Frequently Asked Questions

How do I volunteer for CIW 2018?

Visit to complete the Contact Form. You will be emailed on September 20th with training materials and instructions to schedule your own shifts online on a first come first served basis. Returning volunteers will be emailed on September 14th. If you do not hear from us on these dates, email volunteers(at)chicagoideas(dot)com letting us know.

When do I volunteer?

Volunteer shifts range from three to five hours long and take place during CIW 2018 (October 15th-21st 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. When you schedule your shifts online you will be provided with electronic training materials.

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

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