Panelist & Host Info


This page breaks down the different ways you can participate in, and the responsibilities you take on when you volunteer to help make CONvergence programming great!


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Ways to Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the CONvergence Programming department!

  • You can attend the annual programming brainstorming meeting.
  • You can suggest panel ideas using the web-based form.
  • You can volunteer to be a panelist using the sign-up form when it is available.
  • You can volunteer to be a moderator using the sign-up form when it is available.
  • You can volunteer to be a Programming Sub-Host (see below).
  • You can volunteer to be a Programming General Host (see below).
  • You can volunteer to be a Programming A/V Specialist (see below).
  • You can become a year-round volunteer with the CONvergence Programming department as a departmental head or sub-head.

And if none of these sound interesting to you, there are many, many other ways to get involved at CONvergence!

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Panelist Check-In & Assistance

After you pick up your badge, stop by Programming Operations in Atrium 5, where we will have a copy of your schedule that can attach to your badge.

During the convention, there is always someone in the Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton) to answer any questions you might have, or just to talk. Please come find us!

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Panelist Responsibilities

If you can’t make it to a panel you are scheduled to be part of, please notify us as early as possible. During the convention, stop by Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton).

If you think that you’ll be too tired or out of it to represent the convention well at certain times (e.g., very early or very late), let us know when you sign up by selecting “Not Available” for those time slots so that we can take that into account when scheduling your panels.

Panelist duties:

  • Show up 5-10 minutes early so that you can meet your other panelists and get settled.
  • If you are doing readings, it is important to bring printed copies of your material for those who need them. And yes, you are reading aloud to the audience.
  • Get ready. Pour some water if you want, turn off your cell phone ringer, etc. Review the panel description (it will be on your table tent).
  • Do not invite other people to join you as a panelist. Instead, you and your fellow panelists can choose to involve them in the discussion from the audience.
  • CONvergence is an all-ages event. Be aware of children in the audience (if any) and make sure that your language is appropriate for them.
  • Stay on topic. Try not to veer off onto a tangent. If you don’t like the topic as described, don’t sign up for the panel hoping to change it at the last minute!
  • If your panel has a moderator, follow their lead.
  • Ensure that all panelists are involved and have equal chance to speak. (This is one of the reasons that we limit the number of panelists.)
  • Involve the audience. For the most part, the audience is excited to contribute, so take questions and comments. (This obviously doesn’t apply to certain panels that are presentations or readings.)
  • End on time.
  • Thank the audience and remind them to pick up their trash and generally put the room back. Also, if you move or rearrange things in the room, it’s your job to put them back. There isn’t any hidden army of people to do it for you.

You can volunteer to be a panelist during annual panel sign-ups. Time you spend as a panelist counts towards your CONvergence volunteer hours.

CONvergence Programming does not normally grant volunteer hours for preparation or rehearsal of panels or panel presentations. Special arrangements to grant volunteer hours for preparation or rehearsal can be set up in some circumstances, but must be cleared with CONvergence Programming in advance of putting in the time.

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Moderator Responsibilities

If you can’t make it to a panel you are scheduled to moderate, please notify us as early as possible. During the convention, stop by Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton).

If you think that you’ll be too tired or out of it to represent the convention well at certain times (e.g., very early or very late), let us know when you sign up by selecting “Not Available” for those time slots so that we can take that into account when scheduling your panels.

Panel Moderator duties:

  • Introduces the panelists.
  • Helps keep the discussion moving and on-topic.
  • Helps ensure that all panelists have a chance to contribute.
  • Helps keep the audience engaged.

While a moderator should be interested in the panel topic, they ideally should not be part of the actual discussion. Moderators should be the “disinterested” third parties. If you find yourself interested in a panel topic, but don’t necessarily have an opinion on it, moderating the panel is a fantastic way to contribute meaningfully to the discussion!

You can volunteer to be a panel moderator during annual panel sign-ups. Time you spend as a panel moderator counts towards your CONvergence volunteer hours.

CONvergence Programming does not normally grant volunteer hours for preparation or rehearsal of panels or panel presentations. Special arrangements to grant volunteer hours for preparation or rehearsal can be set up in some circumstances, but must be cleared with CONvergence Programming in advance of putting in the time.

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Programming Sub-Host Responsibilities

A Programming Sub-Host is in charge of running convention programming during their shift, so it’s a great way to get involved! Programming Sub-Hosts spend their shift primarily in the Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton).

Programming Sub-Host duties:

  • Check in at the Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton) to verify your shifts.
  • Handle queries as needed.
  • Handle communications with The Bridge.
  • Back up Programming General Hosts.
  • Escalate as needed to the on-duty Programming Head.

You can volunteer to be a Programming Sub-Host by contacting us in advance of the convention.

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Programming General Host Responsibilities

Programming General Hosts are at-con volunteers who help with panel staging and quality control.

Programming General Host duties:

  • Check in at the Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton) to verify your shifts.
  • Check panelist attendance.
  • Distribute and collect panel evaluation sheets.
  • Reset panel rooms between panels.

You can volunteer to be a Programming General Host by contacting us, or stopping by the Volunteers Table during the convention.

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Programming A/V Specialist Responsibilities

Programming A/V Specialists support the microphones, mixers, projectors and similar equipment in panel rooms during the convention.

Programming A/V Specialist duties:

  • Check in at the Programming Operations (located in Atrium 5 of the DoubleTree by Hilton) to verify your shifts.
  • Be available at specific times to help set up or take down equipment (for example, before and after Raptor Center). We’ll have a schedule available before con.
  • Be available “on call” to diagnose and resolve any setup problems and help presenters hook up their equipment.

You can volunteer to be a Programming A/V Specialist by contacting us, or stopping by the Volunteers Table during the convention.

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At-Con Programming Volunteer Shifts

Volunteering at-con as a Programming Sub-Host, General Host, or A/V Specialist is organized into shift slots. Each shift is three hours long and typically covers two panels.

Thursday

  • Shift 2, Noon – 3:00pm (panels begin at 12:30pm)
  • Shift 3, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Shift 4, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • Shift 5, 9:30pm – 12:30am

Friday

  • Shift 1, 9:00am – Noon
  • Shift 2, Noon – 3:00pm
  • Shift 3, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Shift 4, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • Shift 5, 9:30pm – 12:30am

Saturday

  • Shift 1, 9:00am – Noon
  • Shift 2, Noon – 3:00pm
  • Shift 3, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Shift 4, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • Shift 5, 9:30pm – 12:30am

Sunday

  • Shift 1, 9:00am – Noon
  • Shift 2, Noon – 3:00pm
  • Shift 3, 3:00pm – 6:00pm

You can volunteer with CONvergence Programming by contacting us, or stopping by the Volunteers Table during the convention.

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