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Frequently Asked Questions about the Volunteer Center

General Questions

How do I start volunteering?

Visit our student guide to start your volunteer journey today. This step-by-step guide will get connect you to dozens of volunteer experiences through our Engage Central database and help you sign up for our weekly newsletter with even more opportunities. As you get started, it will be helpful to have an idea of what type of service activities you are looking to do and how much time you are able to commit. 

I need volunteers. How do I recruit CMU students?

Please visit our community partner page for all the ways we can help.

Can the Volunteer Center give a presentation?

We would love to present to your group/organization/class on ways to volunteer, the importance of community and civic engagement, using reflection in your activities, and more. We are also able to facilitate several different on-site service projects. Please follow this link for more information and to submit a request. 

I’m not a registered CMU student. How can I 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 interests and availability.

You can also search our Engage Central 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

Engage Central

What is Engage Central?

Engage Central 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 Engage Central page. Engage Central also allows students to track volunteer hours and print a record of their involvement.

Create an Engage Central account!

Log into Engage Central with your cmich global ID and password. New users will fill out basic profile information before you can get started. If you have any problems setting up your account, please contact Student Activities and Involvement.

I signed up for an ongoing event and wasn’t given a specific time to show up to volunteer. What should I do?

The majority of our non-office-sponsored service opportunities require you to contact the coordinating organization. Unless you fill out a registration or application form, you most likely are not registered for that service opportunity until you contact the organization. Sign-up details are specified in each post. Alternative Breaks is the one exception where you will simply click RSVP and you will not fill out a form or receive an immediate communication. As long as you are RSVP'd for an Alternative Break Engage Central event, you have a spot.

None of the listed projects interest me but I still want to volunteer, are there more opportunities available?

Call or visit the Volunteer Center and we will help find an opportunity to fit your skills, interests, and schedule. If you have a specific service idea in mind that is not currently offered, we may be able to help you facilitate the creation of a new program or service project. Also, continue to check Engage Central often because new volunteer opportunities are added daily.

Why do I have to sign a release form?

Before volunteering, all students must 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 Engage Central. 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 the scenario. 

How do I log my volunteer hours and why should I do this?

You can find a guide at the bottom of our student section linked here.

I forgot my password/username. What should I do?

Contact the CMU Help Desk at 989.774.3662. They will guide you through the process of resetting your password.