Volunteers help make Education Week work

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    By Shana Helps

    Volunteers are overflowing at Education Week this year.

    More than 630 people are serving as hosts, with about 50 more on call, said Bruce Payne, Education Week program administrator. Potential volunteers were turned away because of the overwhelming response, he said.

    “It”s been a great blessing to have this response,” Payne said. “We rely on them so much to make things run smoothly.”

    There were more people who signed up to be volunteers this year than ever before, he said.

    Volunteers are a vital part of Education Week, as they maintain order and make the students feel welcome, Payne said.

    “We couldn”t do this program without them,” he said.

    Generally, there needs to be at least 450 people on the hosting staff in order to get by, Payne said. When there are more, the lecture rooms can be staffed more fully so volunteers can have a specific duty, instead of numerous ones.

    Volunteers check name badges, take attendance counts, make announcements and assist Education Week faculty, Payne said.

    “The big thing is probably the crowd control- forming lines, making sure everything is organized,” he said.

    The Education Week Web page advertises the need for volunteers, so people come from all over the United States. However, the majority is from the Wasatch Front, Payne said.

    “We do have quite a few come from other states,” Payne said.

    In return for their services, volunteers are given a complimentary ticket to attend lectures. They work for about 4 hours per day, or three lectures. Then they have the opportunity to attend seven of the other lectures, Payne said.

    Christina King, from Tucson, Ariz., came as a volunteer because she wanted to help out. This is her first year as a volunteer.

    “I thought it would be a great opportunity to serve, and I wanted to go to some of the classes,” she said.

    There are many people who have been volunteers before. At the training meeting, there were between 100 and 200 people who had come in the past, Payne said.

    “They”re veterans, and we really rely on those people who have come in the past,” Payne said. “A lot of good people have volunteered.”

    Karen Fletcher from Orem is volunteering for the second year. She comes because she loves to learn and gain knowledge, she said.

    “I love to learn gospel principles,” Fletcher said. “I love to hear great speakers. I love to be around education.”

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