Conferences are almost always made up of a series of "sessions." Sessions are either "plenary" (everyone meets together) or "breakout" (small groups meet to focus on topics).
The "Typical Conference Schedule" below shows a typical day:
What to Do
How to Do It Well
Volunteers: Two of our conferences -- the IVC/SC Student Research Symposium and the HTCC Building Bridges Conference -- accept student volunteers. Most volunteers are involved in what is the best experience-building job: "moderating" a breakout session.
"Moderating" doesn't mean you have to keep the peace between competing researchers. It means, at bottom, that you have to "herd the cats": Introduce the presenters, watch the time for them, call on people at Q&A time, and signal other volunteers for help if needed (non-working computer, locked room, etc.) and -- probably most important -- smile reassuringly at nervous presenters.
The brief video below (1:45) shows you the process. The last slide shows you where you can find hardcopy directions. The Saddleback URL provides signup directions to November's IVC-SC Student Research Symposium; the HTCCA URL, is for the Building Bridges conference in March. The duties are almost the same, but the conferences do start and end at different times!
Audience: You get the easiest job, and it's a very enjoyable one. You'll also find it rewarding, although in different ways than volunteering and presenting are.
You get to find out what people at other schools and in other classrooms are doing in subjects you find interesting. You get to learn what to do in your own future presentations. (Sometimes you get to learn what to avoid doing in a presentation.) You get to let the presenters know that what they did was worth doing and worth sharing.
How do you do this job well? Be on time. Don't leave between presentations once a breakout has started. Smile. Ask questions. Applaud. Be the person you would want to see in your audience . . . maybe next year.