What is Member Services?

Member Services is Arisia’s “miscellaneous” division. We provide many of the support services for convention attendees. Some of our areas have been around for years, and others are brand new, jobs that we have made, in part to make sure everything runs smoothly as we grow. The list changes a bit every year. Last year we added two brand new areas: line management and wayfinding.

I want everyone who comes to the convention to have a great time, and to be able to participate however suits them best. Our growth has been exhilarating for some members and overwhelming for others. As we expand in size, and reach out to more diverse communities, we have added services for new attendees and people who have been coming for years, commuters and families, introverts and extroverts, and, of course, people with a variety of disabilities.

The work closest to me, that I have built on the hard work of people who came before me, is providing resources for people with disabilities who attend Arisia. I have really enjoyed working on this part of the con for a number of years, and really touched and honored by the number of  community members who were generous with their time, and talked with me about how they experience the convention, and how we might improve things, usually with suggestions that make the convention better for everyone, not just a few members. It was hard for me to step away from Access, and learn to look at a larger picture of Arisia, but I am very happy that new people have stepped up to take on that work. We have a great Access team, who work with all parts of the convention to reduce barriers and include more people at every level. We have a Quiet Room where people can rest in a low-light environment to take a break from the noise and chaos of the convention. Recently we started making available pronoun ribbons so that people of every gender can share information about themselves in a clear and simple way.

Last year we added two departments to help people get around the convention. We have a line management team to help control lines and ensure that people who cannot stand in lines can wait seated, or in a less-crowded space. We also have a person in charge of wayfinding, working to get better signs and maps to help people make their way around our space in the hotel. If you have suggestions for good places to put signs, please send them to wayfinding@arisia.org . We’d love to hear from you!

Our two oldest departments are the Information Desk in the lobby, near the elevators, and the Coat Check on each side of the hotel. The information desk is there to answer questions, offer directions, and help you orient yourself in the space. They also have large print program guides and desk copies of our Pocket Program and Restaurant Guide in Braille. Coat Check has expanded so there is now a place to leave coats and small bags – nothing larger than a standard “daypack” backpack. On the Marina side (to the left as you enter the lobby) there is a coat check near the Marina ballrooms, to the right of Laugh Boston. The other Coat Check (also called Goat Check, you should ask them why) is in the right side of the hotel, one level down from the lobby, just across from Registration.

We also run the photo booth, where members can have their pictures taken, and get them from our Flickr page (https://www.flickr.com/photos/arisiaphotobooth/albums). We even have some costume hats and fun signs! We also maintain a costume repair station on the concourse, to help people make costume (or clothing) repairs. The repair station staff has a broad range of expertise, and sewing machines, tools, and supplies to assist you in your hour of need.

Member Services is dedicated to helping make Arisia a great experience for everyone who comes in our doors. If you like to help people, we’d love to have you on our team, and if you have suggestions, we’d love to hear them!

Tanya Washburn

Member Services Division Head