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Cornell University

Volunteer Resources for Students and Non-Profits

For Students

  • These opportunities are organized by non-profit organizations in Ithaca and the surrounding Tompkins County community.
  • They are not organized by the Cornell Public Service Center. The Cornell Public Service Center and Cornell University does not in any way exercise any control or authority with respect to these events and do not assume liability resulting from your participation in the event.
  • Your decision to volunteer off-campus is voluntary.
  • If you are interested in an opportunity, you should contact the individual listed.
  • Any questions or concerns about a volunteer opportunity should be directed to the individual/organization directly.
  • Please note that this list is a summary of both virtual and in-person needs.
  • Remember to register your off-campus volunteer event for contact tracing purposes.
 

We are currently living in an unprecedented time with COVID-19. Everyone MUST follow all the protocol and procedure to ensure safety for everyone. If you or organization choose to volunteer in-person, please consider the following:

  • What is the agency's health and safety plan?
  • What is the agency's health and safety protocol for their staff members?
  • Will the agency provide the necessary protective equipment?
  • Will the agency's staff members be present throughout the event?
  • How many volunteers can participate while still maintaining physical distancing of 6-feet apart?
  • Do you and members of your organization feel safe volunteering?

Prior to Volunteering

As a Cornell University student or independent student organization, you and/or your organization are a representative of the University. Your actions, behavior, and attitude contribute to the University-Community relationship. It is important to understand and acknowledge that your involvement in the community is not just for yourself, but also represents the larger student body and Cornell as a whole, even when the activity is not sponsored by the University.

  1. Be flexible. Off-campus agencies and community-based organizations may need to make changes and adapt to situations as needed; therefore, it is important to have an open mind, be flexible, and be able to adapt to those changes in order to better contribute positively to the organizations' effort.
  2. Be there and be on time. Once you have committed to a particular time, it is expected that you will be there and be on time.
  3. Communicate. If something comes up that prevents you from meeting the agreed upon time, be sure to communicate directly with the agency as early as possible so an alternative plan can be made.
  4. Engage respectfully. The opportunity to volunteer provides a chance to meet people who have life experiences, perspectives, and views that are different from yours. It is important to be open-minded, and to interact respectfully.
  5. Learn. The experience and expertise of nonprofit staff and community members is vast; everyone has something to teach each other. 

Additional Planning Tips & Guidelines

While Planning Event:

  • Consider whether the project is suitable for the current season & weather patterns.
  • Determine whether specific clothing or equipment is required (closed-toe shoes, etc.)
  • Confirm date/time/location.
  • Register your off-campus volunteer event.
  • Develop a transportation and parking plan.

Days Prior:

  • Re-connect with the organization and finalize all last-minute details.
  • Email all volunteers with volunteer assignments, directions, instructions (what to wear/bring).

Day of Event:

  • Have non-profit welcome volunteers and explain their responsibilities for the day and how the project supports their mission.
  • Take attendance (first and last name, net ID).

Working with Minors

If you or your organization are working with minors, you need to review Cornell's Working with Minors' Policy, and consult the Office of Risk Management.

Non-Profit Community Organization Requesting Volunteers

  • Perform any necessary or required background checks or screening as required.
  • Give appropriate supervision and support for volunteers.
  • Provide and maintain a safe work environment for student volunteers.