Volunteering at Imperial Festival 2016: behind the scenes


Steve Rochford

Ahead of the annual Imperial Festival 2016 taking place on 7-8 May, we spoke with one of the legion of volunteers that makes the event possible.

Steve Rochford is Site Manager in the ICT Division, where he has worked for eight years. He is also an active volunteer, lending a hand at Imperial’s diverse events programme – namely the annual Imperial Festival and the Fringe series.

Tell me about your role firstly

I lead a ‘customer service’ team, essentially providing desktop computing support across the Faculty of Engineering. The fun thing about the job is, when you go to fix someone’s computer, you can have a chat with them - often simply asking ‘so what do you do?’ That way you really get under the hood of the organization and start to feel more involved in the amazing work that goes on here. The other week I was helping an academic who had been interviewed for a David Attenborough documentary. He was asking me how to get this DVD into a short clip to share show in a PowerPoint presentation. We got talking about these insects they’d been filming. I’m not sure you’d get that sort of thing in the corporate ICT world!

Festival VolunteersDid those sort of interactions provide the impetus for getting involved in events?

Partly. I had been busy for the first few Imperial Festivals, so last year I was determined to clear my diary. I also found out about the chance to volunteer and thought why not?

What were you involved in doing?

I helped with some of the setting up and clearing away. But I spend most of the time handing out fliers and talking to people on Exhibition Road. I remember meeting a few children who really wanted to become scientists, and so they were just brimming with excitement about the prospect of actually meeting some real-life scientists at the Festival. That really hit home why the event is so great.

What would you say to those thinking about volunteering for the Festival?

It’s easy, especially when you’ve been here many years, just to exist in your own bubble and get on with your job. But I think it’s really beneficial to get involved in something like the Festival to find out what goes on at College and see your place in the bigger picture.

The fifth Imperial Festival will take place on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May 2016.  Volunteering opportunities are open to everyone over the Festival weekend, regardless of affiliation to the College. Opportunities include opportunities to assist with the Alumni Weekend and Reach Out Lab activities, with a variety of front-of-house and behind-the-scenes roles available.

Register online to support the Festival by volunteering for one of the 282 sessions over the course of the weekend (external link).

Volunteers help out at the Workshop Tent, which included poetry, ugly animals, quilting and trying out what it's like to be a GP

Volunteers help out at the Workshop Tent, which included poetry, ugly animals, quilting and trying out what it's like to be a GP


Andrew Czyzewski

Andrew Czyzewski
Communications Division

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Contact details

Email: press.office@imperial.ac.uk
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