Looking back at the conference, I know that I want to visit more conferences in the future. It was a great way to meet new people and learn about all the interesting research. Next to the talks and workshops, the poster presentations gave a good overview of the research being done, and the after-hour events provided an opportunity for networking and more in-depth discussion.
As a student volunteer we have this implied power at the conference, visualized by the orange t-shirt, allowing us to talk with everyone and to go everywhere without people questioning why we’re there. I used this power to get to meet both well-established and emerging researchers, and to see their talks even when I’m not supposed to be there, such as attending some summer school talks.
But as student volunteers we had the shared responsibility to make sure everything kept running smoothly, and also got a close-up view of the efforts behind the scenes that, for example, ensure there is enough lunch for hundreds of people. During my shifts I was responsible for making sure the talks went without a hitch and that everyone could hear the speakers loud and clear. From running around with a microphone when people have questions, to trying to figure out why the projector did not work (the cable was broken), it was a good exercise in problem solving and staying alert.
I look forward to future conferences, hopefully presenting my own research as well. And now that I can call myself an ‘experienced’ student volunteer, I would not hesitate to sign up as a student volunteer again.