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General Volunteer Form will open after May 1st.

Reasons To Volunteer

(As if you need them)

A Volunteer Badge

A volunteer badge that gives you access to all places like a regular attendee.

Snacks & Drinks

Access to our convention suite for snacks and drinks (no longer prepping/serving hot meals due to health code concerns).

Crash Space

Crash space allocated for non-local volunteers. Requires a mininum of 24 hour of volunteering to qualify to stay in crash space.

Volunteer 2016

How do I volunteer?

Volunteer and staffing opportunities will be limited during the 2022 convention. Current volunteers and staff are encouraged to reach out to their department heads for more information. We will be accepting General Volunteers.

Available Positions:

  • Artist Alley Helper
  • Convention Suite (Catering/Snack Suite) Helper
  • Craft Room Helper
  • Asset Control Helper (ConOps)
  • Human Relations Helper (HR)
  • Dealer Room Helper
  • Programming Helper
  • Info Desk / Merchandise Helper
  • Lines & Signs Helper
  • Load-In/Load-Out Helper
  • Main Stage Helper
  • Merch Helper
  • Registration Helper (NON-Cash Handling Position)
  • Event Safety Volunteer
  • TechOp Volunteer / Setup
  • Video Gaming Departments

 

Maid Cafe and Guest Relation positions are personally recruited by the department head. They do not accept outside general volunteer applications. Details about each position are listed in the volunteer application.

General Rules:

  • People come to a convention to have fun, so we expect everyone to be on their best behaviors and treat attending members with the same courtesy the volunteer would expect for themselves. Kindness begets kindness and rudeness begets rudeness.
  • Please take the time to research the convention and learn the general information of the convention layout, convention times & posted schedule. Expect to be asked a lot of questions by attendees no matter where you’re assigned. Be sure to download Guidebook as it will have the most updated information for San Japan.
  • When you are scheduled for a shift, San Japan expects you to be there and sign in.
  • If you cannot make your shift, or cannot avoid being late, e-mail, call or send a text message to let the department manager know so that we can work around the problem so that everyone is treated fairly.
  • If you are working a shift and the next person does not show up, please let the department manager know while we find a replacement.
  • All volunteer staff must abide by the Convention rules. You are not above the law nor will we allow ‘ego-tripping’. We will take complaints by attendees very seriously if they report on being mistreated. If we are told by attendees that you were ‘rude’ or ‘lazy’, we reserve the right to take pro-active steps to ensure people are treated fairly at the convention. If we receive complaints then you will not be accepted for future conventions.
  • San Japan and its staff are not responsible for misplaced, lost or stolen personal items.

Volunteer FAQ

Question Answer
What are the benefits of being a General Volunteer?You receive the following benefits as a general volunteer: A volunteer badge that gives you access to all places like a regular attendee. Access to our convention suite for snacks and drinks (no longer prepping/serving hot meals due to health code concerns). Crash space allocated for non-local volunteers. We will no longer force general volunteers to pay an application fee we are removing the some prior benefits that they had up to 2017.
How many hours am I required to work for San Japan?
  1. For General Volunteers who are not receiving access to Crash Space - you are required to work for a total of 12 hours during the period of the Convention. Even if you do not appear for a day during the Convention, this 12-hour minimum is still required.

  2. For General Volunteers who are receiving access to Crash Space - you are required to work for a total of 24 hours during the period of the Convention, including Thursday. Even if you do not appear for a day during the Convention, this 24-hour minimum is still required.

Note: While Staffing and Department Heads may work with you to accommodate the above, the practice of allowing a 12-hour shift or more to do so is specifically prohibited.

I was recruited to be a Ranger. Is the form linked on the San Japan Website where I sign up?No. If already recruited for Ranger by a Department Head, then that Department Head should provide a link to the staff volunteer page, unless that Department Head has requested that Staffing provide that service.
How do I volunteer?
  1. Online volunteer form, which will be available by a link at the top of this page when the volunteer period opens. 
    1. This period closes by July 20th before that year’s convention.
    2. No late entries will be accepted, nor exceptions will be made.

  2. Walk-up, which may occur during any day of the Convention proper.
    1. The volunteer would walk up and sign in with Staffing, at their Staff Room (to be determined).
    2. This volunteer is working for each day that he/she/they appear, and must work these hours prior to being given a day pass to the Convention.
    3. This volunteer is not entitled to any of the specific amenities offered to volunteers generally.
Where do I go to check-in as a volunteer? Who do I speak with?Upon arrival at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, please report to the Staff Room (to be determined). The Staffing volunteers, including the Staffing Head, will be available to process your check-in and answer any questions.
Is filling out the form on the volunteer application the only way I can register to volunteer for San Japan?Please review the question “How do I volunteer?”
I'm not sure about pre-registering, how will I know I was accepted as a volunteer? You will be informed no later than August 5th before the Convention. Please see the answer to the question “I signed up and I haven't heard anything for a while, what's going on?” as to the process.
As a general volunteer does working on Thursday, prior to the beginning of the convention, go toward my required 12 hours?If you are working a 12-hour requirement (General Volunteer, no Crash Space), this would not be considered toward your required hours during the Convention proper. This would be considered to enjoy those amenities and programming offered that day.

Note: If you are working a 24-hour requirement (General Volunteer, Crash Space) then you are required to work for 6 hours that day, as you would be using Crash Space that night.
Is there a minimum age you must be in order to volunteer for San Japan?
  1. All volunteers must be at least 17 years of age at the time of the start of the Convention.
    1. If the applicant is 16 at the time of application but will be 17 by the first day of the Convention, the applicant may volunteer.
    2. As we are otherwise requiring proper ID to receive a badge, this would be required of the applicant as well.
    3. The personal recruitment of a Department Head of the said minor is a recognized exception to this rule, but all liability is disclaimed by San Japan and taken fully and solely by that Department Head.

  2. All volunteers who are requesting/receiving Crash Space must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the start of the Convention. 
    1. The authorization of a parent to allow a minor to use Crash Space is not an exception to this rule.
    2. The personal recruitment of a Department Head of the said minor is a recognized exception to this rule, but all liability is disclaimed by SanJapan and taken fully and solely by that Department Head.
What about volunteer crash space?

For General Volunteers:

Eligibility - A General Volunteer may only be eligible for Crash Space if that person is both 1) at least 18 years of age at the start of the Convention, and 2) resides at least 30 miles from the Convention Center at the time of the Convention.

Confirmation: Contact and confirmation will be issued no later than August 30th before the Convention. Please do not request confirmation before this date.

Note: For any other concerns before the deadline, or any such concerns after the deadline, you may email us at volunteer@san-japan.org. The Staffing Head or his assignee will respond within 48 hours. If the email is concerning this issue before the deadline, it will be summarily ignored

Volunteer Requirement - A General Volunteer who is eligible, requested, and confirmed for Crash Space is required to work for a total of 24 hours during the period of the Convention, including Thursday. Even if you do not appear for a day during the Convention, this 24-hour minimum is still required.

Definition: Crash Space is defined as sleeping, showering, and luggage amenities provided by the Convention, usually in the form of a hotel room. These are communal, with up to 5 persons per room. These rooms are gender-separated. Rules of conduct concerning Crash Space are outlined in the Volunteer Handbook.

For Rangers:

Eligibility: A Ranger is always eligible, and confirmed by their status.

Requirement - A Ranger must work a minimum of 32 hours in 4 days.

Rules and Enforcement: At the Department Head’s discretion, subject to the rulings of the Board of Directors and applicable laws, statutes, and ordinances.

Can I volunteer & cosplay at the same time?

Cosplaying during your shift is ultimately a matter for the individual Department’s approval. The ruling from each Department Head will be provided as feasible from Staffing or that Head personally.

Even if permitted to cosplay on shift, this may be rescinded at any time by the appropriate Department Head or his/her/their assignee and would be likely in the event that the cosplay is interfering with volunteer duties.


The following Departments have generally banned cosplay during shift outright: Assets, Support, Events, and Events Safety. While all of these are physically demanding or otherwise require appropriate dress, Events Safety is unique in requiring that all members wear the assigned shirt of that Department.

If I sign up to volunteer, do I have to also pre-register?No.
What positions are available to volunteer at San Japan?

Here is a list of the positions that will be available:

Artist Alley Helper

Autograph Helper

Convention Suite (Catering/Snack Suite) Helper

Craft Room Helper

Asset Control Helper

Staffing Department Helper

Dealer Room Helper

Programming Helper

Info Desk / Merchandise Helper

Lines & Signs Helper

Merch Helper

Registration Helper (NON-Cash Handling Position)

Event Safety Helper

TechOp Volunteer / Setup

Video Gaming Departments

Maid Cafe recruitment is handled by the contracted group only. Guest Relation positions are personally recruited by the Department Head. They do not accept outside general volunteer applications. E-mailing on this will be redirected back to this answer.

Details about each position are listed in the volunteer application.

Is it possible to volunteer for the Maid Cafe?Not through San Japan Staffing. The Maid Cafe is a separate contracted organization and recruits entirely separate from San Japan. We can only direct you to Maid Cafe as to this matter.
I'd rather be on San Japan Staff, are there any available positions there?

If you are interested in a Staff position, please refer to the Open Staff Positions page, and use the form on that page to submit an inquiry.

These are skills which would be especially considered:

  1. Advanced Audio/Visual skills,
  2. Events setup/teardown/other such functions,
  3. Customer Service skills, with the ability to perform even in heightened and sustained stress,
  4. Logistics and Management skills with emphasis on volunteer health and morale,
  5. Exception Organizational skills, and/or
  6. Any other skill that would be highly beneficial to  San Japan’s operations.

Note: It is highly recommended to apply and serve as a Ranger prior to this inquiry.

I signed up and I haven't heard anything for a while, what's going on?

For Rangers: Contact and confirmation of acceptance will be handled per Department, unless said Department requests Staffing’s services, in which case, see General Volunteers below.

General Volunteers: All prospective volunteers will be contacted by whichever means Staffing sees as appropriate (traditionally by email) no later than August 5th before the Convention. For the majority of prospective volunteers, this will be to confirm their status as a volunteer and to confirm the schedule for the Convention. Otherwise, this contact may be to request more information, or (rarely) to notify of rejection.

Note: For any other concerns before the August 5th deadline, or any such concerns after the deadline, you may email us at volunteer@san-japan.org. The Staffing Head or his assignee will respond within 48 hours. If the email is concerning the status of a prospective volunteer before the confirmation has been issued, or before the deadline, it will be summarily ignored.
Does San Japan cover any transportation costs, expenses or parking?No.
I have completed my hours by Saturday evening, is my volunteer badge still valid?The badge is valid until the end of the Convention on Sunday unless revoked by other means.
The volunteer deadline already passed, are you taking any additional volunteers?Please review the question “How do I volunteer?”
What is the difference between a RANGER and a GENERAL volunteer

Process: While the General Volunteer applies by our link at the top of this page, the Ranger is recruited by the appropriate Department Head and provided the link to the staff volunteer page.

Hours: While the General Volunteer must work either 12 hours in 3 days, or 24 hours in 4 days, based on whether Crash Space is being utilized; the Ranger must work a minimum of 32 hours in 4 days but is at the discretion of the Department Head as to total hours required as per need.

Amenities: While the General Volunteer is entitled to basic snacks during the shift, and Crash Space (subject to the 30-mile radius rule, and hours worked); the Ranger is entitled to full meals per day of the Convention, a t-shirt, Crash Space regardless of distance, and access to a post-Convention event. (Exception: A General Volunteer assigned to Events Safety is also entitled to a t-shirt).

When looking over the application what are some things you'll be looking at?

While San Japan will take as holistic a view as possible in reviewing an application, these are some factors that that will likely be reviewed specifically:

  1. Application history for prior conventions,
  2. Volunteer history within Departments,
  3. Appropriate technical skills, and
  4. Customer Service skills, as appropriate.

Customer Service skills will receive greater weight in relation to Departments requiring interaction with attendees, but a preference not to interact in that manner will not disqualify someone from volunteering, as many positions exist that do not require such interactions.

Why the sudden change in policy to start allowing 17 and up volunteers? You use to only accept 18 and up.Per policy, it has been determined that 17-year-old persons are capable of assisting in most functions. However, please note that the volunteer must be at least 18 years of age to receive Crash Space.
I want to help on Thursday of the convention during setup. What should I do?

Please arrive at the Convention Center no later than 11:00 AM CST on the Thursday before the Convention. Please then proceed to the Staff Room (to be determined) to be checked in and assigned.

If you are a General Volunteer intending to use Crash Space on that day, you are required to

  1. Inform Staffing at least 14 days prior, via email to volunteer@san-japan.org., that you are intending to appear and require Crash Space. Crash Space eligibility is still subject to the conditions stated in reply to questions on the topic.
  2. Work at least 6 hours that Thursday.

Please note that you may not presume that Crash Space is available on Thursday unless otherwise guaranteed.

I keep seeing the phrase 'crash space'. What does that mean?Crash Space is defined as sleeping, showering, and luggage amenities provided by the Convention, usually in the form of a hotel room. For General Volunteers: These are communal, with up to 5 persons per room. These rooms are gender-separated. Rules of conduct concerning Crash Space are outlined in the Volunteer Handbook.
I'm still a bit confused on your volunteer processes. Do I have to pre-register or purchase a badge in order to volunteer at San Japan?No.
I volunteered for previous San Japan conventions, do I still have to register as a General Volunteer?

Generally, no. If already recruited for Ranger by a Department Head, then that Department Head should provide a link to the staff volunteer page, unless that Department Head has requested that Staffing provide that service.

Per policy, we are to review upgrading perennial General Volunteers to Ranger status whenever feasible but must offer and strongly seek to upgrade to Ranger status all General Volunteers who have worked for 3 years or more and are otherwise qualified.

When will I know if I'm accepted as a volunteer and when will I know if I have crash space.

Confirmation of volunteer status - contact and confirmation will be issued no later than August 5th before the Convention.

Confirmation of crash space status - contact and confirmation will be issued no later than August 30th before the Convention.

Note: For any other concerns before the respective deadline, or any such concerns after the respective deadline, you may email us at volunteer@san-japan.org. The Staffing Head or his assignee will respond within 48 hours. If the email is concerning either of these issues before the respective deadline, it will be summarily ignored.
How will the Volunteer/Staffing Department keep track of my hours to ensure that I've worked enough hours for benefits?

All General Volunteers are to report to the Staffing Room (to be determined) at least 10 minutes before the start of the shift. At this time, the volunteer will be checked in and will be directed to his/her/their area as determined by individual Department Heads. Upon the end of shift, the volunteer will report back to the Staffing Room (to be determined) to be checked out for his/her/their shift.


Note for Rangers: Your check-in/out and hours are determined by your Department Head. If said person wishes to use our services, then you would report to the Staffing Room (to be determined) in the same manner.


Note for those working after Staffing Room hours who otherwise would have hours tracked: The Staffing Head will see to accommodations for check-in/out. This may be done by a temporary Staffing Office, location determined by the Safety Events Head.

Are there any restrictions for RANGERS or GENERAL VOLUNTEER Staff
  1. The Volunteer Handbook will be available to download as a PDF. This will govern your behavior while on shift or otherwise engaged with San Japan, such as the use of crash space.

  2.  Specific restrictions are worthy of note - 
    1. No Volunteer Staff may house their pets or children within allocated Crash Space. 
    2.  San Japan LLC does not offer a babysitter service or extend liability in any way in this regard. 
    3. No volunteer may have any child under 13 years of age working with them as a volunteer of San Japan. 

  3. San Japan LLC has adopted a zero-tolerance policy concerning criminal activity, will cooperate fully with law enforcement investigations, and press necessary charges.
Is there a dress code when on shift? Can I wear a previous year shirt as a volunteer at San Japan?
  1. A Ranger or Events Safety Volunteer may only wear the shirt assigned for the present Convention during that Convention. 

  2. At no time during the Convention may a Ranger or Events Safety Volunteer damage or otherwise modify his/her/their assigned shirt.

  3. A Ranger or Events Safety Volunteer may request a replacement if the shirt is not correctly sized, or damaged through no fault of the volunteer. Staffing will seek to accommodate based on supplies available.