Volunteer Program Guidelines

University departments/units are responsible for oversight of all volunteers and their activities, regardless of whether those activities occur on-campus or at an off-campus location. This responsibility includes the assessment of any known risks associated with the volunteer activities, as outlined in these Volunteer Program Guidelines and in the related procedures (see Related Policies).

Definition of a volunteer

A volunteer provides time and effort to or on behalf of the university where there is no legal duty to the University to do so, and no express or implied promise of compensation or consideration (except expense reimbursement) for the time and effort provided.

Limitations on who may volunteer

  • A university employee may not volunteer to perform activities that are of the same type as those duties performed as an employee, even if in an entirely different department/unit. 
  • The university does not accept volunteers younger than eighteen years of age without the consent of his/her parent or guardian. Even then, restrictions may apply related to the types of activities and environments for these volunteers.
  • Foreign nationals who do not possess the proper visa or other legal authorization permitting them to work may not volunteer.

Persons not covered by these Program Guidelines

The following individuals are not considered Iowa volunteers as referenced in these guidelines when providing services in the capacities listed below:

  • University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Individuals who volunteer for the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC) should refer to the UIHC Volunteer Handbook for their program guidelines. For more information please visit www.uihc.org/volunteer-services.
  • Unpaid academic appointment. Individuals who have unpaid academic appointments to the university, (such as visiting scientist, collaborator status, etc.) are not considered Iowa volunteers when acting in that capacity. They are eligible to become Iowa volunteers for purposes that are not related to the academic appointment, consistent with the limitations above.
  • Performing services for another entity. An individual is not a university volunteer while participating in activities for any other entity that is not a university department or program (such as non-profit or government agency; contracted third parties; or affiliated organizations such as the Daily Iowan, UI Center for Advancement, etc.).
  • Performing services as a member of a group contracted by the university. Individuals are not Iowa volunteers if they are members of a group or organization which contracts with the university and the contracting group or organization receives payment to provide a service (such as a non-profit service organization that provides a post-game clean-up service for Athletics as a fundraiser).
  • Participant in human subjects research. A person who agrees to serve as an experimental subject in a research project or clinical trial under the terms of the university’s policies related to human subjects in research.
  • Student Volunteers: If academic credit is received by the student for participating in a University event or activity associated with the student’s academic study, the student is deemed to have a personal benefit and is not a volunteer.

Liability protection

Subject to the determination of the Iowa Attorney General in any particular context, Iowa Code Chapter 669 provides for defense and indemnification of University of Iowa employees, volunteers, and agents while they are acting within the scope of their authorized volunteer activities, and while under the direction and supervision of the University.

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