How to recognize a Black Rock City Census volunteer


Census Volunteers after sampling traffic in 2013

Hint: It’s the lab coat


As we get ready for the playa, our sampling pencils ready, our data entry fingers limber and our lab hosting notes perfected, we must remember one of the most important components of being a Census Lab volunteer…


Census Volunteer Ruby Laser Jules at the Tuesday dawn sampler shift in 2012



Traditional white lab coats are our uniform! White lab coats are how everyone on the Playa knows we are traffickers in important data; scientists busy at work in the laboratory of the demographic; Burners on a mission to learn the who, what and why of BRC residents.


Census Volunteer Annelise sampling in 2013



Indiana sporting the traditional Census Sampler fashions in 2013

In the spirit of radical self expression, this is also an opportunity for Census Lab volunteers to augment their own white lab coat with some personality. Each coat gets the always classic, BRC Census iron-on patch. But for the truly creative, our guidelines are simply that it must be, at its core, a white lab coat. Hot pink and black are acceptable colors for accents. No other hue is allowed.


Anna accessorizing with eyewear and a fetching cap in 2013








Look out for us in the entry lanes at this years event.  Or swing by the Census Lab to see data from prior years.


Scribble after a dusty sampling shift in 2012

Scribble after a dusty sampling shift in 2012

Or volunteer by filling out a Burning Man Volunteer Questionnaire and check the box for “Census.” We still have a few slots left for Random Sampler’s, Fun Interactors, Data Entry Wizards and Lab Hosts. If you like data, if you like helping out Burning Man, if you like interacting with arriving participants, if you like freaky-geeking your style, come join us on the Playa!


Core Crew shows off 2013 fashions

Core Crew shows off 2013 fashions


2 responses

  1. This is so awesome! The questionnaire design was so well thought-out, the answers were all-inclusive across the board and I LOVE the reference to being a “data scientist” by wearing the lab coats. I’m currently working on my Masters of Science in Market Research and would LOVE the opportunity to participate in some of the data analytics. )'(

  2. This is great insight. You don’t usually get the numbers involved in each burn outside of general attendance. Burning Man represents so many different things for each person that attends. For me… Where do I begin? It’s with that question that I began curating a selection of essays from fellow burner enthusiasts to better understand this pivotal event. My book, Playa Dust, does just that. Published through no easy feat, it is here and ready to be devoured. Purchase your copy at – and support more literature on Burning Man!

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