5 . 5 Volunteers Volunteers are at the core of the IBO, maybe even more so in Switzerland. The National Biology Olympiad is based exclusively on voluntary work; volunteers initiated the IBO 2013 and invested time and knowledge in order to organize the IBO. Their huge dedication had a deep impact on the IBO 2013, not only on the organization but also on the atmosphere that reigned during this intensive week. As volunteers, we call persons who worked for the IBO without salary, in their free time, i.e. besides their regular job or studies, taking time off during the IBO or even giving up their vacation to help out at the IBO. The usual area of work of volunteers at the IBO is to look after students and jury members. However, at the IBO 2013, they were also deeply involved in many aspects of the preparation, mainly on the scientific part of the organization. Volunteers were at work as ▪▪ team guides (37) ▪▪ jury guides (8) ▪▪ scientific assistants (14) ▪▪ all-rounders (7) ▪▪ journalists and photographers (4) IBO 2013 worked with a comparatively small number of volunteers for two reasons: First, we had a very precise profile of persons in mind, putting the priority on individuals having affinities with the IBO and who would therefore be very dedicated and able to take over more responsibilities. Second, we did not wish to have too many volunteers who would in the end just “hang around” and which would be more difficult to coordinate. Underemployed volunteers would be frustrated, hinder a smooth running of the IBO and burden the organization. Also, it is not very easy to recruit “good” volunteers, so we decided on a limited number of persons.
5. 5. 1 Recruitment As the organizing team was very small, it was of the utmost importance that it could rely on trustworthy, proactive and autonomous guides during the IBO. Therefore, special attention was given to the recruitment of the volunteers. High priority was set on the volunteers of the Swiss Biology Olympiad and former participants of national or international Olympiads, who themselves recruited persons of their entourage. We also asked members of other Scientific Olympiads (Informatics, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics) to help out. All interested persons had to fill out the application form on the website where they found more information about the IBO and also the qualification requirements. All volunteers had to be Swiss citizens or residents for legal reasons. Furthermore, they had to master at least one of the national languages besides English and be familiar with the Swiss culture and way of life. They also had the possibility to inform us about preferences concerning their assign ment (foreign language, teams they’d like to be in charge of etc.) which we tried to take into account whenever possible. Our scientific assistants were all scientists and/or experienced IBO people, so that they worked purposefully for the scientific project management.
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Published on Mar 6, 2014