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The First Friendly Faces You See: Convocations Volunteer Network

Purdue Convocations staff assist patrons during Spiderman program.

Through Purdue Convocations, we observe unique interpretations of beliefs and climates through the art of performance. Convocations brings a diverse array of world-class performances to our campus. The student ushers of the Convocations Volunteer Network support the endeavors of Purdue Convocations by volunteering to usher, engaging with Convocations’ audiences before shows, ensuring positive patron experiences, assisting with marketing efforts to students and more. 

Convocations Volunteer Network (CVN) is an excellent opportunity for students at Purdue and Ivy Tech to make friends, attend shows for free and gain service hours. Through the program, students volunteer to usher at shows of their choice. Volunteers can sign up to usher as often as they want. After volunteering, members are welcome to watch the show for free!  

CVN has over 200 members and the only requirement is that volunteers must be Purdue or Ivy Tech students. Members enjoy the benefits of being involved in Convocations and surrounded by a friendly environment. 

“Convocations Volunteer Network, fueled by the dynamic spirit of our student volunteers, is the driving force behind Purdue Convocations community-driven programming,” says Conner McGuire, advisor of CVN. “Beyond their dedicated logistical support, our student volunteers embody the essence of Boilermaker hospitality. Interacting with patrons with warmth and enthusiasm, they create an inviting atmosphere that transforms each event into a memorable experience. With the Convocations Volunteer Network, our students play a pivotal role in shaping the vibrant tapestry of shared moments that define the Purdue experience, leaving an indelible mark on our community's collective story.” 

Jared Cain, a junior at Purdue and president of CVN, says “It’s something different. It’s not offered in many places. We’re an engineering school so it’s great exploring something different with the arts and there are a lot of different pathways.” 

Simay Savas, senior and vice president, adds, “We both love what we do. It’s chaos but it’s fun!” 

CVN helped usher 30 shows in 2023, including Mean Girls, Grandmaster Flash, CATS and Noah Kahan. Events include speeches, concerts, Broadway musicals and more.

Noah Kahan performing at convos

When asked about their experience, Cain and Savas reflect on their journey to CVN. 

“It’s been three years for both of us,” Savas says. “My mom used to do the same thing in college, so she pushed me towards Convocations. I just loved the idea of ushering and watching the show for free and gaining information about the behind-the-scenes.” 

Cain, who also has family connections to CVN, continues, “Four years prior to me coming to college my sister was the president of CVN. My first year was a general member and the year after that I was on the executive board. My junior year I was elected club president.”  

Both leaders have a personal history with the program and are highly passionate regarding their involvement. The leadership opportunities provided by the program caused both leaders to strive for upward movement in the club as well as heavy personal involvement.  

Cain describes what the typical event looks like for volunteers.  

“A volunteer will show up at the requested time, talk to other members, get pizza and get comfortable,” Cain says. “For fifteen to twenty minutes, an executive board member talks about the game plan for the night and goes over assignments. From there, volunteers are expected to usher and have the option to attend the show for free post-ushering or head home.”

A performer on an elevated pole at the Convos Bloom Show.

There are many valuable skills volunteers develop through their experiences ushering. Ushers greet guests and verify tickets, as well as help guests to their seats.  

"You develop a lot of skills as an usher,” Savas elaborates. “You learn communication, writing, problem-solving and how to interact with a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds. We are the first friendly faces they see before a show so it’s important to start their experience in a good way.”  

When asked about the importance of supporting Convocations, both the president and vice president agree culture is at the root of their work. 

“I didn’t grow up in the US, I didn’t grow up with that culture,” Savas, a native citizen of Turkey, says. “It’s a huge thing knowing the names of shows, there’s a history behind it. It is important for international students to be able to adjust and become a part of the new culture and learn about it in a fun way. We have a lot of interaction going on and it’s a great opportunity. It’s educational and fun. It’s a blend of different cultures and is a great variety.” 

Purdue Convocations hosts events that highlight a variety of cultures and provide opportunities for students to connect on deeper levels. Performances carry the history and heart of a society, and supporting this enables togetherness on campus. 

Students who are interested in this service-oriented organization are heavily encouraged to join and all majors are welcome. There are no dues or requirements to join CVN and members do not have to attend every show. Volunteers can sign up for shows of their choice, even if it is only one show a semester.

A singer on stage in front of a band during Convos PXL concert .

"To get involved, sign up for CVN on BoilerLink,” Cain says. “From there, I will approve your applications, send out an email and add you to the Discord. Information rolls out biweekly.” 

The BoilerLink page also sends out announcements for different performances to sign up for. For more information, visit their Instagram

Founded in 1902, Purdue Convocations is among the oldest collegiate performing arts presenters in the United States. Convocations bring a diverse array of world-class performances and intellectual encounters, including collaborations with campus and community partners, to academic, local and regional audiences. Convocations catalyze the curriculum, energize the community and distinguish Purdue through powerful performances, illuminating discourse and extraordinary learning encounters.