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Volunteer Policy


To establish uniform procedures for screening and engaging volunteers, ensure that volunteers’ relationships with the university are clearly established and understood by both parties, and to reduce the risk and protect the interests of the university, its volunteers, and the community it serves. 

Volunteer Application Packet

Definition of a University Volunteer

Volunteers are individuals who perform services directly related to the activities of the University for their own benefit, to support the humanitarian, educational, charitable or public service activities of the University, or to gain experience in specific endeavors. Volunteers perform services without promise, expectation or receipt of any compensation, future employment or any other tangible benefit. To ensure that an individual performing volunteer services is not an employee for purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act, all of the following criteria must be satisfied in order for an individual to be approved as a volunteer:

1. The services are intended to be voluntary and to be rendered without compensation.

2. The services must constitute a bona fide effort of the individual to volunteer for a humanitarian or public service purpose or for the benefit of his/her professional experience.

3. The fact that the individual is an employee elsewhere in the University does not mean he/she cannot volunteer in a capacity that differs from his/her employment. However, where an employment relationship does exist, that relationship may not be waived; so, for example, an employee cannot volunteer to do activities that are the same or similar to ones he/she performs in his/her job.

4. Individuals volunteer their time for their own personal motives, without promise or expectation of compensation, at hours that suit their own convenience.

5. Volunteers must not be utilized in ways that displace or replace regular employees in the performance of their normal duties.

Who May Volunteer

Anyone, including retirees, students, alumni, or others, may provide volunteer services to the University, with the following restrictions:

  • A non-student under the age of eighteen may only become a University volunteer for services for which a Volunteer Agreement is not necessary (see “Services Not Requiring a Volunteer Agreement” section of this document).
  • An employee may not become a University volunteer at the University in any capacity in which he or she is currently employed, or which is essentially similar to the individual’s regular work at the University. Note: Services that are not directly related to University business, such as those performed by employees for employee organizations, are generally not covered by this policy.

Activities That Do Require A Volunteer Agreement

Any department engaging a University volunteer must maintain a completed and signed copy of the Volunteer Agreement along with any associated documents.

A volunteer is generally required to complete a Volunteer Agreement to perform the following activities: Laboratory activities not specifically prohibited by Section E below; Professional services, such as those being performed by accountants, architects, doctors, engineers, etc. whether or not the work is deemed a donation; Activities in any environment that would require orientation or training; Activities with patients and/or subjects of experiments; Activities with minors.

Services Not Requiring a Volunteer Agreement

The University does not require a completed volunteer agreement for the following activities: Volunteer fundraising activities, advisory council participation, commencement volunteers, gallery/program guides, museum docent, public speakers, reunion chairs, participation in all volunteer committees.

Prohibited Activities

University volunteers may not replace employee positions or impair the employment of a University position. Volunteers’ services are generally limited to humanitarian, charitable or public services. University volunteers are also prohibited from performing the following activities: Operating heavy equipment or motor vehicles; Working with any BSL III and BSL IV protocols; Working with or having access to any export-controlled materials; Working with stored energy (physical energy stored in air, gas, steam, water pressure, or in springs, elevated machines, rotating flywheels, fans, hydraulic systems, etc.); Any activity which would be considered inappropriate for an employee; Entering in to any contract on behalf of the University; Working with bio-hazardous or infectious materials; Working with animals or in laboratories where animals are present.