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Student Volunteering

Who are Student Volunteers (SVs)?

Student volunteers have become an essential part of the organization of CHI. They play a major role in executing structural tasks – especially during the conference. Among other things, we hand out and check badges, monitor online sessions, show you where to find a paper session, restaurant, bathroom, or your lost water bottle, and help set up exciting demos, for example, by setting up nets for drones or build sculptures out of coke bottles, we also help figure out where the missing paper presenter is and why, oh why, the microphone isn’t working anymore. Along with many others, the student volunteers put A LOT of effort into helping CHI run smoothly.

SVs are also HCI researchers. Quite a few SVs have already published their research at CHI and have been attending conferences for a while. For others, CHI is a whole new experience, allowing them to see how research results are distributed and how the community interacts. In both cases, being an SV is an incredible opportunity to network with possible mentors, collaborators, and peers.

And here is the tricky bit: SVs are students! We are not trained event managers or AV technicians. We are volunteers and conference attendees. All SVs agree to an informal contract: in exchange for about 20 hours of their time (many put in much more), the conference waives their registration fees and provides daily lunch and breakfast (a lot of tasks start as early as 6:30 a.m., some go well through lunch, and others end as late as 8 pm). SVs still have to pay for their own housing and transportation. Workshops and courses are not covered either.

In the scope of their agreed hours, SVs engage in plenty of tasks, some of which are simple, while others require certain expertise or training. For this reason, we need some people who have done the job before and can teach the job to the next generation of SVs. This is the basic concept: returning SVs show incoming SVs how tasks work, and new students come up with new ideas on how to improve them.

How do I become an SV?

You must have had student status for at least one semester during the academic year before CHI to qualify for the program. We are more than happy to accept undergrad, graduate, and Ph.D. students. We need friendly, enthusiastic volunteers to help us out.

The SV lottery is open as of November 10, 2024, at new.chisv.org. The SV lottery registration will close on January 22, 2024. We expect to have about 180 spots in total. All other students who registered will be assigned a position on the waiting list. To sign up for your interest in being an SV, please visit new.chisv.org, select the appropriate conference, and follow the steps to enroll.

There are four different pathways for you to become an SV, however, no matter what, you must enroll in the general selection process, where you may be selected by lottery: (1) you can simply apply for a SV position via new.chisv.org; (2) you can also be nominated by members of the Program or Organizing Committees (note that this does not guarantee your position but increases the chance); (3) you can be selected as an institutional knowledge SV; or (4) you can win a slot through the T-shirt design competition.

To reiterate, in all cases (including nominated SVs), the student must be enrolled with CHI2024 in new.chisv.org to be considered for a spot.

Important Dates

All times are in the Anywhere on Earth (AoE) time zone. When the deadline is day D, the last time to submit is when D ends AoE. Check your local time in AoE.

  • SV lottery registration open: Friday, Nov 10th, 2024
  • Close lottery: Monday, January 22nd, 2024
  • Announce results: Friday, January 26th, 2024

What Will I Do When I Volunteer?

For CHI2024 SVs, you will agree to a volunteer contract, in which you agree to:

  • In-person SVs: Work at least 20 hours
  • Show up on time to tasks
  • Attend an orientation session
  • Arrive at the conference by Saturday morning at the latest

In return, we commit to:

  • Waive your registration fee
  • Provide 2 meals a day on-site (breakfast and lunch)
  • Free SV t-shirt to be collected on site
  • Our fabulous SV thank-you party. There is always food, drinks, dancing, and fun!
  • More SV benefits TBA…

If you need to reach us, please always use the svchair@chi2024.acm.org address so that the three of us receive it. Reply-to-all on our correspondence so we all stay in the loop and can better help you.

Nominated SVs

Each member of the program committee (e.g., SCs or ACs) and members of the organizing committee get to nominate one student. This pool of SVs accounts for 20% of the total slots for SVs. Nominations are collected until two days before the first day of the PC meeting (16th of January) via a form we will send to all ACs/OCs to place their recommendation.

From this selection pool, we pick about 30 to 40% based on the information provided by nominators. We look for strong recommendations on the person’s ability to perform SV-related tasks, we look for opportunities to increase the diversity of the SV group, and we look for people who would benefit the most from being an SV for the current year. The rest of the slots are assigned through a random lottery within the nominated pool. Students not selected at this stage will be added to the general lottery pool later.

Institutional Knowledge SVs

Institutional knowledge SVs are students who have been SVs at CHI before, are experienced with a variety of tasks, and can help train the incoming class of SVs. These SVs account for 20% of the total SV slots. All of these students were exceptional SVs in previous years (e.g., always on time AND very proactive AND helpful to others on/off duty, AND went above the requirements for their current task). Many of them are trained in specialized tasks. Unfortunately, due to the high competition for an SV slot, we can’t always accept all students who fit this description. We prioritize selecting a few exceptional SVs in specialized roles, the other slots are selected through a random lottery.

General SVs

The remaining 60% of the slots go through the current lottery system built into new.chisv.org: please check the “Become a Student Volunteer” blog post (coming soon) for details on how to apply. The system uses a random lottery to generate a waitlist. We reserve a few spots (up to 15%, about 16) for individuals on top of the waitlist who fulfill strategic criteria. Factors we considered in the past include whether individuals are local to the conference location, whether they have specialized knowledge (e.g., accessibility, photography, video editing), and whether they fulfill specific diversity criteria. These criteria are largely dependent on conference needs and are not limited to these examples. SVs are therefore encouraged to detail in their application how they may uniquely contribute to the conference to their best capacity. The remainder of the spots are fulfilled by waitlist order.

T-shirt Design Competition SV

The last way you could get an SV slot is by winning the t-shirt design competition.

For more details on design specifications, please check this blog post (coming soon) about the SV T-shirt Design Competition. This competition happens in TBD, where we accept t-shirt designs for the SV t-shirt. After an initial selection made by the SV chairs, a subset of the Organizing Committee and previous SV Chairs vote on which design is their favorite.The winner gets an SV spot.

And who are the SV chairs?

SV chairs are three senior SVs who have seen the process through multiple years of serving as SVs. The SV chair position is a two-year commitment This is because the CHI SV program is a beast. With 180 SVs each year, coordination with many conference chairs multiple stakeholders with different needs, and serving as an SV chair for CHI requires SV experience and training in the role. In the first year, the junior SV chair observes, learns, and helps with organizational tasks. They learn how to operate new.chisv.org, how to address different types of requests, and how to manage an operation the size of a small startup.

Future SV chairs are selected based on their experience as SVs, their graduation timeline, and the specific needs of the conference that year.  The current SV chairs consider several candidates and make a recommendation to the General Chairs of someone they are confident will do a good job in organizing the SV program for the coming years. Sometimes, when there are special needs, the General Chairs of future CHIs are brought in earlier in this decision process to ensure that the “rollover” SV Chair will be able to attend to those needs (e.g., in locations where English is not as widely spoken or where cultural norms are significantly different).

As SV chairs, we invest more than 100 pre-conference hours planning SV tasks and ensuring the conference is adequately supported by the SV program. During the conference, we spend the majority of our time at the conference managing and addressing incoming requests. If you would like to be a future SV chair, make sure you are an SV at CHI (and other conferences as well), have higher responsibilities and tasks (volunteer for them!), and let us know that you are interested. Every year, we go through the process of picking a new junior chair, and that person can be you!

If you need to communicate with us, please always use the svchair@chi2024.acm.org  address so that all of us receive it. Reply to all of our correspondence so all of us stay in the loop and we can help you better.

Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of emails with the same kinds of questions; this is not a made-up FAQ.

Q: I know the deadline for the lottery has passed, but I really, really want to be a student volunteer. Can you get me in?
A: You may go to new.chisv.org at any time after the lottery is opened or even after it is run to put your name in the running. If the lottery has already been run, your name will simply be added to the end of the waiting list. If you will be attending CHI anyway, there is always a chance you may be able to be added at the last minute; you never know.

Q: I want to skip orientation, work way less than 20 hours, or arrive late. Can I still be an SV?
A: No, sorry, these are the minimum expectations we expect from everyone.
If, after you commit, extenuating circumstances appear (like volcanos erupting and other strange things), please communicate with us (to svchair@chi2024.acm.org). All we ask is for you to communicate your circumstances as soon as you realize a situation has come up.

Q: I didn’t get your emails and/or forgot to register by the deadlines you guys sent us, and I lost my spot as an SV. Can I get it back?
A: If this is due to you just not reading your emails, not taking care of your responsibilities, not keeping your email up to date in our system, forgetting, or similar things, then the answer is NO, no, you may not. If there are extenuating circumstances, please communicate with us (to svchair@chi2024.acm.org). All we ask is for you to communicate your circumstances as soon as you realize a situation has come up. (Yes, we’ll repeat this often).

Q: I was nominated for an SV spot by someone and got in. Will I have to do the same kind of work as other SVs?
A: Yes, the obligations are the same.


We are looking forward to meeting all of you!

Maximiliane Windl, LMU Munich, Munich, Germany

Mikołaj P. Woźniak, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany

Yudai Tanaka, University of Chicago, USA


Email: svchair@chi2024.acm.org