Frequently Asked Questions



How do I volunteer for CIW 2017?

Visit to complete the Contact Form. You will be emailed on September 15th with training materials and instructions to schedule your own shifts online on a first come first served basis.

When do I volunteer?

Volunteer shifts range from three to five hours long and take place during CIW 2017 (October 16th-22nd 6:00am to 11:00pm). You decide which Talk(s), Conversation(s), Lab(s), and/or Special Engagement(s) you will volunteer at.

Can I pick my volunteer role?

You will be assigned to your role upon arrival to your shift and your preferences will be taken into consideration. For Volunteer Role Descriptions click here or scroll down.

Will I be trained?

Yes. After you schedule your volunteer shifts click here to RSVP for a Volunteer Training Session.

What incentives does CIW offer to volunteers?

The probability of sitting/standing in on each program you volunteer for; snacks and water during most volunteer shifts; a CIW Volunteer T-Shirt; a discount code for 10% off tickets to all CIW 2017 public Talks, Conversations, and Labs; an invitation to the Volunteer Thank You Soiree; and the opportunity to join our amazing Community of Curiosity!

Can someone I know volunteer too?

Absolutely! Send them to

Will there be a 2017 Volunteer Thank You Soiree?

Yes! Save The Date: Thurs Nov 2, 5p-7p, Downtown. On Fri Oct 27, volunteers will be emailed a formal invitation (which will include address). You are encouraged to bring a guest!

What if I have other questions?

Email We’re happy to help!

Volunteer Role Descriptions:

Lab Ambassador

  • Vocal, charismatic, personable, calm, collected
  • There will only be one, two, or three Lab Ambassadors at each Lab, so we’re really counting on you!
  • Read/speak to a group of up to 60 attendees
  • Quickly welcome and scan guests’ tickets upon entry to the Lab
  • Assist Lab Hosts with additional tasks

Line Coordinator

  • Vocal, calm, collected, and charismatic
  • Maintain crowd control, line formation, and flow inside and/or outside the venue

Membership Ambassador

  • Personable, comfortable relaying information, and tech savvy
  • Help guests in the lobby sign up for Chicago Ideas memberships using our iPads

Menlo Lounge Usher

  • Direct, personable, alert, calm
  • Ensure that only guests with Menlo Passes are admitted into Menlo Lounge

Theater Usher

  • Direct, personable, and quickly able to calculate numbers
  • Strategically direct guests to their seats and/or distribute event programs
  • Setup reserved seating for Speakers, Press, Sponsors, Members, and YOU(th) prior to theater doors opening

Ticket Scanner

  • Alert, calm, collected, and tech savvy
  • Keep event running smoothly by quickly scanning and/or distributing all guests’ tickets upon entry to the theater


When will I have access to the Online Volunteer-Shift Scheduler?

If you haven’t already, visit to complete the Contact Form. You will be emailed on September 15th (unless otherwise noted) with instructions to access the Online Volunteer-Shift Scheduler. If you complete the Contact Form on or after September 15th, you will be emailed within three business days with instructions to access the Online Volunteer-Shift Scheduler.

How long will it take me to schedule my shifts?

As little as five minutes. But, there are lots of events to browse through…

Can I save my requests before finalizing my schedule?

Yes. Click ‘Next’ before you close your browser.

Can I add shifts to my schedule later?

Please do! Login at (after you have been granted access to

Will new events be added to

Yes! Please check later to see what has been added.

How many shifts can I schedule myself for?

14 or less. If you want more than 14, contact us or (312) 625-5467.

A shift I wanted was full, can I still add it to my schedule?

No, but please check later to see if there have been any cancellations. To see Open Shifts: on the Shift Requests Page (page 3) click the ‘Hide Full Shifts’ checkbox (below the ‘Date:’ dropdown bar).

How do I view my schedule?

Login at

Can I cancel my shift(s)?

You can’t, but we’re happy to do it for you. If you can’t attend your shift please notify us immediately so we can fill the shift. If you do not attend your scheduled shift(s) without prior cancellation, you may not be able to volunteer in the future. Email with the subject: CANCEL and include the name(s) of the shift(s) you are cancelling. If you can’t email us, call (312) 625-5467.

Contact us at or (312) 625-5467. We’re happy to help!