FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

SIGCHI is a volunteer led organization. A range of exciting opportunities are open to people interested in volunteering some time to SIGCHI, its conferences, or publications.

What does it mean to volunteer?

A SIGCHI volunteer freely offers to take on an unpaid role in work associated with one of our conferences or publications or to undertake a specific task. Roles can range from being the general chair of a conference, to being a student volunteer, or from reviewing papers to being a session chair at a conference.

I would like to volunteer but who do I ask?

You can always directly contact the steering committee or general chairs of the conference you are interested in volunteering at. However, by the time a conference website is online, many of the roles will already be filled, so it’s important to approach people during prior conferences, town hall meetings, volunteer to review with PCS, etc.

If you would like SIGCHI to know you are broadly interested in volunteer opportunities and to add you to our volunteer email list then please provide the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Contact information (email, phone, fax)
  3. Current affiliation or job
  4. Professional societies (especially ACM)
  5. Description (brief) of relevant interests and experiences

Please email these details to Sue Fussell, the SIGCHI Adjunct Chair for Career Development Adjunct Chair for Career Development.

The CHI Conference invites members of the HCI community to volunteer as reviewers for various CHI submission categories.

The CHI Reviewer Volunteer Center is where HCI community members can volunteer to review for the next CHI Conference. Technical program chairs will review the set of volunteers and contact those who are needed.

Go to the CHI Reviewer Volunteer Center to volunteer as a reviewer for the next CHI.

How do I get involved in my local HCI community?

SIGCHI has a growing population of local chapters worldwide, and many seek volunteers to assist with chapter operations, special services, speaking at technical meetings, etc. Some locations seek volunteers to start a local SIG. Check out the Local SIGCHI Chapters Index for more information.

Are you interested in being a mentor at CHI?

Have you been a SIGCHI member for a number of years? Do you want to help new members feel more comfortable during their first year as a member? Become a mentor by agreeing to 4 emails and a meeting at CHI (if you are both attending.) Contact: John C. Thomas truthtable@AOL.COM

How do I organize an event about becoming a Volunteer at ACM SIGCHI?

SIGCHI will provide modest financial support for sponsored or co-sponsored ACM SIGCHI specialized conferences running a meeting on “Becoming a Volunteer at ACM SIGCHI” during each conference.

This meeting could be held during a lunch break, as a workshop, or as a special interest group event, and it is up to each conference series or individual conference to decide if they wish to organize and host an event. If you are organizing a conference and you want to host or attend an event, talk to your steering committee chair.
If you are interested in being a volunteer and planning to attend a conference then check the conference website to see if they are organizing a volunteer event. If they aren’t, please contact the general chair and suggest they do.

What is a SIG and SIGCHI vs the CHI conference vs UIST vs MobileHCI vs ….

ACM’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs) represent the major areas of the dynamic computing field. A primary source of original research and personal perspectives from the world’s leading thinkers in computing and information technology, SIGs foster technical communities within their respective specialties across countries and continents.

The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) currently has 37 Special Interest Groups (SIGs). ACM SIGCHI is one of these “SIGs” with thousands of members. The ACM maintains a page on ACM Special Interest Groups (SIGS) Volunteer Resources. The ACM SIGCHI itself is run by an Executive Committee (EC), which includes elected officers, the immediate past president, editors of membership publications, and appointed office-holders. This committee organizes the activities of SIGCHI on behalf of its members and is guided by the ACM Structure and Function of a Typical SIG.

What opportunities are there to volunteer?

Presently, there are 23 sponsored and co-sponsored SIGCHI conferences each year. There are thousands of volunteers working on these conferences annually. There are many different opportunities at different timescales that requires different levels of experience to be able to succeed at.

A volunteer wouldn’t expect to be a reviewer of a research paper without having authored one themselves. Likewise, taking on a role as the chair of a large track within a conference requires extensive experience in many different aspects of a conference.

What are typical pathways for volunteers?

For students, one typical pathway to volunteering is through student volunteering at one of the SIGCHI conferences. This is a fantastic way for students to learn about the logistics involved in running a conference.

Another entry point for student or early career volunteers is as reviewers for conference submissions. Every year, SIGCHI conferences receive thousands of submissions (papers, posters, etc.) and reviewing support is essential for preserving high-quality content at these conferences.

Successful volunteering experiences in either of these pathways is a starting point for additional volunteer opportunities, such as participating on a conference’s program committee.

Why would I do this?

Being a volunteer gives you the opportunity to give back to the HCI community or SIGCHI in terms of publications or conferences.
In practice, being a volunteer is a great opportunity to network, to develop new skills and to enhance your knowledge of HCI.

Of course, the best way to answer this question is to talk to others about what they get out of being a volunteer. There are some nice pieces online which people have written up on “academic service”. For example, in 2016 the ACM SIGCHI VP for Publications wrote an article entitled “ “Why I love academic service” in which he further cited an article by Heather L. Pfeifer on “How to be a Good Academic Citizen: The Role and Importance of Service in Academia“. Each of these are worth reading if you would like to get a sense of why existing volunteers see service as importance.