Here are some Frequently Asked Questions we get from students. Please check here for answers if you have any questions. If they are not answered, feel free to contact our front desk at 726-6630, or check out our staff directory if there is a specific person with whom you'd like to speak.
- Why am I required to volunteer as part of a class?
- The service-learning or community-based learning component of your class gives you the opportunity to learn by doing. Think of the community you're working with as a "living text" for the class. Like your textbooks, lectures, and discussions, the community is a source of information about the concepts and issues covered in class. Though the time you spend volunteering is part of your homework for this course, service-learning is more than homework. It's a way to get hands-on experience through your academic studies.
- When do I have to register?
- Please complete the first part of the registration process as soon as possible after having an OCE representative meet with your class. Please fill out the second part of the registration as soon as you have set up a time to begin volunteering with a site.
- Why are there two registrations?
- Each of the registrations provides our office with necessary details to ensure that your service experience is as safe and productive as possible. The first portion helps us keep track of who at UMD is volunteering in the community and also ensures that you, the volunteer, have read through and agreed to follow the Code of Conduct and Dress Code policies set by the OCE and UMD. The second portion is completed so that we have a record of where each student is volunteering in the community.
- Where do I find information about sites at which I can volunteer?
- Site information can be found in one of two ways. First, and easiest, is to check out our site link on our webpage here. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with one of our Community Coordinators to help you find a placement. Appointments can be made by our front desk staff.
- My instructor has a list of “approved” sites - do I have to choose one from that list even if I get the OCE’s permission to volunteer at another site?
- Your instructor makes the final call on all approved sites for your class. The OCE only acts as a conduit between classes and the community. Please choose only those sites that have been approved by your instructor or ask for approval from them. OCE staff have no say in whether or not a site is approved for a particular class or not.
- What if I'm trying to contact a community organization and they're not responding?
- How are you attempting to contact the site? Most often, changing methods of communication when one has failed works wonders. If you have been sending emails, try calling; if you have been calling, try sending an email. If you do call, leave a detailed message with your name, your interest in volunteering, and how they can reach you. If this fails, please contact the Community Coordinator working with your course.
- Do I have to register more than once if I am volunteering for more than one class?
- Yes you do. We keep track of the students from each class and whether they have filled out the registration for that particular class or not. Also, you should fill out the second registration for EACH site that you volunteer with, even if you are volunteering at multiple sites for the same course.
- How do I keep track of my hours?
- You can keep track of your hours by using this hours log. You can pick one up from our office in Bohannon 209. Please note, the OCE does not track your hours. This is your responsibility.
- What if I'm being asked to do work that wasn't in the position description I signed up for?
- Begin by having a conversation with your supervisor at the organization. Start with a positive approach. You might want to mention that you chose this organization because you feel you can learn a lot from the experience there, and/or you feel you can make a strong contribution to its work because of your skills and interests. Ask your supervisor if you can revisit your position description together. If this doesn’t work and you aren't able to resolve your concerns after talking with your supervisor, contact your class’s Community Coordinator and the OCE. We are here to help and support you!