Volunteer for the Annual Meeting

SAA is currently seeking enthusiastic volunteers for the 87th Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. Volunteer opportunities are open to both members and non-members who are eager to connect with colleagues.

In order for volunteers to have meeting flexibility, SAA requires two 4-hour blocks of volunteers’ time. In return for your time, you will receive a complimentary meeting registration.

Training for the meeting will be provided via a detailed manual. Links to these manuals will also sent to you electronically prior to the meeting. On-the-job training will also be provided. As always, SAA staff will be on hand to assist you with any questions or problems that may arise.

We will be accepting applications for the 2022 Annual Meeting until Feb 15, 2022, however volunteer slots usually fill up in the fall. Questions about volunteering? email meetings@saa.org for information.



Volunteer Assignments

Below you will find descriptions of the volunteer assignments. During the volunteer application process you can choose which assignments you'd prefer to have. There is no guarantee you will be assigned to your preferred selection.

Advanced Registration

Individuals who registered in advance of the meeting (including all presenters, etc.) will have a packet at Advance Registration. This packet contains a name badge, tickets for registration, and tickets for special events, excursions, and workshops that the individual is registered for. If an individual did not pay his or her registration and event fees in full, there will be an invoice stapled to the front of the packet. All balances must be paid in full immediately at Registration.

Each volunteer will be responsible for one part of the registration list (last name letters A-D, etc). When working in your Advanced Registration section your duties are as follows:

1. Find the individual’s packet. 

  • When looking up hyphenated and Latin American names, check all possible variations.
  • Beware of common surnames.  Be certain to look at the full name printed on the badge.

2. Give each registrant the following materials:

  • Envelope with Name Badge, Tickets & Ribbons (if applicable)
  • the Program Book
  • Program Update
  • Badge Holder
  • Annual Meeting Bag

3. Ask the individual to check that all event tickets are in the packet before he or she leaves the registration area.

If a balance due sheet is stapled to the front of a registrant's packet, walk packet and registrant to the cashier for payment; registration fees must be paid in full before a registration packet may be distributed.

If an individual is picking up more than one packet, only give him/her the packets if a balance due sheet is not attached.  Packets with a balance due sheet may only be given to the registrant to whom the packet belongs.

Onsite Registration

Individuals who have not yet registered for the Annual Meeting can do so Onsite. Additionally, attendees may also add additional events to their schedule or pay their membership dues at the Onsite Registration desk.



General Duties:


Crowd control: Wednesday afternoon and Thursday are the busiest days at Onsite Registration.  Monitor the lines:

  • Distribute copies of the registration form and membership application.
  • Direct advance registrants with a balance due to the cashier.  Unless they wish to add another event, they may jump the line.

Check that all registration forms and membership applications are filled out completely and legibly.  Regardless of whether the individual has registered or is a member, s/he must provide her/his address on the registration form.

To qualify for the member rate on registration fees, an individual must be a current member.  If a registrant has marked the member rate on her/his form, check the membership printout. Non-renewed members and nonmembers must pay the membership fee to qualify for the member reduced rates.

Individuals who mark the student rate must show a current student ID.


Workshop and Event Tickets: Review the registration form for any necessary tickets.


For new registrants, type a badge from the information on their registration form in the following format:

  • Full Name
  • Institution/Organization (if desired)

Assemble the registration packet with all inserts and tickets.  Check to make sure that there is a ticket for each event listed on the registration form. Make sure to keep all registration forms in the place designated by the area supervisor.  All forms are needed for processing by SAA staff after the meeting.

Give each registrant the following materials:
  • Envelope with Name Badge, Tickets & Ribbons (if applicable)
  • the Program Book
  • Program Update
  • Badge Holder
  • Annual Meeting Bag

Opening and Closing On-Site Registration:

Volunteers working the early morning shifts and the last day shift of the day will assist staff in opening and closing the booth as necessary.

Questions and difficulties concerning membership should be directed to an SAA Staff member.


SAA Booth

The SAA Booth is a display of membership services, publications, and SAA merchandise in the Exhibit Hall. Materials and brochures describing membership benefit programs will be available. Volunteer duties will be divided between providing customer assistance and cashiering. The volunteer assigned to customer service will provide sales assistance to customers and pull merchandise from under the tables before passing transaction to cashier. The volunteer assigned to cashier is responsible for ringing all sales. The SAA Press & SAA Gear Order Form must be filled out by each customer making a purchase. This form acts as accounting backup and must be kept for processing by SAA staff.

Customer Service:

  • Assist customers with choosing merchandise items or publications to purchase.
  • New members joining onsite: Assist the new members in completing the membership application or let them know they can join online. They can pay for their membership at the Onsite Registration area.
  • Make sure the customer completes the Merchandise Order Form and then refer the person with the transaction and form to the cashier.
  • Keep all displays neat and orderly. Additional stock items are kept under the tables.

Membership Services and Payments:

A selection of materials and brochures describing the membership benefit programs are available for interested individuals to peruse and take. Individuals interested in joining the society or in renewing their membership during the meeting may pay the membership at the Onsite Registration area. Individuals can update their contact information using forms provided at the booth.


All SAA merchandise items are available for purchase onsite. We will also accept orders from customers who prefer to have their merchandise shipped to them. Shipping & handling charges must be added to all mail orders.


SAA will offer publications for sale onsite at the SAA Booth. Additional copies of all publications are kept under the table. If we run out of onsite books, they will be available by order, if in stock. Publications orders will be fulfilled within 2 weeks after the meeting. Payment of shipping & handling charges must be added to all publications orders as indicated on the order forms.


You will be trained on how to use the cash register when you arrive.

Booth Reservations:

Beginning Saturday at 8am, exhibitors can start reserving their booth spaces for the next Annual Meeting. Volunteers should not accept any exhibitor applications. Instead, volunteers should notify SAA staff that an exhibitor is at the booth. SAA Staff are the only ones that may accept exhibitor applications.   

Opening and Closing the Booth:

Volunteers working the first and last shifts will assist in opening and closing the booth as necessary.

Please note that the final shift on Saturday requires the tear down of the booth, which includes lifting and moving boxes. If you have been assigned to this shift, but believe you might be unable to perform these duties please let us know and we will switch you.

Native American Scholarships (NAS) Booth

SAA Staff Office

Volunteers assigned to the SAA Staff Office will provide general customer service for meeting attendees, support for other volunteers assigned to different areas and assistance to session attendants by providing them with the required resources for their sessions.  Volunteers may also be assigned to help out in any of the various work areas (including registration and session attendance) as necessary.

General Information:

Attendees may approach the office with questions about the program, meeting services, convention center layout, and excursions.  You will be provided with the following:

  • Floor plans (In the Program Book)
  • A copy of the Program Book
  • Any other applicable printed resources to answer general meeting questions

Please direct anyone asking questions regarding meeting or membership policies or seeking to speak with SAA Staff to the nearest staff member. 

Volunteer Assistance:

Please direct all volunteers checking into or out of a shift to the volunteer sign in sheet located at the front of the room. If they cannot be found on the list for a particular shift, notify a member of staff so they can be further assisted. Once signed in, all volunteers should report to their assigned area.

All session attendants will be given a timer and laser pointer per room assigned and a session attendance sheet for each session, on which they will record an initial and a peak count of those attending that session. The laser pointers and timers are labeled with a unique number that must be recorded on the sign in sheet so they can be crossed off as they are returned after the sessions have concluded. If a session preceded the current session, remind the session attendant to check the sign on the easels located outside by the door to ensure the correct information is showing. If the sign is not displaying the correct session information, please peel back the plastic covering and remove the front sheet of paper. The correct session information should appear on the following sheet, as all of the sheets of paper in the sign are in chronological order for the sessions on that day.

If a meeting room request is made to the office (additional audio visual, food & beverage, etc):

Send all of these requests to SAA Staff. If he’s not available, take down the name of the person making the request, the room number of the meeting, the exact services requested and a contact number in case additional information or a follow up is needed.  All requests regarding money must ultimately go through the Executive Director.

Session Room Attendant

The session attendants are responsible for 2-3 meeting rooms.  During this four hour shifts, you are responsible for all sessions in those rooms. Attendants responsible for bringing materials to their assigned meeting rooms, assisting session chairs with audio visual equipment, recording attendance at sessions, and communicating any issues with SAA staff.

Session attendants are assigned 2-3 meeting rooms.  Please refer to the "Sessions at a Glance" section in the program to see the start/end times of each session that will take place in your assigned rooms during your shift. 

Please arrive at the SAA Staff Office 10-15 minutes before your shift in order to sign in for your shift, pick up the necessary materials, and sign out your equipment. You will pick up the following for each session:

  • the session attendance report
  • a laser pointer
  • a speaker timer

When you arrive at the session room, introduce yourself to the session chair and drop off the timer and laser pointer.

Before the session starts, check the following:

  • Ensure that the sign outside the session room displays the correct session title
  • Determine the location of the nearest house phone
  • Determine the location of the light switches

Session Attendants are available to assist presenters and session chairs as necessary, including:

  • Assisting with timers
  • Assisting with wireless remote
  • Controlling room lights
  • Contacting the SAA Staff Office should a problem arise with the audio/visual equipment or the room set-up.   

Using the Session Attendance Report, take a head count of the number of attendees in each room twice during your shift.  The first count must should be taken within the first hour of your shift.  The second count should be made when you feel that the attendance level has reached a peak.

At the end of the shift, please return all materials (session attendance reports, laser pointers, and timers) to the SAA Staff Office.




For additional information, please contact SAA: Phone +1 (202) 559-7382 or e-mail meetings@saa.org.


  • May 03, 2021

    Submission System Opens

  • September 14, 2021

    Submission Deadline 3PM EDT

  • November 10, 2021

    Meeting Payment Confirmations Sent

  • November 15, 2021

    Membership Join Deadline for Nonmember Participants

  • December 01, 2021

    Withdrawal Deadline

  • December 06, 2021

    Participation Decision Letters from Program Committee

  • January 30, 2022

    Membership Renewal Deadline for Current Member Participants

  • March 01, 2022

    Advance Registration Closes

  • March 05, 2022

    Meeting Safety Policy Advance Reporting Form Deadline