Green Festival 2011

Yesterday afternoon I went down to McCormick Place to volunteer for this year’s Green Festival. We had to sign up before the event and as the spot of my choice, the beer garden, was full I decided to help with the box office, but not as a cashier.

The Green Festival relies on hundreds of volunteers to help them with nearly every aspect of operations from set up before the convention to break down afterward. They utilize a web based reservation system to coordinate volunteer staffing placement and scheduling. As volunteers we received free admission for the entire weekend, one year membership in the two founding organizations Green America and Global Exchange, weekend access to the volunteer lounge, and a free T-Shirt for volunteers.

I was in a team of four volunteers who greeted entrants who did not have an entry wrist band visible and directed them to the appropriate check in, will call or registration line depending on how they were getting admission to the convention. Our shift was from 3:30 to 7:30, but things really died down after six and the box office manager let us take turns in the fest and then cut us loose shortly before 7, the posted end time.

We had a fun time interacting and cajoling with people who were coming and going through the entrance. One women who seemed to be harried from the constant querying of “did you buy your tickets online” declared that if she heard that “one more time she would scream” to which I replied, “go ahead no one is going to hear you” referring to the loud clamor from within. She retorted, “you’re not right!”. Later, I used the phrase, “Green be with you” on people as they were leaving to which many smiled back.

Except for standing up four hours straight it was very easy and lots of fun. I’m going back today to tour the convention at a more leisurely pace and attend some of the seminars. There is still time to volunteer so I hope you can make it down before it ends at 6 PM. Otherwise, see you there next year!!

Sixteen done and only 34 left!