Supporting the University of Wisconsin–Madison with Scholarships, Service, Education, and Friendship
Bascom Hall with a large W banner behind the pillars

Volunteer Opportunities

Coordinator – Judy Stevenson
Assistant Coordinator – Sheila Lynch

Training for the following volunteer opportunities is usually “on the job” unless there is a special session offered. Please call the contact person listed for the opportunity you are interested in with any questions. You may also contact the Volunteer Opportunities Coordinator.

ALLEN CENTENNIAL GARDENS

Contact: Ryan Dostal (608-576-2501)
Website: www.allencentennialgarden.org

Image of the gardenHands-on gardening projects including planting, weeding, and other garden-based activities, depending on time of year. We provide the necessary tools. The Allen Centennial Garden is open dawn to dusk, year-around.

FRIENDS OF THE UW-MADISON LIBRARIES

Contact: Libby Theune, administrator (608-265-2505)
Website: library.wisc.edu/friends

Student studying in the library stacksVolunteers help with our semi-annual book sales, which occur at the same time as the Wisconsin Book Festival in the fall and the week after spring break in the spring. Tasks include setting up for the sale; and, during the sale, keeping the tables orderly and the books in their appropriate categories, as well as answering questions, and cashiering.

MADISON FRIENDS OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, INC.

Contact: info@mfismadison.org
Or write to PO Box 260131, Madison, WI 53726

Holiday party with international studentsVolunteer opportunities include: providing short-term housing (2-3 nights) for arriving students and scholars; a fall picnic; Thanksgiving hospitality; a mid-year Capitol reception; English conversation classes on Zoom; Global friends remains active using safe physical distancing and remote contact. The status of Thanksgiving and other proms is pending. Check the MFIS website for information.

UW ARBORETUM

Contact: Judy Kingsbury (608-262-5604) T, W, Th
Website: arboretum.wisc.edu/get-involved/volunteer/

Arboretum woodsVolunteers staff the reception desk, work in the gardens, walk the trails, and propagate plants. Training and tools are provided.

 

UW LAKESHORE NATURE PRESERVE

Contact: Bryn Scriver (608-220-5560)
Website: www.lakeshorepreserve.wisc.edu

Volunteers doing field work.Volunteers participate in habitat restoration projects. Activities include planting native plants, trail maintenance, and removal of invasive plants. Work is done in groups of volunteers.

WILLIAM S. MIDDLETON MEMORIAL
VETERANS HOSPITAL (VA HOSPITAL)

Contact: James Barnett or Joe Naylor (608-280-7030)
Website: www.cdceportal.va.gov

Volunteers assist in many areas such as volunteer escorts, office aides, drivers, Information Desk and waiting room attendants, and Emergency Room aides. Assignment schedules are flexible and vary. Requirements for becoming a VA volunteer include a background check, two tuberculosis screenings done at the VA, proof of influenza and Covid vaccines, and a new volunteer orientation.

WISCONSIN HISTORICAL MUSEUM

Closed until 2027

Website: Wisconsinhistoricalmuseum.org

Volunteers assist in our mission to collect, preserve and share stories. Positions available include Information Desk, Public Tour Docent and Educational Tour Guide. Schedules are flexible; training is provided. Benefits include discounts and passes to historic sites.

UNIVERSITY LEAGUE
GREAT DANE READERS

Contact: Mary Warfield (608-273-9809)

Logo of great dane reading book

Once a month from September until May, volunteers read to preschool classes of students from low income families of Dane County. After reading, volunteers present each child with a copy of the book to keep and read to their families.

PBS WISCONSIN

Contact: Katie Dreps (608-262-8508) is the contact for pledge drives.
Michael McKenzie (608-265-4436) is volunteer manager for special events.
Website: www.pbswisconsin.org/volunteer

Students at a bank of computersVolunteers support public television by staffing fund-raising and community outreach events. Volunteer jobs include answering calls on the phone bank during the annual on-air membership drives in March, May, August, and November/December, helping place donation calls for the Online Auction between the Months of January and May, and serving in a variety of roles during the Great Wisconsin Quilt Show in September and Garden and Landscape Expo in February.

UW ADULT HOSPITALS AND CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

Contact: UW Health Volunteer Services or Julia Modest (608-263-6046)
Website: www.uwhealth.org/volunteer to fill out an application

At UW Health, our volunteers play an important role in the overall success of our organization. They assist patients, their families, and visitors to our facilities and are valued members of the health care team.

At the Children’s Hospital, volunteers read to children or engage the in activities while they are waiting for treatments and appointments. Requires a six-month minimum commitment.

At the UW Hospitals and Clinics, volunteers help anywhere from the Main Information Desk to inpatient Hospital units, making a patient or family members more comfortable.

Volunteers should submit an online application from the website and state whether they are more interested in interacting with adults or children, and which hospital they’d like to work in. The on-boarding process can take 1½ to 2 months due to compliance requirements.

UW ODYSSEY PROJECT

Contact: Emily Auerbach (608-262-3733)
Website: odyssey.wisc.edu

Banner showing proud graduates, with "20 YEARS OF CHANGING LIVES!"

The UW Odyssey Project, a free college humanities course for adults and families near the poverty level, helps students overcome adversity and achieve their dreams through higher education. The project assists all ages, from newborns to learners in their 90s.  Volunteers are needed to help with tutoring, mentoring, childcare, communications, office work, technical support, event promotion, and fundraising. The website (odyssey.wisc.edu) has a Volunteer Interest Form. You can help change lives!

WISCONSIN FILM FESTIVAL (DIVISION OF THE ARTS)

Contact: Terry Kerr or 608-588-4330
Website: wifilmfest.org/volunteer

Volunteers support the Wisconsin Film Festival with Festival preparations and set up (March/April) and with ticket taking, line management, filmmaker hospitality and events during the Festival (April). In appreciation for donated hours, volunteers receive Festival film tickets and a volunteer tee-shirt.