Student Volunteer Coordinator Duties (EMNLP-2017)

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Before the conference

  1. Check with the SIGDAT Secretary how much SIGDAT can commit for student scholarships, which are essentially travel grants (~10).
  2. (Optional) Write a proposal to NSF to secure funding for student scholarships.
  3. Write a call for applications and prepare an application form.
  4. Select scholarship recipients and volunteers based on guidelines obtained from Priscilla. Typically there will be 70-80 applicants. The chair has to decide (1) whether scholarship recipients should serve as volunteers and (2) whether scholarship recipients should have the main conference registration waived or should pay for it using their scholarships. Priscilla is willing to waive the main conference registration for 35 students, who will eventually be the student volunteers.
  5. Send acceptance/rejection notifications to the applicants. In addition to accepting 35 students as volunteers, we need to put 5-10 students on the waiting list in case any of the selected students turns down the offer. It helps to include a preliminary schedule for volunteering in the acceptance letter. (To set up the schedule, ask Priscilla for a list of tasks that need to be covered and the number of volunteers needed for each task). We also need to ask the selected students the size of their volunteer t-shirt.
  6. Fine-tune the schedule for volunteering based on the final program schedule for the main conference, the workshop, and the tutorials based on the volunteers' preferences.

During the conference

Work with Priscilla and the volunteers the day before the tutorials to set things up (preparing the badges, etc.), and at the end of each day of the conference, remind the volunteers who needs to do what on the next day. The most important thing is to make the volunteers understand that they work as a team and that their main goal is to help make the conference run as smoothly as possible.


Should the chair be local?

It'd really help if the chair is local - it makes the recruitment of local volunteers, who are especially needed before the first day of the conference and on the last day of the conference, much easier. It also makes coordination easier.

Should the chair be at a US-based institution?

If the chair isn't US-base, she won't be able to apply for NSF funding, so it may be a good idea to appoint two people to this position, a US-based person who can apply for NSF funding and a local person to handle the local matters.

Will NSF always provide funding? How do I get it?

You contact Tatiana Korelsky. Unfortunately, NSF only supports student travel if there is a doctoral consortium at the conference ... though, some have gotten lucky anyway, so worth a try.

What does a call for volunteers look like?

What does an example application look like?

Content largely thanks to Vincent Ng