our friends in WisCon’s Publications Department….

While we’re recruiting for editors, our compatriots over in Pubs (they handle all of WisCon’s printed materials, such as the Pocket Program Book and the Souvenir Book) are also looking for an editor to handle the Souvenir Book.

Souvenir Book Editor

The editor of the Souvenir Book will put out a call for materials, decide which articles go into the book, edit them, and help streamline the proofreading process. Publications experience is of course helpful, but totally not necessary. The first call for materials should go out in December, with work ramping up in March and April. You should be done long before WisCon actually happens! You’ll have lots of help from the Publications head, as well as folks who have done the book in past years. Please let us know if you are interested or have questions!

Email your introduction/query to: comms_chair@sf3.org

Volunteer

WisCon is organized and run entirely by volunteers. Volunteering is a great way to meet people, feel connected to WisCon, and enjoy your convention weekend!

At-Con

There are many ways to volunteer during the convention — from helping out at our Registration/Info Desk to prepping food in the Con Suite. Check out this page for an overview of possible jobs. All volunteers get a “thank you” gift, and volunteers who work six hours or more and get their volunteer sheet signed by their department lead are eligible for a rebate on their membership!

Pre-Con / Concom

The annual planning and preparation for WisCon is done by SF3’s Convention-Planning Committee — aka, the Concom. If you’re interested in joining the convention’s stage crew, this page gives an overview of what working on the Concom is like. All Concom members are also eligible for the “thank you” gift and a rebate on their membership.

Volunteer Rebate

As part of WisCon’s dedication to affordability, it’s possible to get a rebate on the cost of your convention membership if you help out in various ways. The amount of the rebate may vary according to the financial status of the convention, but can be up to 40% of the price of an adult attending membership.

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!

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.

Volunteer Needs at WisCon 37!

As WisCon approaches, we still have some open volunteer shifts that we are hoping to fill before the convention starts. These opportunities will allow you to meet new people, explore interests, possibly add new skills, and help make the convention the best it can be!

A/V could use three people to help with set-up and during special events: the Tiptree Auction on Saturday and GoH speeches on Sunday, plus one other person to help when needed.

On Friday night, we need one or more people to head the First WisCon Dinner, an informal meet and greet for people attending the convention for the first time and anyone else interested. The group meets outside the Wisconsin ballroom after the first panels end 5:15-5:30 and heads to a local restaurant for dinner together.

Access could use some help with blue-taping in the mornings during the convention and before special events.

The Tiptree Auction still needs runners for during the bidding.

The Tiptree Bake Sale could use help on Saturday after the sale with breakdown from 3-4 pm and some extra hands during their busy time from 11:30 am-2 pm.

Sign-out on is looking for a couple more volunteers on Monday from 10-30 until the end.

Registration has shifts open on Saturday and Sunday.

The ConSuite has openings throughout the convention, please check in at the ConSuite to sign up for open shifts.

Childcare also often needs help, you can stop by during open hours to see if and when they need help.

We will have additional and emergency needs posted on the volunteer board near registration beginning Friday morning, If you are arriving on Thursday or early Friday and want to help with set-up, you can stop by registration or the volunteer board to see how you can help.

All volunteers receive a special commemorative thank you gift. If you volunteer six or more hours during the convention, you are eligible for a $20 refund on your membership fee as funds allow.

If you can help us out, or for more information, please contact us at volunteers@wiscon.net.

Thank you!

Volunteering at WisCon

We still have lots of ways to help and have immediate needs for volunteers. Please check out the volunteer information table near registration on the 2nd floor or e-mail me at volunteers@wiscon.net to sign up or for more information.

This year’s volunteer thank you gift is a light weight tote bag with a beautiful WisCon logo by Jeanne Gomoll.

Kristin
WisCon Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteering in the Con Suite

The Con Suite is a great resource for everyone – but it doesn’t run itself. This is especially so given the new food safety procedures in place, which require more intensive work, and less casual help (for example, those serving food must wash up and wear gloves and aprons.) This is putting a lot more stress on our regulars in the Con Suite, who do yeoperson work keeping us fed.

Help support our Con Suite by signing up for a shift or two, especially for mealtimes and party time. The signup is just to the right of the hot dog grill. It’s a great way to meet people – like Rick’s, everyone comes to the con suite sooner or later – (hey, I served Geoff Ryman a hot dog last night!) and it really, really helps out WisCon.

And remember, those who volunteer for six hours or more are eligible for a membership rebate…

eCube #7 online/ Gathering Apprentices needed

eCube #7 is now available online.

Gathering apprentices needed: The soon-to-retire Gathering coordinators are looking for apprentices to learn the ropes from this year’s Gathering coordinators in preparation for taking over for WisCon 34. You don’t have to be located in Madison to do the job, but you do need to arrive at the convention in time to begin set-up at 9am on Friday.

The Gathering Coordinators’ duties include recruiting participants to do activities during the event, working with Programming to ensure all participants are listed in the database, working with the Volunteer Coordinator to get volunteers to help staff the event, working with the hotel liaison to order food and tables, writing an article or two for eCube and the program book, creating flyers, maps, and passports for the event, ordering prizes for attendees, and onsite set-up and tear-down.

It’s easy to do the job out of state since the prep work is done via email. Once you’re onsite, the job is completely done before Opening Ceremonies, so you are free to enjoy the rest of the convention. Plus, you get a sneak peak and first pick at Galley table and Clothing Swap! If you are interested, please let us know via gathering@wiscon.net.