My Experience Volunteering at TEDxMCR – Emily (Lower Sixth)

By Emily, Lower Sixth

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On Sunday 3rd March, a group of CHS students volunteered at a TEDx conference at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester. I myself was one of those volunteers and the day was a great experience.

The TED foundation is a non-profit organization which strives to encourage curiosity, wonder, pursuit of knowledge, and spreading ideas that spark conversation and drive meaningful change. Set up in 1984, it began as a conference merging Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence the name TED). It is now a worldwide community that explores everything from science and business to education, the arts, and global issues. The TEDx conferences are a branch from this organisation: whereas TED Talks feature established experts, industry leaders, and influential figures, TEDx Talks offer opportunities for a broader range of speakers, including emerging experts, passionate individuals, and community members. The ‘x’ in TEDx stands for ‘independently organised events.’

Our day was an early start, having to arrive in Manchester for 7:30am, my friends and I had to leave our houses at 6:45 in the morning!! Despite our early start it was an enjoyable day, during which I met new people and it definitely grew my confidence.

The day started with a tour of Bridgewater Hall – including backstage, giving us a unique experience of Bridgewater Hall, as many of us had attended events there but never got to see behind the scenes. Beatriz, the event organiser, informed us of our duties throughout the day and the expectations upon us. Our first responsibility was to get the 2000 attendees registered We decided to have a competition of who could scan and register the most people… my friend and I won! We engaged with the attendees, conversing with them and answering any questions and providing directions around the venue, there was also a selfie station where guests could ask the volunteer on duty to take a picture of them.

It definitely made me consider my future, and perhaps doing something that allowed me to interact with others.


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Following the busy registration period some of us remained in the main foyer to register any late comers and others went to watch some of the talks. Lunchtime required another burst of activity from the volunteers as we strove to answer as many of the guest’s questions as possible and direct them to bonus talks and events, took more photos, and registered the odd guest. I was really encouraged to think on my feet, but it was a calm, sheltered experience of what event organising looks like.

Overall, it was a great day, and I would totally recommend it. However, a small piece of advice… make sure you get involved, do as much as you can to help. Introduce yourself to other volunteers and talk to them, talk to guests. If you are going to do something like this, reap every second of the day and take advantage of the many opportunities. It will certainly give you a new level of appreciation for the amount of organising and behind the scenes work which goes into events like this.