Bringing the 2014 International Horticultural Congress (IHC) to Brisbane is a huge task for organisers and Griffith University has a large part in planning the event.

Griffith Sciences Professor Rod Drew is one of the co-presidents of the IHC and believes this Congress showcases the importance of horticulture to the world.

“The Congress is the major event of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), and is only held every four years,” Prof. Drew said.

“It is such a great opportunity to showcase horticulture and to actually let people know just how important horticulture really is to our lives.

“I am sure it is going to have an impact this year.”

The IHC will bring more than 3000 international scientists, researchers and academics from all areas of horticultural science to Brisbane over the course of a week. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the IHC and is only the second time the Congress has been held in the southern hemisphere.

Integral to the IHC organisational team is Dr Robin Roberts, a project leader and experienced researcher from Griffith Business School, who is keen for student input.

Wonderful opportunity

“The congress offers students a wonderful opportunity to get involved as volunteers and to rub shoulders with the world’s best in horticulture,” Dr Roberts explains.

More than 140 volunteers will be required for the week-long congress, which runs from August 17-22, and is not limited only to students, with anyone keenly interested in horticulture encouraged to apply.

“It’s an event that students of international business, marketing and tourism should find immensely interesting. But that is not intended to discourage students from other areas,” Dr Roberts said.

“We are particularly keen to involve language students as we will need one volunteer team to cover 12 different languages.

“Our ‘Cultural Attaché’ team will provide interpreting services for delegates, assisting with translations and holistic support services for a diverse range of activities including tours, shopping and sightseeing.”

This value-add service aims to enhance our delegates’ overall experience of the Congress and in the city of Brisbane.

There will also be opportunities for volunteers in other teams to help prior and during the Congress.

First a ‘Meet and Greet’ team is needed to ensure delegates feel welcome from the moment they arrive at Brisbane International and domestic airports.

Also an ‘Ask Me’ team is needed to inform and advise on issues relating to the congress and additional support including how to use a Go Card, first aid support and suggesting places of interest to visit.

Volunteer orientation and training workshops will be run at Griffith University in July and August.

“Volunteering is a major component of international events,” Dr Roberts said.

“The essence of volunteering is hard to capture, hard to explain, but it is something innate to Australians.

“In a way it makes us what we are, and I’m sure this will be demonstrated during the International Horticultural Congress in August.”

Student involvement

Amy Mitchell-Whittington is a young Griffith University journalism student working with the IHC volunteer program and knows first-hand the great opportunities available to volunteers at the Congress.

“This is a great chance to take part and engage in a major event that showcases skills and research of horticulture experts from around the world,” Ms Mitchell-Whittington said.

“I am fortunate enough to have the chance to be able to develop my skills in such an exciting and dynamic environment.”

To apply to be a volunteer, applicants should log onto

For volunteer information contact Robin Roberts on 0414 655 257.