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Volunteers and Unpaid Interns

Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University continue to welcome volunteers on our campuses. These guidelines are for the Drexel community and potential volunteers to provide information regarding who may volunteer, where individuals may volunteer at Drexel, what information volunteers need to know, and what, if any, liability there is to Drexel or to the volunteer in particular circumstances. We appreciate the efforts of volunteers, who enhance a number of programs and activities, and recognize that they derive benefits from being volunteers, including learning new skills, enhancing career opportunities and making professional and social contacts. Volunteers contribute of their own free will and should not be coerced or pressured in any way to volunteer.

Drexel volunteers are expected to comply with all applicable laws and University policies, as well as comply with the rules and regulations of the specific department for which they are volunteering. It is the responsibility of the individual department to ensure that volunteers are aware of the rules and regulations and comply with them.

Volunteers are an important resource for Drexel University and the Academy of Natural Sciences. Not only do they add to the vitality of life on our campuses, they also make valuable contributions to the success of our students, faculty, professional staff and the entire Drexel community.

Please work with your the Department Administrator for volunteer program information.

For volunteer questions for the Academy of Natural Sciences, please contact or call at 215.299.1029.

Volunteer and Unpaid Intern Process


Volunteer: Volunteers provide services without the expectation of pay and are not considered university employees for any purpose. Volunteers do not displace professional staff, are not entitled to employment and can be terminated by either party at any time. Individuals who volunteer their services are not eligible for University benefits or Workers' Compensation and are expected to carry own personal medical insurance.

Unpaid Intern: The Department of Labor offers a six prong test to follow. All six of the following criteria must be satisfied.

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

A department should not rely on volunteers to perform duties that are typically performed by employees. Volunteers should be supplementing the work done by employees, not replacing the need for paid staff. Volunteers also include volunteer faculty and unpaid interns and may work either on or off Drexel property. Independent contractors, visiting professors, agency temps, and other non-employee associates are not considered volunteers.


  1. When selecting and engaging a volunteer, it is the department's responsibility to confirm that the individual has the appropriate experience required and the availability to commit to the hours requested. (For the College of Medicine, supervisor must first reach out to the Department Administrator for the appropriate office).
  2. The department must first complete the Assignment Description on the Volunteer/Unpaid Intern Assignment Form.
  3. Department will then provide the Volunteer/Unpaid Intern Assignment Description to the volunteer to review and complete the remainder of the form.
  4. Once the form is complete, the department will submit to Human Resources to attain approval of the volunteer assignment.
  5. Your Talent Acquisition Specialist (TAS) will send you an email once your volunteer assignment has been approved and will let you know if any additional forms will need to be completed depending on the nature of the assignment.
  6. The TAS will determine if a background check is required based on the job description provided in conjunction with the University Background Check policy.
  7. Once these documents are processed, the Volunteer will be able to obtain a DragonCard and pick up email accounts.
  8. Your department's Business Manager will be able to view the Volunteer's University ID through the WebSalary system for your department roster. The Volunteer will need the University ID number and these Account Pick-Up Instructions to log in to their e-mail account.


Volunteer relationships can be terminated at any time by either party without notice.

At the end of the volunteer service, please ensure that you receive all Drexel materials that the Volunteer was using for their activities; this includes their DragonCard ID, keys and any other items or property belonging to Drexel University.

Prohibited Activities

  • Operating heavy equipment
  • Operating motor vehicles
  • Working with bio-hazardous or infectious materials
  • Any activity that would be considered inappropriate for University employees
  • Anything that would violate a University Policy
  • Entering into any contract on behalf of the University
  • Other activities prohibited at the discretion of the supervisor