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Involvement and Volunteering

SIGCHI, is the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction and is a volunteer led organisation. A range of exciting opportunities are open to people interested in volunteering some time to SIGCHI, its conferences or publications.

This page is designed for people who are interested in the history of ACM SIGCHI volunteers, volunteerism, and how to get involved yourself. The activities of ACM SIGCHI run on volunteer energy and is sometimes called "community service" by practitioners and those in industrially research and development or "academic service" in academia.

SIGCHI is a worldwide organization that provides a forum for the exchange of ideas among all people interested in the roles computing technology plays in human activity. SIGCHI aims to serve its members, ACM, organizations concerned with the manufacture, distribution, and use of interactive systems, and the public at large as a clearinghouse of information for the field of human-computer interaction and as a voice supporting the design and deployment of systems mindful of human-computer interaction concerns.

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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to volunteer?
A SIGCHI volunteer is a person who freely offers to take part in work associated with one of our conferences or publications or to undertake a specific task. Within SIGCHI volunteers take on many unpaid roles to make our conferences and publications happen. Roles can range from being the general chair of a conference, to being a student volunteer, or from being a paper reviewer to being a session chair at a conference. 
I would like to volunteer but who do I ask?

You can always directly contact the steering committee or general chairs of the conference you are interested in volunteering at. Realise, of course, that by the time the general chairs for a conference have a website online, many of the roles will already be filled. As such, it's important to approach people during prior conferences, town hall meetings, volunteering to act as a reviewer with PCS etc.

If you like SIGCHI to know you are broadly interested in volunteer opportunities and you would like SIGCHI to add you to our volunteer email list then please provide the following preliminary information:

  1. Name
  2. Contact information (email, phone, fax)
  3. Current affiliation or job
  4. Professional societies (especially ACM)
  5. Description (brief) of relevant interests and experiences

Please email these details to Sue Fussell, the SIGCHI Adjunct Chair for Career Development Adjunct Chair for Career Development.

How do I review for the CHI Conference

The CHI Conference invites members of the HCI community to volunteer as reviewers for various CHI submission categories.

The CHI Reviewer Volunteer Center is where members of the HCI community can volunteer to be reviewers for the next CHI Conference. Various technical program chairs will review the set of volunteers and contact those who are needed.

Go to the CHI Reviewer Volunteer Center to volunteer as a reviewer for the next CHI.

How do I get involved in my local HCI community?
SIGCHI has a growing population of local chapters world-wide, many of which seek volunteers to assist with chapter operations, special services, speaking at technical meetings, etc. Some locations seek volunteers to start a local SIG. Check out the Local SIGCHI Chapters Index for more information.
Are you interested in being a mentor at CHI?
Have you been a SIGCHI member for a number of years? Can you remember what it was like when you first joined SIGCHI? Are you interested in helping new members feel more comfortable during their first year as a member? Become a mentor by agreeing to 4 emails and a meeting at the CHI Conference (if you are both attending). Contact: John C. Thomas truthtable@AOL.COM
How do I organise an event about becoming a Volunteer at ACM SIGCHI?
In June 2016, the ACM SIGCHI Adjunct Chair for Specialised Conferences advised all the steering committee chairs for the sponsored or co-sponsored ACM SIGCHI specialised conferences, that SIGCHI will provide modest financial support for running a meeting on "Becoming a Volunteer at ACM SIGCHI", during each conference.
The idea is that such a meeting could be held during a lunch break, as a workshop or as a special interest group event. However, it is upto each conference series or individual conference to decide if they wish to organise and host an event on "Becoming a Volunteer at ACM SIGCHI”. If you are involved in organizing a conference and you want to host or attend such an event, talk to your steering committee chair.
However, if you are someone interested in being a volunteer and you are planning to attend a conference then check the conference website to see if they are organising a volunteer event. If they aren't, please contact the general chair and suggest they do.
What is a SIG and SIGCHI vs the CHI conference vs UIST vs MobileHCI vs ....
ACM’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) represent the major areas of the dynamic computing field. A primary source of original research and personal perspectives from the world's leading thinkers in computing and information technology, SIGs foster technical communities within their respective specialties across countries and continents.

The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) currently has 37 Special Interest Groups (SIGs). ACM SIGCHI is one of these "SIGs" with thousands of members. The ACM maintains a page on ACM Special Interest Groups (SIGS) Volunteer Resources. The ACM SIGCHI itself is run by an Executive Committee (EC), which includes elected officers, the immediate past president, editors of membership publications, and appointed office-holders. This committee organises the activities of SIGCHI on behalf of its members and is guided by the ACM Structure and Function of a Typical SIG.

What opportunities are there to volunteer?
At the moment there are 23 sponsored and co-sponsored SIGCHI conferences each year. There are thousands of volunteers working on these conferences annually. A volunteer could be someone who reviews a single paper or someone who manages the track of a specific conference. There are many different opportunities, at different timescales which requires different levels of experience to be able to succeed at.
A volunteer wouldn't expect to be a reviewer of a research paper, without having authored one themselves. Likewise, taking on a role as the chair of a large track within a conference requires extensive experience, in many different aspects of a conference.
Every role is important and we would encourage anyone who is interested in being a volunteer to take on whatever task or work others ask of them to develop their skills and experience and to develop a track record of volunteerism (which are further outlined in "typical pathways for volunteers" below.
What are typical pathways for volunteers?
Why would I do this?
Being a volunteer gives you the opportunity to give something back to the HCI community or to the worldwide organization of SIGCHI in terms of publications or conferences.
In practice being a volunteer is a great opportunity to network, to develop new skills and to enhance your knowledge of HCI and the field.
Of course, the best way to answer this question is to talk to others about what they get out of being a volunteer. There are some nice pieces online which people have written up on "academic service". For example, in 2016 the ACM SIGCHI VP for Publications wrote an article entitled "Why I love academic service" in which he further cited an article by Heather L. Pfeifer on "How to be a Good Academic Citizen: The Role and Importance of Service in Academia". Each of these are worth reading if you would like to get a sense of why existing volunteers see service as importance.

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