OHNY Weekend Volunteer Manual

Credit: Jenna Bascom
OHNY Weekend volunteers greet guests inside a gallery
AECOM Landscape + Urban Design Studio – Photo: Josef Pinlac
Brooklyn Navy Yard, Credit: John Ng
Queens Museum, Credit: Neil Kramer
Credit: Jenna Bascom

Quick Links

1. Introduction

2. Weekend Overview

What is OHNY Weekend?

Volunteers

Partners

District Coordinators

3. 2022 Weekend Lineup

Formats

COVID-19

Open Access Places

Ticketed Places

Self-guided Tours

Virtual Programs

4. What will you do as a volunteer?

Pre-Weekend Volunteers

Weekend Volunteer Assignments

Weekend On-Call Volunteers

Weekend Volunteer Tasks

Volunteer Tasks at Ticketed Places

Self-guided Tours

Volunteer Captains

Virtual Volunteers

Volunteer Street Team

Year-Round Volunteers

5. What to do BEFORE your shift

Check your email for updates

Learn the OHNY mission

Research your Assignment

Plan your route

Familiarize yourself with use of the QR code process for head counts

Bring necessary supplies

6. What to do DURING your shift

Arrive 15-30 minutes in advance

Sign yourself in for your shift

Introduce yourself to Partner staff and fellow volunteers

Welcome and greet the public

Let participants know basic information and any special rules

Ensure everyone checks in using QR code

Encourage Donations

Line Management

Passport Buttons

Know the procedure for media requests

Exit Survey

Use social media

In case of emergency

7. What to do AFTER your shift

Pass the torch to your fellow volunteers

Thank the Partner and leave the space tidy

Sign out from your shift

Enjoy OHNY Weekend!

8. Frequently Asked Questions

What if I will be late or cannot volunteer for my shift?

What if I encounter a challenging participant?

What if a participant refuses to follow the Covid protocols?

What if my assignment gets cancelled?

What if it rains?

9. Code of Conduct

OHNY Volunteer Anti-Discrimination Policy

Volunteer Code of Conduct

1. Welcome

Volunteers help distribute OHNY Weekend materials

Our Volunteers are crucial to the success of Open House New York Weekend and OHNY’s year-round programming! 

Each year, more than 1,000 dedicated New Yorkers volunteer to welcome, greet, and guide tens of thousands of OHNY Weekend participants to places across the five boroughs that define the past, present, and future of our great city. By helping to provide access and behind-the-scenes experiences not normally available to the public, OHNY Volunteers like you promote a deeper understanding of how the city works, encourage civic participation, and help curious New Yorkers meet and connect with each other while also just having fun. 

Thank you for your commitment and continuous efforts to keep New York open. You are the public face of Open House New York and without you, the Weekend would not be possible. 

2. Weekend Overview

Credit: Courtesy Nanotronics

What is OHNY Weekend?

Open House New York Weekend is an annual festival that opens hundreds of noteworthy or significant places across the five boroughs for three days of in-person and virtual tours, talks, and special activities. OHNY Weekend is a free celebration of “the power of place,” fostering discovery and delight for all New Yorkers.

Volunteers

Volunteers are the public face of OHNY during the Weekend and special events through the year. They serve as ambassadors for OHNY, for Partner opening their doors to the public, and for their fellow New Yorkers. Each year, hundreds of dedicated New Yorkers volunteer to welcome, greet, and guide tens of thousands of OHNY Weekend participants at notable locations across the city. 

By helping to open buildings and locations not normally open to the public, OHNY Volunteers promote a deeper understanding of how the city works, encourage civic participation, and become part of a community of curious New Yorkers and urbanists. 

Volunteering for OHNY will give you not only a deeper understanding of your city, it also provides community and knowledge about places that are worth checking out. Plus, you’ll meet a diverse group of people that share the love for NYC, join tours that are not open to the public, and get to see New York through a different lens.  

Volunteering comes with great benefits, you get a backstage look at locations, unprecedented access to information and the WEEKEND Passport Button, which allows you and one guest to be at the front-of-line of any Open Access location throughout the weekend. 

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Libary,C redit: Jonathan Bartelstone

OHNY Weekend Partners

Weekend Partners are individuals and organizations that provide broad public access to places, free of charge, during OHNY Weekend. Partners include the public, private, cultural, and civic sectors, spanning a variety of industries, disciplines, and audiences. They create the experiences that the public visits, and Volunteers are assigned to, during the Weekend. 

Jefferson Market Library, Credit: Kathryn Yu
Partners in prior OHNY Weekends have included:
  • People who are architects, artists, community organizers, activists, urban planners, designers, developers, engineers, manufacturers, preservationists, public servants, and passionate in-the-know New Yorkers. 
  • Organizations like public institutions (city agencies, libraries, schools); cultural institutions (museums, historic houses and societies, galleries, theaters, and performance spaces); private businesses (developers, architecture and design firms); sacred spaces (churches, temples, religious centers); civic and community based organizations (greenways, neighborhood amenities, open spaces); work spaces (design studios, factories, laboratories, offices); homes and residential properties; nonprofits and community-based organizations; and retail spaces and storefronts (e.g., marketplaces, recreational facilities). 

District Coordinators

District Coordinators are experienced and dedicated volunteers who serve as the primary point of contact for the Partners and Volunteers in a specific area of the city during the Weekend. District Coordinators play a crucial role making sure the Weekend runs smoothly and everyone has the resources they need.  

District Coordinator duties during OHNY Weekend:

  • Be available by cell phone throughout the Weekend so Partners and Volunteers can contact you quickly 
  • Check in with each Place at least once during each day they are open 
  • Introduce yourself to Partners, thank them for participating, and ask them if they have questions or concerns or need more assistance – during an in-person visit if possible, but by email if your District is too large to visit everywhere in your district during the times they are open. 
  • Talk to Volunteers to see how things have been proceeding. Determine whether more resources are needed to cover no-shows, line management, or check-in bottlenecks.  
  • Make sure that OHNY posters are noticeably displayed to visitors. 
  • Try to visit Places with Ticketed tours at the start of the first tour, as most problems arise when Partners and Volunteers are going through the check-in process for the first time. 
  • Assign On-Call Volunteers as necessary to cover no-shows or places that need more assistance. 
  • Alert OHNY staff to no-shows, cancellations, or other issues as they arise. 

3. 2022 Weekend Lineup

Access to special places is what defines OHNY Weekend and these are made possible by our Partners. If you have volunteered during past OHNY Weekends, you may be familiar with the term “site.” We now use the term place or experience instead—“place” if referring to an in-person location; or “experience” if referring to something happening online—as it encompasses a broader range of Weekend activities, including walking tours or virtual programs that are not necessarily tied to a particular fixed location. 

Formats

Partners create a number of different types of experiences for the public to enjoy, including: 

Bike tours

Boat tours

Canoeing

Exhibitions

Films

Installations

Panels

Performances

In-person guided tours

Self-guided tours

Open studios

Podcasts

Talks

Virtual tours

Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, Credit: John Ng
Cathedral of St. John the Divine Nave
Credit: Michael Lee

If you receive an assignment that you do not feel physically able to complete, please contact the Volunteer Manager as soon as possible. We also seek Virtual Volunteers to watch and review online Weekend programs, so there are opportunities to volunteer from home as well. 

COVID-19

Open House New York Weekend is designed to engage broad public audiences while also protecting the health and safety of volunteers, on-site staff, and participants. OHNY and our Partners are committed to following the public health guidelines issued by State and City officials that are in force at the time of the Weekend concerning COVID-19 or other illnesses. Some Partners may have health and safety rules that they ask participants and Volunteers to follow in addition to those State or City guidelines. 

If you are assigned to a location with additional health and safety rules, or if new State or City guidelines covering relevant activities are issued, you may be required to wear a mask for the duration of your shift and/or to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Partner staff may also ask for your assistance with checking vaccination status or asking participants to wear masks, if these are required. If you are not able to meet these requirements or do not wish to perform these duties, please inform the Volunteer Manager as soon as possible so that you can receive an assignment that takes this into account. 

Open Access Places

Open Access takes place in-person and offers free access to a location during set hours on a drop-in basis. Partners offering Open Access will have staff available to provide guests with knowledge about the location and organization that operates it. Some Open Access places may include first-come, first-served tours or have one-in, one-out capacity restrictions. 

Ticketed Places

Places with capacity limits or security concerns offer in-person guided tours during the Weekend only to participants who have secured tickets. This year, OHNY introduced a lottery system to distribute tickets since they often are a hot-commodity and demand far exceeds supply.  

To gain entry for places requiring tickets, participants MUST be on the RSVP list. Partners and Volunteers will receive a list of people who have confirmed their tickets. In the event of no-shows or if the Partner allows additional participants, Volunteers may allow entry for those not on the RSVP list. 

Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided experiences have virtual materials – such as a map, written directions, audio guide, podcast, or geo-located audio cues – available during the Weekend on OHNY’s website. Participants can download or print these materials in advance or use their phone to explore the location or neighborhood on their own. 

Virtual Programs

OHNY Weekend 2022 includes a component of virtual tours, talks, and films available through OHNY’s website. Some take place live at a certain time, and others can be viewed on demand throughout the Weekend. The on-demand content will go live at midnight on Saturday, October 22, so you can start watching immediately if you like! 

4. What will you do as a Weekend Volunteer?

Pre-Weekend Volunteer

Pre-weekend work helps to create volunteer folders, compile packets of material to mail to partners, distribute t-shirts, assist at orientation, date entry and lend any organizational skill from office to event preparation.  

Weekend Volunteer Assignments

OHNY Weekend Volunteers are typically assigned to a 4-hour shift at one location or with a tour. Because Partners may be open for blocks of time that do not fit neatly into 4-hour time slots, some shifts may be longer or shorter. The Volunteer Manager matches Volunteers with assignments according to day and time availability, borough preference, accessibility, and other factors. 

In most cases, Volunteers will receive the information about their assigned shift and location at the Volunteer orientation, along with their Volunteer t-shirt and Passport Pin. Due to rapidly changing circumstances, some Volunteers may not yet have been assigned at the time of the orientation. Please know that we will work to give these Volunteers an assignment as soon as possible. 

Weekend On-Call Volunteers

Some Volunteers will receive an On-Call assignment. This year, most On-Call Volunteers will be assigned to a District Coordinator and may be asked to step in to cover an assignment in that District during the timeframe listed on their assignment sheet. On-Call Volunteers should go to a place in or near their District – perhaps at a coffee shop, library, or Weekend location – and be ready to assist if and when they are called upon by their DC to do so.  

On-Call Volunteers are crucial to the Weekend’s success and we ask for your flexibility and willingness to stay in close contact with your DC and act quickly to reach a location if given an assignment. 

Weekend Volunteer Tasks

As a Weekend Volunteer, your primary tasks are to greet and sign-in the public and provide basic information about the Partner and place. When you arrive at your assigned location, introduce yourself to the on-site Partner contact and the Volunteers working with you, and discuss where you should position yourselves and what duties you should be responsible for. If feasible, rotate duties between Volunteers so that everyone can take full advantage of the assignment (e.g., accompany a tour). 

Brooklyn Grange, Credit: Yi-Ching Lin
OHNY 2017: Brooklyn Glass
You may be asked to do some or all of the following activities during your shift:
  • Have Fun and be friendly.  We all have OHNY as a common denominator, and that’s something to celebrate. 
  • Greeting and welcoming participants 
  • Check-in with QR CODE.  
  • Encourage participants to sign up for OHNY’s email newsletter  
  • Encourage donations to OHNY—the Weekend is FREE to everyone and our work is only possible thanks to support, big and small. Every single dollar helps!  
  • Wayfinding and providing basic information to participants about special rules (such as whether photography or pets are permitted), the location of restrooms, tour meeting point, nearby public transit, and answering other common questions 
  • Manage a line of participants waiting to enter the location at busy or capacity-restricted experiences 
  • As directed by the Partner, keep participants out of restricted locations and point them in the direction of accessible areas 
  • Check COVID vaccination status, if required by public health guidelines and/or the Partner organization or location 
  • Remind participants to comply with mask rules, if required by public health guidelines and/or the Partner organization or location 
  • There may be a sign up sheet from the partner organization, but you as an OHNY volunteer do not need to ensure that participants sign up to that. 

Volunteer tasks at Ticketed locations

Brooklyn Army Terminal, Credit: David Hogarty
Volunteer duties at Ticketed locations may include: 
  • Collect the updated RSVP list from Partner 
  • Checking in participants with tickets. All participants must also check-in using QR CODE. 
  • Accompany a tour, bringing up the back of the group to make sure everyone stays together 
  • Staying behind at the spot where the tour begins to meet and direct any latecomers 
  • Check COVID vaccination status, if required by public health guidelines and/or the Partner organization or location 
  • Remind participants to comply with mask rules, if required by public health guidelines and/or the Partner organization or location 
  • As directed by the Partner, keep participants out of restricted locations and point them in the direction of accessible areas 

Virtual Volunteers

Virtual Volunteers will watch and review online Weekend programs, make note of attendance and view counts, and potentially may help troubleshoot technology issues (though specialized knowledge is not necessary to be a Virtual Volunteer). The role of volunteering for a virtual event depends on the format of the program (Zoom, Youtube, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, etc.) 

Volunteer Captains

Volunteer Captains are experienced Volunteers assigned to one place that anticipates having many participants and long lines or to a location that has many different Experiences taking place (for example, the Brooklyn Navy Yard). Volunteer Captains work directly with the Partner’s staff and the District Coordinator to help coordinate all the Volunteers assigned to that Experience and ensure that resources are deployed where needed.  

Volunteer Street Team

Volunteer Street Team participants will be given physical materials like posters, stickers, and postcards to post and distribute during the first two weeks of October! They may choose to do this in their own neighborhood or another area of the city – we especially want to reach out to people who may not have heard of OHNY Weekend and inform them about the Experiences taking place in their own neighborhoods. 

Year-Round Volunteers

Throughout the year, OHNY hosts tours, talks, open studios, and social gatherings to introduce new developments and notable scholarship and promote a greater understanding of and discussion about the urban systems that underpin the city’s operation. We often seek volunteer assistance with greeting, participant check-in, and tour group management at these events. 

OHNY periodically seeks volunteer assistance with photography, social media, website updates, and data entry, especially as OHNY Weekend approaches.  

5. What to do BEFORE your shift

Check your email for updates

There may be changes in your assignment during the lead-up to the Weekend, so it’s a good idea to check your email frequently in the week before as well as immediately before you head out for your shift. 

If you need to make any changes, please contact the Volunteer Manager as soon as possible at volunteer@ohny.org

Learn the OHNY Mission

Open House New York promotes broad, unparalleled access to the city—to the places, people, projects, systems, and ideas that define New York and its future. Through our year-round programming, including the annual OHNY Weekend festival, OHNY offers a citywide platform for education, exploration, and engagement about the connections between quality of place and quality of life for all New Yorkers.  

As OHNY turns 20, we are introducing new programs that unlock the places and stories behind the New York experience and expanding our ongoing investigation of the city’s infrastructure and systems, both natural and constructed, to address aspects of equity, race, ethnicity, and the climate crisis. The aim of our work is to ensure every New Yorker can enjoy full access to the greatest city in the world. 

Participants will ask you about what OHNY is and does. Read over the About page on OHNY’s website for information on OHNY’s expanded mission and the organization’s history, and take a look at our Programs page our year-round programs.  

Research Your Assignment

You will not be asked to give tours or be an expert on your assigned location or Partner organization, but you should know the basics. A small amount of internet research beforehand can go a long way towards answering participants’ common questions. Read the Experience description on OHNY.org and visit the Partner’s website so you are familiar with what they do and the most prominent features that participants will see. 

Most importantly, review the map on the OHNY Weekend website and find three nearby Open Access Experiences to direct participants to when you are asked what else can be seen in the neighborhood.  

Plan Your Route

Please take the time to plan a route to your assignment, especially if you are assigned to an unfamiliar location. You should aim to arrive 15-30 minutes before the scheduled start time on your assignment sheet. MTA’s Trip Planner and the CityMapper app are some good options for route planning. 

The MTA frequently implements service changes on weekends. Check for service changes in advance on the MTA’s alert site and live map before you head out.  

Familiarize yourself with the QR code process

QR codes are simple to use with a smartphone. They work by using your smartphone’s camera to scan a machine-readable code that directs the phone’s internet browser to a specific web address. If you are not familiar with using QR codes, practice ahead of time using your own phone.

Bring Necessary Supplies

Your OHNY uniform consists of your OHNY Weekend t-shirt and pin, which need to be visible so participants, Partners, and fellow Volunteers can identify you. Wear comfortable shoes, as you might be standing or walking for significant portions of your shift, and dress for the weather – all Weekend experiences take place rain or shine! 

You should bring your Volunteer folder with your assignment sheet and QR code, water, snacks, a mask, and a phone charger with you to your shift. 

6. What to do DURING your shift

Arrive 15-30 minutes in advance

Please aim to arrive at your assignment 15-30 minutes before the start time listed on your assignment sheet. This will give you time to meet Partner staff and your fellow Volunteers and acquaint yourself with the location. If you are running late, please text your DC to let them know! Remember that public transportation has weekend changes, so plan accordingly. 

Sign yourself in for your shift

When you arrive at your assignment, Sign-in with the QR CODE on your assignment sheet. Your DC will be monitoring the sign-in board for no-shows, so please remember to do this! 

c. Introduce yourself to Partner staff and fellow Volunteers

When you arrive, introduce yourself to the Partner’s on-site staff and collect their laminated Welcome Sheet with location-specific QR code to use for head counts. Talk with them about logistics, like where participants should gather in advance of a tour or places they cannot access, and frequently asked questions, like where the restroom is located. Confirm whether masks are mandatory or show proof of vaccination, and who will be responsible for checking proof of vaccination if required. 

Coordinate with the Volunteers assigned with you to divide up responsibilities. Make sure someone is always keeping track of CHECK-IN. Remember that OHNY Volunteers are sometimes the only visual indicator of a meeting location, so please position yourself where you can be seen by participants and have your OHNY shirt visible.  

d. Welcome and greet the public

[Insert sample script for what Volunteers should say to Weekend participants]

e. Let participants know basic information and any special rules 

Please relay any essential information about the Experience to participants, such as: 
  • Where are the entrances and exits? 
  • Are restrooms available to participants? If so, where are they located? 
  • Is photography permitted? 
  • Where should participants wait for the tour? 
  • How long is the tour? 
  • What are the main features to see? 
  • Where is the closest subway or bus stop? 
  • What else can be seen nearby? 

f. Ensure every participant checks in via QR CODE

At least one and possibly more than one Volunteer should be responsible for asking participants to complete the check-in form at all times. Every participant of OHNY Weekend should complete this form, though one participant can complete the form for a group attending together. Each place will have a unique QR code, so make sure you are using the one associated with your location. 

Participants need a phone with camera and web access to check-in. If they do not have access to one, we are asking Volunteers to use their own phone to check them in. (You simply enter their information, rather than giving them your phone). 

QR codes are VERY simple. Instruct participants to hold their camera over this image for the check-in link to appear, then tap the link for the check-in form.  

Some people may be coming to the location in the ordinary course of their business; for example, to worship, to shop at the greenmarket, or to go to work. These persons do not have to scan the QR code. Welcome them to the location and ask if they would like to know what OHNY is doing.  Remember, you are the face of OHNY. 

NOTE: You must also check-in guests with Tickets 

For Places that require Tickets, all participants must be on the RSVP list to gain entry. Partners and Volunteers will receive the RSVP list (note: in addition to lottery winners, there are also some donors who received free tickets). Volunteers should check that each participant is on the list.  

Participants on the RSVP list must also check-in using the QR CODE. This is so that we can keep track of no-shows and better allocate tickets going forward. 

[TK] What to do if someone says they have a winning lottery ticket but they’re not on the RSVP list 

g. Encourage Donations

[TK Image of donation QR sheet]

h. Line Management

Popular Weekend locations may have long lines to enter, and some places may offer first-come first serve tours. Confirm with Partner staff how many people are allowed inside at any one time. If a line forms: 

  • Participants with a 2022 OHNY Weekend Passport pin and one guest gets front-of-the-line access at Open Access locations. If multiple pin holders arrive, they should be directed to form a second line and Volunteers should alternate between the pin holder line and the general public line when allowing participants to enter. 
  • Try to keep the line moving as quickly as possible while keeping things orderly, and take time to respond to participants’ questions about their wait. Be prepared to answer: 
  • How long is the current wait until entry? 
  • How long do people spend inside (or how long is the tour)? 
  • What is inside and is it worth waiting in line? 
  • What time will they close? 
  • Will it be open the following day? 
  • What else can be seen nearby without a long line? 
  • Be mindful of where the line is forming and that building entrances, sidewalks, and driveways are not blocked. 
  • As closing time approaches, coordinate with the Partner to determine when it is appropriate to close the line. One Volunteer should station themselves at the end of the line to inform participants that no further entries will be permitted. If possible, tell participants the open hours on the following day or direct them to other Weekend locations nearby.  

If you need assistance or more Volunteers to manage the line, alert your DC as soon as possible! They can assign an On-Call Volunteer to help with the crowd. 

i. Passport Buttons

OHNY Weekend Passport Buttons allows participants and one guest to jump to the front of the line at any Open Access place. If multiple button holders arrive, they should be directed to form a second line and Volunteers should alternate between the button holder line and the general public line when allowing participants to enter. 

j. Know the procedure for media requests 

If someone introduces themselves as a member of the media, welcome them warmly, but do not give any quotes or interviews. If the media wishes to obtain a quote from OHNY, please have them contact OHNY staff at ohnywknd@ohny.org.

k. Ask departing participants to complete an OHNY exit survey [MAYBE]

To improve the Weekend for participants, Partners, and Volunteers, OHNY will conduct a survey to obtain feedback about their experiences. This survey can be accessed by scanning a QR code. Please encourage departing participants to scan this code and complete the survey. If they do not have time, ask them to scan the code and open the survey in their phone browser to complete at a later time.  

l. Use social media

If you have time during your shift, take pictures! Include your fellow Volunteers and participants if possible, but please ask their permission before taking pictures where faces are visible. Share your volunteering experience on social media using the hashtag #OHNYWKND, or send the photos to us at ohnywknd@ohny.org if you’d like to give us permission to post great shots. 

Don’t forget to tag the Partner’s and OHNY’s social media accounts and use the hashtag #OHNYwknd: 

Instagram: @openhousenewyork

Facebook: facebook.com/openhousenewyork

Twitter: @ohny

m. In case of emergency

If a Volunteer or participant becomes ill, escort them to a safe place and tell Partner staff what happened. Contact your DC to let them know about the incident and ask them to assign an On-Call Volunteer to take over, if necessary. 

In the event of severe injury, call 911 first, then contact your DC.

7. What to do AFTER your shift

a. Pass the torch to your fellow volunteers

Be sure to pass on any key information about the Experience to the Volunteers arriving for the next shift, and tell them how things have proceeded during your shift to let them know what to expect. Let the Partner staff and your fellow Volunteers know that you are leaving. If Volunteers for the following shift have not arrived by the time your shift is scheduled to end, tell your DC immediately. 

b. Thank the Partner and leave the space tidy

OHNY Weekend is only made possible because of the generosity of our Partners, who open their spaces to the public and provide knowledgeable staff, often at times they are not normally open for business. Without our Partners, OHNY Weekend would not exist. We want on-site staff to enjoy the Weekend as much as Volunteers and participants do; please do what you can to make the Weekend a pleasant experience for them. Assist the on-site staff in tidying up at the end of your shift, especially if it is the end of the day. Make sure you take everything you brought with you when you leave.

c. Sign out from your shift

When you depart your assignment, scan the Volunteer QR code on your assignment sheet again and select “departing.” Your DC will be monitoring the sign-in board to see that you completed your shift, so please remember to do this! The form will also ask you to pass on information about your experience that you think your DC and OHNY staff should know for the future. 

d. Enjoy OHNY Weekend!

Make the most of your Volunteer pin to visit Open Access Experiences before and after your shift, if your schedule allows. While you are out enjoying the Weekend, be respectful and friendly to the other Volunteers you encounter. Please share your Weekend experiences with us! Post on social media using the hashtag #OHNYWKND, or send us photos you’ve taken or stories about what you saw or who you talked to during the Weekend. 

8. Frequently Asked Questions

a. What if I will be late or cannot volunteer for my shift?

It is critical that every Volunteer fulfill their shift. If an emergency prevents you from arriving at your assignment, please contact your DC as soon as possible so that an On-Call Volunteer can be assigned. If you must cancel in advance of the Weekend, contact the Volunteer Manager at volunteer@ohny.org

b. What if I encounter a challenging participant? 

While the majority of participants are enthusiastic and happy to enjoy OHNY Weekend, there is a chance you will come across a challenging or upset participant. Remember not to take anything personally and to return discourtesy with courtesy. If a participant is especially disruptive, please contact your DC and/or Partner staff. OHNY Volunteers should not be tasked as security guards. 

c. What if a participant refuses to follow the required COVID protocols?

If masks or proof of vaccination are required to enter and a participant refuses to follow these instructions, tell Partner staff and follow their directions. 

d. What if a significant problem occurs during my shift? 

Please notify your DC if a problem arises that you do not feel equipped to handle. Your DCs are your first point of contact during the Weekend and they are there to help! 

Your DC’s contact information is on your Volunteer assignment sheet and they will send you an introductory email as well. Keep their cell phone number handy so you can easily text them to alert them to any problems. 

e. What if my assignment gets cancelled? 

If you arrive at your assignment and no one is on-site, or Partner staff tell you the place was canceled or they are not partaking in the Weekend, call your DC right away. You may be asked to remain stationed at the location to direct participants to nearby Weekend locations. Your DC may also reassign you to another place in need of additional support for the duration of your shift. 

f. What if it rains?

OHNY Weekend takes place rain or shine! If it does rain, remember to dress accordingly and bring an umbrella, especially if your location is outdoors. 

However, Partners may decide that they wish to cancel in the event of inclement weather. Be sure to check your email before heading out in case this happens.  

9. Volunteer Code of Conduct

OHNY Volunteer Anti-Discrimination Policy

Open House New York is committed to the values that define an open city—diversity, access, and equity for all. OHNY adheres to policies and practices to maintain an environment free of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other unlawful criterion or circumstance. OHNY prohibits and will not tolerate any such discrimination or harassment. 

As representatives and ambassadors of Open House New York and OHNY Weekend, Volunteers are expected to reflect and uphold OHNY’s values and treat fellow volunteers, the public, and Partner and OHNY staff with respect, dignity, and kindness at all times.  

Discrimination or harassment toward anyone will not be tolerated. Open House New York reserves the right to dismiss any Volunteer that violates these values, principles, and/or the Volunteer Code of Conduct. Volunteers found in violation of these values may be prohibited from participating in future OHNY programs and activities. 

If you witness an act of discrimination or harassment while volunteering for OHNY, please contact your District Coordinator and email executive director Pamela Puchalski (pamela@ohny.org) immediately.  

Volunteer Code of Conduct

As part of registering to volunteer for OHNY Weekend, Volunteers must read and agree to abide by the Volunteer Code of Conduct, setting out basic requirements and prohibitions for all Volunteers. The Code of Conduct reads:  

Open House New York Weekend is a citywide festival celebrating the dynamism and diversity of New York City and the people who call our city home. 

As such, we ask that OHNY volunteers make every effort to be pleasant, courteous, and helpful in all of their interactions with OHNY Weekend participants.  
 
Volunteers are expected to: 

  • Have fun! Welcome everybody with a smile and a cheerful disposition.   
  • Arrive 15-30 minutes before their assigned shifts and remain on site for the duration of their shift. 
  • Attend one orientation session, which is about 90 minutes long and held prior to OHNY Weekend. 
  • Fulfill at least one shift during OHNY Weekend, which is typically four hours in length, but may vary. 
  • Wear your OHNY shirt in full display for easy wayfinding by participants. 
  • HAVE FUN, yes it’s on it again because that is what makes OHNY weekend a great event.  

 
During OHNY Weekend, volunteers are representatives of Open House New York. The following activities are prohibited during a volunteer’s shift

  • Physical or verbal harassment of or discourtesy towards any participants, staff members, or fellow volunteers. 
  • Possession or use of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs at any OHNY experience, or arriving for a shift under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 
  • Carrying dangerous or unauthorized materials such as explosives, firearms, weapons, or other similar items. 
  • Conduct endangering the life, safety, health, or well-being of others.