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Bobcats take on SXSW

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Photo by: Ashley Galvan | Staff Photographer
SXSW volunteers can earn a badge for the entire week.

A few lucky Bobcats will indulge in the perks of Austin’s music, film and interactive festival South by Southwest.

SXSW will be taking place Mar. 11-20 in the Austin Convention Center and will include two different types of volunteer programs. All Conference Volunteers are allowed to be in two crews maximum at any time, and Music Festival Volunteers are to work in one crew during the evenings of the music festival.

Ivy Romines, English sophomore, will be returning to SXSW for her second year as a staff member.

“I work in the technical support department,” Romines said. “My job is to go around to different venues and make sure volunteers who are scanning people into events with these Android tablets are doing okay and that everything is working.”

According to the SXSW website, volunteers are rewarded with “perks” depending on the number of hours they they put in during their time at the festival.

“As a staff member, I get a platinum pass, which lets me into any of the events, and I get it for free,” Romines said. “It’s really cool.”

Taylor Briley, history junior, said this is her first time volunteering for SXSW, but has been looking to volunteer for over two years.

“I never had the opportunity,” Briley said. “I had walked around the festival before, and my friends are doing it this year, so it just worked out.”

Briley said she is excited and nervous to be taking on the volunteer experience. She will be volunteering in the film portion of the festival.

“I think I’m more excited (than nervous),” Briley said. “My shifts are the same time as my friends’, so I’m pretty excited. I’ve never been before, so I’m a little nervous. There’s some shifts that don’t end till midnight, so that’ll be quite the experience.”

All those looking to volunteer can register through the SXSW website. The age requirement is 18 years or older, except for music volunteers, who must be 21 or older.

“It was really easy,” Briley said. “I just had to apply online. And then within two or three days, I got a response saying I got accepted to volunteer. Then you go to a meeting and choose what area you want to volunteer in.”

Alexandra Richards, English junior, is returning for her second year as a volunteer and said she learned social skills through the volunteer experience.

“There’s a lot of people who are excited and you have to be nice and interested in what they’re saying, but get them through really fast,” Richards said. “It’s kind of a version of multitasking and a balance you have to figure out.”

Richards said being able to discover new music during her time at SXSW was one of the greatest experiences.

“My favorite part was just being able to listen to bands I never heard before,” Richards said. “I wouldn’t know who they were and got to discover a lot more of the Austin and Wimberley music scene. There’s a lot of people playing, but sometimes you just hear something that catches your attention.”

Romines said she would recommend anyone to take the opportunity to volunteer or become a SXSW staff member.

“I learned a lot through my training,” Romines said. “Networking a lot. I also learned the city well. I would recommend volunteering, or if you can find an opportunity in tech or staff position, I would totally do it.”