Join OHNY’s Volunteer Council

Hello, fine friends and enthusiasts of OHNY! I’m Andrew Watanabe, former volunteer coordinator and current OHNY Volunteer Council member.

Andrew at OHNY's Wrap Party 2010

As OHNY staff and VC members begin start mapping out sites and programs and lining up outreach strategies for this year’s OHNY Weekend, you may be thinking to yourself, “You’re planning for OHNY Weekend already? Yet I’ve only just finished plying my sweetheart with dinner dates and… well intended but poorly executed gifts?” And to that, I snap back, “Exactly! Excuse my mixed metaphor, but Valentine’s Day is just a cog in the whole enchilada: we’ll need that leverage to get you out of that trip to their sister’s Pomeranian’s half-birthday party in Massapequa during the Weekend.”

But I digress. Every year, we see more and more interest in our programs and volunteer opportunities, so I’m reaching out to you today to find out whom of those among us have the enthusiasm, the know-how, the gumption, and, most important, the time and energy to commit to joining the VC. You may be wondering to yourself, “What is the VC? What does it do? Is it a secret society? Can it be transmitted through casual contact, like holding hands or kissing?” And I would reply solemnly, “It’s a little bit of both? But with the House of Representatives and that game where all the tiny, different-shaped pieces pop out into your face if you’re too slow sprinkled on top.”
The VC is a hodgepodge of individuals from all over the city, and all walks of life, who commit to a minimum of two years of service. We meet the second Tuesday evening of every month to discuss strategy and assist the staff at year-round events: from recruiting and training volunteers for the annual OHNY Weekend, to filling the room with friendly, knowledgeable faces at OHNY’s year-round programs and fundraisers. We organize the recognition ceremony for five-year volunteers, and we also lend our individual talents (mine is getting other people drunk, apparently), knowledge, and connections where they are helpful. It’s really exciting to get to have a hand in planning the largest architecture & design-related event in the country!
Of course, we do have a few teeny-tiny prerequisites for VC membership that are, I swear, not onerous at all. We are looking for the following characteristics in you:
  • A genial, well-rounded personality
  • Experience volunteering for OHNY Weekend at least once in the past few years
  • A firm commitment to come to the monthly meetings
  • Willingness to sacrifice your OHNY Weekend to be a District Coordinator. Which, if I might add, is not really a sacrifice at all: you are OHNY’s eyes and ears during the Weekend, visiting a handful of sites on both days, interacting with program and site sponsors and volunteers, and being available if a site needs extra help. IN FACT, you can still see a bazillion sites in and around your district, and it introduces you to some sites and programs that you wouldn’t necessarily make a beeline for, but that end up being the highlights of your weekend.
And that’s all! If it sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, send an email to and let us know that you want to hop on for the ride.
Hope to see you at our next meeting!

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