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Service and Community Partners

The Wilks Institute is happy to support you or your organization develop community partnerships. We aim to support our students, faculty, staff, and community partners to co-create mutually reciprocal community partnerships focused on social change and sustainable futures. We promote the practice of building relationships through Asset-Based Community Development and Community Identified Goals. 

  • Community Identified Goals: Community identified goals build on the strengths and resources available in the community to meet the needs identified by the community as areas of focus.
  • Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD): ABCD builds on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions by drawing upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future.

Contact us with questions or to learn more.

ComMUnity Connect

ComMUnity Connect is Miami University’s new tool for the promotion, management, and tracking of volunteer opportunities in our region. We believe this new tool will increase levels of community engagement in Southwest Ohio and provide us with a more accurate picture of how we are impacting our communities together as nonprofits and educational institutions.

ComMUnity Connect amplifies the community’s voices by providing a platform for nonprofits to promote their needs and volunteer opportunities and is a product of Galaxy Digital.

Learn More

Volunteer Hours and Criteria for Approval

In order to ensure that students are selecting meaningful community engagement opportunities and forming mutually beneficial relationships with our community partners, The Wilks Institute for Leadership and Service have created the following guidelines for the approval of volunteer hours. We recognize that there may be situations where it is difficult to determine whether or not an activity meets the requirements to be classified as volunteering, and we encourage students to email their student organization, their chapter’s service chair, or The Wilks Institute with any questions or concerns they may have regarding the criteria.

Please Note: In order to ensure your volunteer hours count towards your student
organization or chapter you MUST:

  • Request a link from your organization’s leadership that will prompt you to join the Community Connect “User Group” associated with your student org or chapter.
  • Join the specified user group via Community Connect.
  • Select the user group each time you submit hours on the site.


General Approval Requirements

  1. All volunteer hours must be submitted for approval on Miami’s volunteer website Community Connect. Every Miami University student is able to log in with their Miami login information.
  2. Students cannot count time spent on activities for which they received compensation (i.e. a job or academic course). A free meal, a t-shirt, or a place to stay does not count as compensation.
  3. Hours must be completed through a non-profit (501c3), government agency, or school. A faith-based organization can be approved as long as the volunteer is part of their outreach to other non-profits in the community. Volunteer hours completed at senior or retirement centers, both for and non-profit, will count as volunteer hours.
  4. Volunteer hours will only be counted for activities that are extracurricular. Extracurricular activities are activities that are pursued in addition to your normal course of study and aren’t required as part of your degree. Some examples of what will not be counted as volunteer hours include:
    • Time spent shadowing without performing a task.
    • Hours spent on student-teaching.
    • Activities for which you are compensated through course credit or money.
  5. Civic involvement will generally count as volunteer hours. Some examples of activities that will count are volunteering for a voter registration drive or raising awareness for a social issue. Some examples of what will not be counted as volunteer hours include:
    • Campaigning for a political party.
    • Campaigning for a specific candidate.
  6. Hour capacities: Some organizations (like Greek life) have hour caps each semester for certain submissions. These caps are: 1 hour for blood drives, 1 hour for card making, and 2 hours for donation drives.

Common Submissions

  • Blood drives: You can receive 1 hour for donating whole blood. You can receive 2 hours for donating red blood cells. Attempting to give blood but being unable to does not count as volunteer hours.
  • Card making: You can receive 1 hour for 10 cards. This includes cards for nursing homes, hospital patients, Ronald McDonald house, and other organizations.
  • Donation drives: You can receive 1 hour for donating 10 food items, 3 clothing items, or 5 material items. This includes donations to all drives led by chapters and outside organizations.
  • Donations: Donating money to an organization does not count as volunteer hours. This includes donating through a GoFundMe link, giving money through a bingo board on social media, or donating to a different organization’s fundraiser.
  • Leadership positions: Holding a leadership position in a student organization does not count as volunteer hours. Some examples include leading meetings, creating flyers, or time spent marketing.
  • Participating in events: Solely participating in a philanthropy event does not count as volunteer hours. Examples of this include running/walking in a 5k (even if there is an entry free - this would count as a donation, not volunteer hours), attending a breakfast/lunch, or eating at a restaurant fundraiser (ex. Chipotle, Skipper’s).
  • Plasma conations: Plasma donations do not count as volunteer hours if you receive compensation for your time.
  • Promoting events: Promoting a philanthropy event for your own organization, or another chapter, does not count as volunteer hours. Examples include posting a graphic on social media, passing out flyers, and tabling. Creating visuals for a non-profit will count as volunteer hours.
  • Tutoring: If you receive compensation, tutoring others does not count as volunteer hours. Informally tutoring other Miami students does not count as volunteer hours. If you volunteer to tutor others through a third party organization, or tutor young children at a school, these activities will count as volunteer hours.
  • Undergraduate research: Participating in undergraduate research does not count as volunteer hours if you receive pay or course credit for doing so.

Civic Engagement

There are many ways to be an active citizen and engage with local, state, and federal policy. The Wilks Institute offers a variety of opportunities for students to become civically engaged including workshops and training, voter registration drives, and debates.

Student Org

Do you want to keep up to date about elections or volunteer for events? Join Miami's civic engagement student org Miami Votes!

Miami Votes is dedicated to civic engagement and nonpartisan action on Miami’s campus. Members are invited to participate in:

  • Planning events and opportunities.
  • Volunteering for voter registration drives.
  • Social media campaigns.


Are you passionate about making change on campus, or gathering to support a cause you care about? The Wilks Institute shares in supporting the development of the Student Activism Guide. This is a living document, and is designed to be updated regularly with student input. The guide includes information about:

  • Types of activism
  • Intersectional movements
  • Setting goals
  • Creating action on campus
  • Campus safety and policies
  • Student rights

Action Planning

All In SealMiami University has earned the Highly Established Action Plan Seal for the 2024 election cycle. Miami is one of 123 campuses that has earned this recognition so far for the 2024 election cycle from All In Campus Democracy Challenge. The 2024 Highly Established Action Plan honors campuses for their commitment to nonpartisan democratic engagement through campus action planning.

Civic Engagement Partners

The Wilks Institute hosts both a CEEP Fellow and Andrew Goodman Foundation Ambassadors, who work alongside each other to empower students and campus leaders to engage with and act on issues of importance using their votes.

Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF)

Vote Everywhere, a program of The Andrew Goodman Foundation, is a unique civic engagement initiative rooted in a legacy of civil rights and social justice. Vote Everywhere carries on the work of Andrew Goodman, a sophomore at Queens College who was murdered along with James Chaney and Michael Schwerner during Freedom Summer 1964 while attempting to register African-Americans to vote. Vote Everywhere empowers a national community of campus leaders to mobilize others to act on issues of importance using their votes, voices and networks. Vote Everywhere student ambassadors are focused on the census, voter registration, and elections.


Campus Vote Project

Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting. Our goal is to help campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.

Harry T. Wilks Institute for Leadership and Service

2018 Armstrong Student Center
550 E. Spring Street
Oxford, OH 45056