THIS SHOULD BE UPDATED TO REFLECT THE CURRENT YEAR, IT HAS BEEN ARCHIVED
Penguin is the name that Penguicon gives to its volunteers. Ideally, their jobs will consist of doing the various jobs that are required to make the convention happen. Conventions run on unskilled volunteers who are suddenly recruited from among the attendees who want to get reimbursed. At other conventions they are called Gofers or Gophers.
Whuffie (from Cory Doctorow's science fiction novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) is the currency of Penguicon. For each hour that a penguin volunteers they earn 1 Whuffie. These Whuffie are then used to “purchase” rewards from the convention. Each reward has a cost. Example: if you work 8 hours and purchase a t-shirt with 4 whuffie, you have 4 whuffie left- meaning you would have to work another 4 hours to reach 8 hours/whuffie to pay for your reimbursement.
If you want to get your membership reimbursed (on condition that the con makes money, which so far it always has done), sign up on the website or in the hotel lobby at the convention to be a Penguin. These do the countless little unskilled jobs that need doing while the convention is in progress. The Volunteer Wrangler, (this year Anna Held-Petrak) will take down your name and address at the convention (for mailing a check if you aren't there on Sunday). She will give you a form where the people you assist will write their department and the length of time you worked for them and their initials. Make sure you give those people this sheet and make them fill it out so you get credited!
You will get access to a Penguin Pit (there is a room for male and another for females) to sleep & store your stuff at any time of day. The Volunteer Wrangler has the keys and will let you in, until late night when the keys are held at OPS. If you sleep there Friday night the PenguinWrangler has the right to find you on Saturday and assign you to do something.
Then on Sunday at 12pm, if you have accumulated eight hours of work, and if the convention is in the black, you will be written a check for your registration fee. If you aren't there but a buddy turns in your form, you will be mailed your check.
Here is a more descriptive list or the possible jobs that penguins (volunteers) take on :
- Set Up/ Tear Down -
This takes place on Thursday Afternoon and Friday Morning before Opening Ceremonies as well as on Sunday Evening and Monday. It consists of helping organize the cons function space as well as help unloading /reloading the truck (food, Masquerade supplies, appliances, and other odds and ends). It may also include trips to the storage unit to help load or unload the truck. I would recommend people (or aliens) who enjoy or are at least willing to do some moderately heavy lifting, as well as many trips in elevators. Perks include knowing what food the con has before anyone else.
This takes place on Friday and Saturday and started Mid-Morning and stays open until around 8pm (when registration will be moved to ops). Helping out usually involves directing people on how to register (a simple: you give us your name and possibly some money and we hand you a badge). Head of Registration will be present to explain any duties they need fulfilled. Registration will require being able to laugh at the “stinkin' badges” joke more than your fair share of times- but the perks include meeting almost EVERYONE- including GoH’s.
-On Site Operations (OPS)-
This starts almost from before con starts right to the very last moments- 24 hours a day. Most of the duty of this job is in making sure that everything else in the con is running smoothly. As a volunteer you do you’re very best to answer questions (cheat sheet provided) as well as take in any complaints or problems brought to you and get them to the right concom member (if cheat sheet doesn’t help). Ops holds the lost and found- as well as keys to the penguin pit. It is your general help station. Working Ops requires helpful and calm people who are good with others and think on their feet- or simply people who are willing to stay in one place for long periods of time. Perks include being able to ask other penguins to get you food.
This job requires a penguin that can count. This volunteer is responsible for doing a head count of attendees at the panels for the time. They are also expected to help with any last minute rearrangements of rooms, fetch water refills or chairs, and be of general help to the head of Program Ops. Perks include lots of movement and seeing everything that’s going on at the con.
This is another job that is going on around the clock during con. It consists of keeping the consuite as presentable as possible, restocking food, making sure that no consuite property (or hotel property for that matter) “wonders off”, and even sometimes a bit of traffic control (i.e. “the caffeine is to the left the wanna-be pop is to the right.”). Perks include being near the food at all times- as well as there always being people around.
Most doors to Con function space require a Badge Checker, and will anytime the room is open. This job pertains to ensuring that people entering con-designated rooms have paid for the privilege, as well as makes it easier to control any potential issues (badge numbers have a purpose) with any individual (which on the whole are few and far between). A badge checker also makes sure that nothing that shouldn’t leave the room does. (I.E. Games belonging the con- stay in the Gaming Room) Note: Food is not included in the list of things not allowed to leave rooms. Perks include having a smidgen of power.
This is a round the clock job that combines the job of Badge Checker with that duty of the games room. On top of the checking of badges, the librarian will check games owned by the convention out to attendees. This person will also collect trash in the gaming room and keep the area neat. Perks include meeting gaming GoH’s and being near the games.
- Beer Troll-
A beer troll will be needed any time alcohol is being served by the con. It is an evening/ late night job. The con enjoys the privilege of being able to serve booze because of our beer trolls. Their job is to “guard the booze”. As a beer troll you card everyone- even your own kith and kin. This is the only job when a slight screening is required before you can become a beer troll. Requirements include: being of age to consume alcohol yourself -21-and be able to prove it, and looking stand-up-ish with a streak of Dudley-do-right-ness. Perks include- being next to the beer!
-Event/ Panel Set Up-
This is general help with the set up of any function space that is being repositioned (i.e. turning the masquerade into a dance) It includes moderate lifting (chairs and folding tables) and the time line for it is speratic at best. Perks usually include ribbons and first seating.
- General Help-
Anything Else that may come up- and it always does.
I request that all volunteers be at least 10 years of age, and that anyone under 16 bring their parent or guardian to the volunteer table with them to give me that speech about “I know and approve of what my child is doing”- Note: I have had several youth volunteer in the past, they are a great help!
Rivergirl Anna Penguins Wrangler