By Alexis Grace, Junior, Clark Atlanta University
As we recover from a phenomenal time at #NABJ18 in Detroit, let us take a minute to thank those who put everything together. From President Sarah Glover, Volunteer Coordinator and former NABJ President Will Sutton and the staff ,all the way down to the volunteers.
Volunteers are everyday people who may or may not have any involvement with NABJ. Some volunteers may be college students looking to network, a parent who wanted to learn more about what their child was involved in, or maybe even a resident wanting to represent for their community.
Either way, an NABJ convention can be quite pricey. Many expenses must be taken into consideration. You have transportation, housing (if you aren’t a resident of the convention city), food, and free time (spending time with friends or going out to the parties). Being a volunteer during a convention allows you to make connections, receive volunteer hours and gain access to the convention — for free.
If you are thinking about being a volunteer for #NABJ19, luckily, you have some time to consider your options. What you receive after being a volunteer for NABJ conventions is all about what you make of it. Here are eight things to consider before committing to serve as a volunteer for next year’s convention in Miami.
- Completing the Hours
To receive convention access, you must complete your required hours. That means if the required number of hours is eight, then you will have to complete them in to gain access. There is always help needed during the convention, so these hours should be easy to obtain.
Even though registration is covered, there are still other expenses that need to be accounted for. These expenses include transportation, housing, food and free time. Most volunteers are residents of the area where the convention is held. If you are not a resident, it is best to make sure you have everything else in order before signing up to volunteer.
It was surprisingly an easy way to network. Being a volunteer, you could network with everyone before events, during events, and after the event is over.
- Late Night, Early Mornings
There may be some early mornings and late nights, but thats’s what makes volunteering fun. Expect to create your own schedule, but you will always be asked to work a little bit more than expected, because extra hands are always needed.
- Behind the Scenes
Working behind the scenes may be the coolest part of being a volunteer. You can see what goes on during the award shows, the workshops and the receptions that everyone loves so much.
One thing that seems to be every volunteer’s favorite moment is meeting all the fun celebrities who pop up at an NABJ convention. From Chance the Rapper to Bobby Brown, meeting all your favorite media personalities that you grew up watching can be a pretty big deal.
- Being Social
One thing I find to be the most important is being social. As a volunteer at a convention filled with bright personalities and excitement, you do not want to be quiet all the time. You never know whom you can encounter just by speaking or complimenting someone.
- Missing Events
It is best that you plan your schedule according to how you would like to attend the convention. For example, If you want to participate in multiple workshops on Tuesday, it is best to know that you have completed all of your hours by Monday so you’ll have convention access for that day. The worst thing that could happen is missing an event that you think could be beneficial. You also should remember the reason why you are at the convention — to provide service. So remember to work first and learn later.
This being my first national NABJ convention as a volunteer, I wanted to make sure that everyone knows the importance of service and how far it can take you. If you love service and journalism, then this is the job for you. Be on the lookout for the opportunity to volunteer at #NABJ19! Hope to see you there!