How Do I Bring In a Volunteer or Intern?

On occasion, individuals (who are not employees) may donate their time and services to Northwestern University. Departments/Units must consult with the Office of Human Resources to determine if an individual meets the requirements and qualifies as an intern and/or volunteer. The University requires a careful review of the possible arrangement to ensure the safety of the individual and that no conflict of interest exists. Interns and volunteers should be at least 16 years of age.

To initiate this process, the Department Administrator or designate follows these eight simple steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Intern and Volunteer Criteria. These are the legal guidelines that outline the instances in which an individual may "intern" or "volunteer" at Northwestern rather than being considered an "employee."
  1. Complete the Intern and Volunteer Intake FormWord Form and submit it to intern-volunteer@northwestern.edu at least two weeks prior to the individual's planned start date in the department.
  1. The Office of Human Resources will review the information to determine whether this is an appropriate Intern or Volunteer arrangement. If the individual is a minor, there are Additional Considerations for Minors that the Office of Human Resources will need to evaluate.
  1. If the individual will have access to research subjects or their health information, you are responsible for obtaining additional approval of the arrangement from the IRB Office.
  1. If the individual is on a visa, you are responsible for obtaining additional approval of the arrangement from the International Office.
  1. Once the Office of Human Resources has approved the arrangement, if the individual is at least 18 years of age, the Office of Human Resources will coordinate with him or her to conduct a background check. After the background check has been successfully completed, you will be notified by the Office of Human Resources. The individual may not start in the department until the background check has been successfully completed. Minors are not required to complete a background check.
  1. Work with the Intern or Volunteer to complete the Volunteer and Visitors Lab Use Agreement Form PDF and the DCFS Mandatory Reporter Form PDF. Submit a copy of the Volunteer and Visitors Lab Use Agreement Form to Risk Management. Submit the DCFS Mandatory Reporter Form to intern-volunteer@northwestern.edu or via interoffice mail to the Office of Human Resources, Chicago Campus, Abbott Hall Room 150 (attention: Staffing Coordinator).
  1. Create a department file for the Intern or Volunteer. Retain the original Volunteer and Visitors Lab Use Agreement Form and a copy of the DCFS Mandatory Reporter Form in this file, along with emergency contact information for the Intern or Volunteer. The department is responsible for maintaining the official Intern or Volunteer file.