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'Real MVPs': QuestCrew volunteers deliver in successful CONQuest

Michelle Lojo - Philstar.com
'Real MVPs': QuestCrew volunteers deliver in successful CONQuest
Volunteers at the recently concluded CONquest by AcadArena at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City last weekend
Philstar.com/Michelle Lojo

MANILA, Philippines — At around 9 a.m.of July 24, host Bruce "JuiceyBrucey" Alcomendras was hard at work going through the schedule of panels taking place at the "Community Stage" for Day 2 of AcadArena's CONQuest. With him were members of the QuestCrew, volunteers from AcadArena's network of schools, who were working hard to make sure the day's events run smoothly and without any issues as they were in for a packed day with celebrity voice-actors and beloved streamers.

It was the case throughout AcadArena's recently concluded festival CONQuest. The two-day festival saw a record-breaking 33,000 attendees, all celebrating gaming and pop culture. The success of events like CONquest, other esports-gaming events and even sports conferences rely heavily volunteers.

Volunteers are one of the key parts of any big event. The Southeast Asian Games saw around 9,000 volunteers when the country hosted the biennial meet in 2019. In the Tokyo Olympics, even while under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were at least 70,000 volunteers. Like CONQuest with its booths and celebrity guests, the San Diego Comic Con draws 4,000 to 5,000 volunteers each year.

AcadArena reached out through their school network via their online QuestCrew application and received more than a thousand applications. In the end, it mobilized 270 QuestCrew members during the event to cater to their thousands of attendees.

"Volunteers are the real MVPs of CONQuest. 33,000 attendees cannot be handled by the organizers alone, which is why there are people to do the front-end work which are the volunteers. Without them, the event wouldn't have been a success. Their hard work and involvement are one of the core reasons why CONQuest 2022 was a success. That's how important they were," Jude Deloso, overall head of QuestCrew, Jude Deloso told Philstar.com.

Bruce "JuiceyBrucey" Alcomendras (in black) with CONquest volunteers
Philstar.com/Michelle Lojo

Deloso explained that even with all their preparations and planning, struggles and issues would always arise with events like these. But with the volunteers taking initiatives, even taking more roles that weren't initially assigned to them, CONQuest became an enjoyable festival for all.

Being a volunteer for a big event such as CONQuest would equate to a heavy responsibility and a few stresses especially as the event unfolds. But for QuestCrew Oliver Zed Parangan, experiencing an event as a staff instead of just as an ordinary attendee presents a more fun and fulfilling experience.

"Honestly, what really made me volunteer was I wanted to attend events but as a staff because, even though it's ten times more stressful [syempre], it feels more fulfilling," shared Parangan, a Psychology student from iAcademy.

Parangan adds that he was only supposed to be part of the vendor hall, but would eventually roam around the entire event, experiencing the work at the ticketing area, at the help desk and even with line management.

Fellow QuestCrew Eloisa Canlas, who is studying Animation and Game Design at the Far Eastern University (FEU)-Institute of Technology, had fun being able to meet other people from AcadArena and finally see everyone face-to-face after mostly attending and organizing events online for the past two years.

A veteran volunteer, Gabriel Guevarra, also from FEU-Institute of Technology, shared how CONQuest, his third event as a volunteer, was a whole different experience from his previous volunteering stints.

"CONQuest is a massive event and it's an honor to be here and a great opportunity to expand my network and communicate with other people and to have fun as well. It's tiring but it's all worth it. One hundred and ten percent worth it. The experience just makes me want to volunteer more for these kinds of events," said Guevarra.

Looking back at the festival, Deloso, who had trained volunteers when the festival was based in Iloilo, is very proud about the group of volunteers they had for this year's event.

Volunteer (in yellow) at work during the CONquest in SMX Convention Center in Pasay City last weekend
Philstar.com / Michelle Lojo

"What makes this batch of volunteers special is that they are composed of student leaders from different schools who already have experience in event organizing so it wasn't that hard to get them prepared and ready. There is still room for improvement but overall, the QuestCrew did great," he said.

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