​​What is the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center?

The Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center is a part of the Enrollment and Student Services Division and has been helping students become connected with volunteering opportunities since 1992. Our office is conveniently located in CMU's Bovee University Center Room 106. We provide co-curricular service opportunities to all students throughout the course of the year.  These opportunities range from one of the nations top Alternative Breaks programs, state recognized Lunch Buddies program, federally funded America Counts and Reads program, advocacy-based programs such as the David Garcia Project and Safer Sex Patrol, monthly Volunteer Center Events, our weekly Service Ambassadors program, and much more. 

In addition, the Volunteer Center provides students the opportunity to become immersed in the community through connections with dozens of community partners in the mid-michigan area. All of these opportunities are listed on OrgSync, which is a database where all on-campus and off-campus volunteer opportunities are listed. Our community partners include dozens of non-profit organizations, campus offices, and registered student organizations (RSO's).

To learn more about the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center's please visit our About section.

How can my student volunteer?

To have your student begin volunteering, direct them to the student section of this website, which has a step by step guide on how they can become involved in service during their time at CMU. One of the best places to start is by looking at the programs coordinated by our office. These include opportunities that address a variety of interests, are tailored for student schedules, and are built with curriculums designed to create experiences which complement learning occurring in the classroom. We also partner with dozens of community partners which students can explore on there own on OrgSync.

Admittedly, the large amount of possibilities and opportunities can sometimes be overwhelming or difficult to navigate. In that case, we suggest stopping by, calling, or emailing our office which is located in the Bovee University Center Room 106. Our staff is trained on navigating OrgSync as well as the intricacies of our programs and community partners. No appointment is necessary and we are open year round from 9am-5pm. It will help if students come prepared with a general idea about what they might be interested doing or what they are able to fit into their schedule. 

What is OrgSync?

OrgSync is the main communication tool that all 300+ registered student organizations, fraternities and sororities, university offices, and the Volunteer Center utilize to connect with students. We post all of our volunteer events and opportunities on the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center OrgSync page. 

How will volunteering help my student succeed while at Central Michigan University?

Engaging in service is a critical way for students to gain experience and skills that contribute to personal growth and career attainment. Employers working with CMU have cited volunteerism as something looked for on resumes and are more likely to hire students with diverse co-curricular experiences. These experiences give students experiences to talk about during interviews, demonstrating how they have applied the material learned in the class room. For more information about career preparation at CMU, please visit our friends in Career Services.

Volunteering is also a great way for students to become familiar with the Mt. Pleasant community and many students are able to meet new friends and discover new passions. All of our office programs are group based and help students create lasting campus connections. 

Does my student have to sign a release form​ to volunteer? 

Before volunteering, it is required that all students read and sign a release of liability form. As such, volunteers must be over 18 or have a parent/guardian signature on a paper version of the form (stop by UC 106). This is a mandatory step when students first log onto OrgSync. It is important that students, faculty, and staff are aware that while volunteering provides critical learning and transformative experiences, it is not completely free from risk. The nature of working with partners outside of CMU means we are unable to account for everything a student might encounter. However, the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center staff devotes much of its time to working with our partners to develop safe environments. Additionally, we train students, in our programs, on how to navigate these environments and make the best choices, regardless of scenario. 

What if my student is not a registered CMU Student?

If your student wishes to volunteer, contact your local community organizations (Rotary, Optimist Club, Kiwanis, United Way) and ask them to help you find a volunteer event that suit your student's talents, needs, and availability. You can also visit our "Global Campus Students" page in order to access several websites that focus on connecting active citizens to non-profits in their local community.

They can also search our OrgSync page for volunteer opportunities occurring in the Mid-Michigan area (although some features may be disabled without signing in). Although campus based programs are limited to registered students, many of the non-profit postings are open to community members as well. If you have any questions, please contact us at 989-774-7685 or email us at volunteer.center@cmich.edu.

My student will not have a car on campus, will that hinder them from being able to volunteer?

Simple answer- No!

We understand that many students do not have access to a car while living on campus and that they may feel limited to the kind of service they can do in the community. However, CMU has a variety of service experiences that either can be found on campus, has transportation provided, or are within a short walking distance. Many participants also are able to car pool, particularly for our weekly mentoring programs. If transportation does become a problem for accessing a specific type of service, please have your student contact us.


The David Garcia Project

OrgSync Community Partners (not all on-campus)

Safer Sex Patrol

Volunteer Center Events

Transportation Provided

Alternative Breaks

Service Ambassadors

Walking Distance

America Counts and Reads

Lunch Buddies