Volunteer FAQ

  1. What is the definition of an ISU Volunteer?

    A volunteer is an individual who performs services in furtherance of the humanitarian, educational, or service mission of the university. A volunteer performs services without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation, benefits or consideration for the services provided. Although compensation for volunteer services is not allowed, ISU volunteers who have received prior department/unit approval may be reimbursed for actual and reasonable expenses following university reimbursement guidelines (see ISU Policy Library - Volunteers).

    An ISU volunteer may be a member of the public, ISU employee, or student who is enrolled at ISU and wishes to volunteer to an ISU department, unit or program. When providing volunteer services, a volunteer is not acting as an ISU employee, is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and is not eligible for university benefits or workers' compensation.

  2. How do I apply for a volunteer opportunity?

    An individual becomes an approved ISU volunteer when the required ISU procedures are completed by the proposed volunteer and department/unit and approval is received from the chair or director of the university department/unit or his/her designee.  Please check specific department website information on volunteer opportunities or contact the department directly.

  3. Why is it important to follow these procedures to become an "approved" volunteer?

    Approved ISU Volunteers are provided personal liability protection by the Iowa Tort Claims Act.  Approved volunteers should have a written or electronic volunteer agreement documenting their ISU volunteer service activities. Contact the Office of Risk Management for appropriate volunteer agreement(s).

  4. Can children under the age of 18 become approved ISU volunteers?
    Special considerations apply when a department or unit engages volunteers under the age of 18. Volunteers who are 15 through 17 years of age must submit a signed parental consent form prior to performing any volunteer services. Volunteers under the age of 15 must submit a signed parental consent agreement and must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times during the volunteer services.  Parental consent forms/agreements are prepared by the Office of Risk Management.  For assistance with youth program policy, procedures, forms or agreements contact the Office of Risk Management at orm@iastate.edu or 515.294.7711. 

  5. What happens if I am injured while I am volunteering for ISU?
    Volunteers who sustain non-life threatening illnesses or injuries during volunteer services should contact their ISU supervisors immediately (volunteers who require emergency care should seek treatment right away).

    The volunteer should expect to use their own financial resources and/or health insurance for coverage of any medical expense arising out of their volunteer participation. When providing volunteer services, an individual is not acting as an ISU employee, is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and is not eligible for university benefits or workers' compensation.

    However, under the Iowa Tort Claims Act, Iowa Code, Chapter 669, claims may be filed against the State on account of wrongful death, personal injury or property damage (including reasonable attorney fees) incurred by reason of the negligence of the University or its employees while acting within the scope of their volunteer service responsibilities.

    ISU volunteer supervisors should report all incidents to the Office of Risk Management as follows:

  • Complete the online ISU Incident Form.
  • An ISU Net-Id is required to use the online ISU Incident Form. If you do not have an ISU Net-ID please contact the Office of Risk Management at 515-294-7711 or claims@iastate.edu.
  • Direct any inquires to the Office of Risk Management at 515-294-7711.

See General Incident Reporting

Questions regarding liability should be directed to the Office of Risk Management. If appropriate, any reimbursements by the University will be coordinated through the Office of Risk Management.

Volunteers who wish to notify ISU directly regarding their injury or loss should contact the Office of Risk Management at 515-294-7711. If you wish to file a claim, please request a copy of the State Appeal Board Claim Form and Affidavit.