COVID-19 Engagement FAQs

We know it can be tough to navigate community engagement right now, so we hope this page provides the information and resources you need to better understand Duke’s policies and recommendations. If you have a question that is not addressed on this page, please reach out to us at

Q: I’m part of a student organization that wants to do a service project. What can we do?

A: Until further notice, all student organization activities must be conducted through virtual platforms. For more information, read the UCAE Student Involvement Policies 2020-2021. We encourage you to explore virtual opportunities submitted by community partners and connect with organizations that participated in the virtual volunteer fair.

Q: I’d like to volunteer independently with a local organization. What am I allowed to do?

A: As noted in the Duke Reopening FAQ, in-person events hosted, sponsored, or paid for by Duke will not be permitted to take place off campus, either in Durham or elsewhere. In addition, in accordance with the Duke Compact, undergraduate students are required to remain in Durham during the residential part of the semester (August-November). We recognize that Duke students may choose to volunteer independently of Duke programs or organizations. In order to limit the potential for community spread, we encourage all students to pursue virtual volunteer opportunities at this time. Students that choose to volunteer in-person must closely adhere to Durhamstate, and organization-specific regulations and public health guidelines.

Q: My service organization works with minors and we’re shifting virtual. What do I need to know?

A: Per University guidance around public events, there will be no in-person minors programming this Fall, either on-campus or off-campus. Regarding online or virtual minors programming, Duke will continue to offer only limited online programming at this time. Please be advised that consideration of any online offerings for minors will be subject to internal review, and approval will be limited to those programs where: 1) the presence of minors at a distance is crucial to the educational experience of matriculated students or to the educational services provided by Duke academic units; and 2) the program is demonstrably able to meet all requirements of the Minors Policy for online programming. Programs meeting these threshold considerations per this internal review process will be provided with additional best practices that will apply to all online programming for minors at all times. For more information, visit the Minors in Duke Programs website.

Q: I have an idea for a new service program or initiative. Where do I start?

A: We appreciate you thinking creatively about how to respond in challenging times. Local organizations have been working hard to identify needs, build infrastructure, and deliver services since the pandemic began. We encourage you to connect with those organizations to see how you might plug in prior to initiating your own effort. If you need assistance identifying potential organizations, please reach out to us.

Similarly, if you are hoping to create a new student organization to address a particular community need, we encourage you to explore existing student organizations for potential connection points rather than creating an independent effort. This approach makes student efforts more coordinated and sustainable, which creates stronger community relationships.

Q: What are other ways I can safely engage with the community right now?

A: Check out our recommendations for Ways to Engage During COVID-19 and feel free to reach out to meet with a member of our team.

“As a member of the Duke community, I affirm that our shared values underscore the behaviors that we expect of ourselves and one another.  We are, more than ever before, individually and collectively responsible for the health and safety of our fellow students, faculty, staff, families and neighbors.”

The Duke Compact

For more information and more Frequently Asked Questions, visit