Today two of my fraternity brothers came to attend the Opportunity Green conference today and they asked me why I came back to volunteer. I hadn’t actually thought about it – I just found out they did need extra support and asked for days off from work so I could help. In fact, a lot of people had done the same, even flying in from NorCal and the East Coast just to help out for these two or three days. It’s astonishing the level of dedication we get from our core team of staff (mostly interns). We’ve got people going on two or three hours of sleep at night for days on end just to get everything in order. Both Tuesday and Wednesday night I was at the venue until about 1 AM along with a small group of other volunteers, working on a variety of logistical tasks. We got to bed around 2 only to get up at 5 or so to get back and crackin’ again.
When I did think about it some, I think it’s the strong bonds that we’ve developed through pulling crazy all-nighters together and spending so much time and effort laboring towards these two and a half days that actually comprise the conference. Everyone who pulled their weight continues to do so above and beyond most people’s capacity, which then motivates the rest of us to continue to toil away as well. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle where dedicated people continuously drive each other on by example. We also have a sense of teamwork that allows for us to stay long past our expected departure time to support other teammates. And we’re led by two fearless leaders who sacrifice even more of their sleep to insure this conference is a smashing success time after time.
These tight connections made it really exciting for me today when a bunch of old interns from last year (like me) returned to volunteer. It was thoroughly uplifting to see them again and remember the times last year when we worked so hard as a team to pull of a conference of such a scale. Out of about fifteen or so core volunteers from last year, something like twelve or thirteen returned! That is a pretty awesome retention rate. I’m proud of us for being so supportive even after our lives have moved on. We made time for the conference and most of us took days off work to be here. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something that means that much to that many people.