ICFP 2016: looking for student volunteers


By: Gabriel Scherer

If you are a student, you should consider applying to become an ICFP 2016 student volunteer! The deadline for application is July 31st, 2016.

ICFP 2016, the Internal Conference on Functional Programming, is happening in Nara, Japan. If you are a student, you may be interest in being a Student Volunteer: you help run the conference, and in exchange do not pay registration fees — but you still have to find funding for the travel, hosting, and dinners. Quoting the Student Volunteer webpage:

ICFP is pleased to offer a number of opportunities for student volunteers, who are vital to the efficient operation and continued success of the conference each year. The student volunteer program is a chance for students from around the world to participate in the conferences whilst assisting us in preparing and running the event.

Job assignments for student volunteers include assisting with technical sessions, workshops, tutorials and panels, helping the registration desk, operating the information desk, helping with traffic flow, and general assistance to keep the conferences running smoothly.

The Student Volunteer Program helps more students attend the ICFP conference by covering conference fees (but not travel or lodging expenses) in exchange for a fixed number of work hours (usually from 8 to 12) helping with the conference organization (registration and information desks, assistance during talk sessions, etc.).

The Student Volunteer registration covers:

  • Access to all workshops and the main conference,
  • Daily lunches and coffee breaks,
  • Access to social events, including the banquet.

To apply, please fill the following form.

The application deadline is July 31st, 2016. Applications after this date may be considered pending availability.

You can send questions about student volunteering to icfp-SV at researchr dot org.

I was “student volunteer captain” at ICFP last year in Vancouver, and I will do it again this year. My entirely personal take on the thing is that being a Student Volunteer is worth it, but that being a Captain is too much work.

The main downside of being a volunteer is some of the shifts are at the registration desk, and they may imply missing some of the talks — and also you may have to get up early for your duties. The upsides are many. You get belong to a small group of nice people. You have interactions with many people without much effort; you will enjoy the sparks of gratitude in the eyes of the “Where is Workshop Room B2?” crowd. You have a small peek into the kind of work involved in running a conference; most people actually working on the organization (we SVs are hobbyists) are pouring surprising amount of work. Also, you learn to fold tee-shirts very well, if you’re on “bag stuffing” duty.

Being a student volunteer can be combined with other forms of travel support, such as SIGPLAN PAC funding; see the travel support page for more details.

Another thing you should think about is applying to PLMW, the Programming Languages Mentoring Workshop that happens at ICFP, POPL, and PLDI. PLMW funding covers the whole conference cost (travel, housing, registration, dinners), so if you get PLMW funding you have no financial motivation to be a student volunteer. This year, PLMW focuses on early career graduate students.