“Can you help?” Volunteer opportunities aplenty at SAS Global Forum 2016


SmallGraphicDid you know that SAS Global Forum, like other SAS User events, is run almost exclusively by volunteers? With hundreds of workshops, presentations, demos and networking opportunities, the event gives SAS users the invaluable opportunity to develop their SAS skills, exchange ideas with experts and peers, and explore new ways of using SAS. But none of it would be possible without the army of volunteer SAS users that contribute each and every year. For an event the size of SAS Global Forum, that means literally dozens of volunteer opportunities at SAS Global Forum, a great way to give back to the user community. It’s no small task, and I’m always amazed at how a group of volunteers can pull off an event of this quality and magnitude.

But volunteering doesn’t just help the SAS community, it helps develop you as a SAS professional, expands your network, and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Then there’s the personal satisfaction you get, knowing you were part of something really awesome.

For me, volunteering has always been a part of my life. When I was in elementary school, I remember my parents helping out with our church youth group, even though they didn’t have a “youth” aged child in their household just yet. They volunteered because it was fun and because they wanted to make a difference in some teenager’s life. It certainly made an impression on me.

Volunteering in my professional career started back in 1999 when Maribeth Johnson, a co-worker, introduced me to the SouthEast SAS Users Group (SESUG). She was one of the conference co-chairs for SESUG 2000 and asked if I could help. Working side-by-side with Maribeth, I stuffed conference bags, labeled envelopes, and helped staff the registration desk. The conference was an incredible educational experience for me, but the fun and connections I made through volunteering is what really stuck with me. Fifteen years later, with volunteer opportunities too numerous to count, I now find myself in the pinnacle of volunteering for SAS users groups: as the chair of SAS Global Forum 2016.

Today, I find myself in the same position Maribeth was so long ago, asking the question: “Can you help?” Volunteering can help you earn something new and expand your professional network. But best of all, I know you’ll have a blast doing it. You never know where volunteering will take you, who you will meet, or how it will enrich your life unless you do it!

How you can get involved in SAS Global Forum?

Volunteering opportunities abound. You can volunteer your time to be a room coordinator, facilitator or presenter coordinator. These are all great ways to meet new people, expand your network, and make the most of your experience at SAS Global Forum.

Start thinking about how you can be an integral part of SAS Global Forum by volunteering. The volunteer system will open in late January or early February. Learn more now. Contact sasgfvolunteer@gmail.com if you have questions or other suggestions on how you can volunteer.

Thank you ahead of time!



About Author

Jennifer Waller

2016 SAS Global Forum Conference Chair

Jennifer Waller obtained a PhD in Biostatistics from the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 1994. She is a Professor and Director of the Research Support Center in the Division of Biostatistics & Data Science, Department of Population Health Sciences at Augusta University where she has worked since 1997 teaching, consulting and doing collaborative research. Jennifer has presented at SESUG and SAS Global Forum for a number of years and served on the Executive Council for SESUG from 2007-2013 and the Executive Board for SAS Global Users Group since 2013. She was the Conference Co-Chair for SESUG in 2008 and the Conference Chair for SAS Global Forum 2016. She has used SAS since 1989.


  1. I certainly recommend that all attendees consider volunteering. It provides for a richer conference experience, allows you to see remarkable presentations you might otherwise have missed (that has happened to me every time I have volunteered), encourages networking, and - really - it is fun. You are not simply attending the conference, you are part of the conference.

    And, heck, you might chair the Conference one day yourself.

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