Visitors, Volunteers & Contractors

Take home message: If you are hosting visitors, volunteers or contractors, make sure they are familiar with the U-M policies, compliance requirements and other information they need to perform their temporary role – including safety requirements, access issues and the extent of their U-M role and authority.

U-M Policy and helpful links

  • For U-M departments hosting visitors, volunteers and contractors who will be performing some U-M role (or doing something for or on behalf of U-M) – it is important that you think, in advance of the visitor coming, what information and training they will require in order to perform their role in compliance with the law, U-M policies and departmental procedures. For instance, you may need to teach them about safety requirements, access or facilities issues, IT policies, financial issues (if they are handling money) and/or privacy requirements (if they are handling information). This is important both to allow them to perform their U-M function smoothly and safely, and to ensure that U-M is compliant with laws and regulations.
  • It is also important for hosting departments to consider anything that might need to be done to protect the University in connection with a visitor, volunteer or contractor’s presence – such as clarifying insurance coverage, setting up appropriate access to facilities and information, and setting up the appropriate authorizations or delegations (if required).
  • Hosting volunteers must be done in accordance with employment and other laws, and departments should maintain proper records of their volunteer activity. See U-M’s Volunteer Guidelines, maintained on the Office of the General Counsel website, for guidance.
  • U-M faculty and departments inviting foreign nationals to visit or attend U-M need to be aware of the immigration requirements surrounding such visitors – which must be attended to before the visitor comes to the United States. See the International Center’s page on Hosting a J-1 Exchange Visitor for detailed guidance and resources, and see also our separate International & Immigration compliance pages.
  • Hosting visitors and volunteers in U-M laboratoriesOccupational Safety & Environmental Health (OSEH) provides a Guideline for Visitors & Volunteers in U-M Laboratories, which is designed to help labs host visitors safely. Lab managers must follow certain steps to get proper authorization and parental permission for a minor to participate in independent research activities, and must meet age, supervision, training, and hazardous materials requirements and restrictions.
  • For visitors, volunteers and contractors coming to U-M to perform some U-M role (or do something for or on behalf of U-M) – you may be asked to undertake some training and to familiarize yourself with certain information that is necessary to perform your role in compliance with the law and U-M policies and procedures. For instance, you may need to be informed about safety requirements, access or facilities issues, IT policies, financial issues (if you are handling money) and/or privacy requirements (if you are handling information). This is important both to allow you to perform your U-M function smoothly and safely, and also to ensure that U-M is compliant with laws and regulations.
  • For U-M Health System (UMHS) visitors if you are a visitor, volunteer or contractor coming to perform some role within the UMHS, clinical or otherwise, you will be treated during your stay as part of the UMHS workforce (even if you are only there as an observer) and you must comply with the UMHS Code of Conduct (U-M networks only) and UMHS policies. You may also be required to undertake mandatory training, relating to patient privacy and other issues relevant to your specific role. See the UMHS Visitors page (U-M networks) maintained by the UMHS Compliance Office.
  • For visitors without any U-M role (such as Hospital visitors, or parents visiting students) – general information regarding the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor can be found at the University of Michigan’s visitor’s gateway. The Huetwell Visitors Center(inside the Student Activities Building), serves as the welcoming point for prospective students and their families, as well as other guests of the University. For Hospital visitors, see the University Hospital’s visitors guide.
  • Visitor parking – information about visitor parking on Central campus and on the Medical campus is available is available on the Parking & Transportation Services website.

Things to remember

  • Visitors, volunteers and contractors must be appropriately trained and authorized for their particular role – otherwise, it could compromise their ability to complete the task they set out to accomplish, and compromise the host department and the university as a whole.
  • All U-M visitors, volunteers and contractors are expected to comply with all applicable laws and University rules and regulations, as well as comply with the rules and procedures of the specific department for which they are performing their temporary role.
  • U-M departments should keep records of volunteer names, dates of services, and services performed, and should issue letters describing the volunteer service prior to the volunteer’s start date with the unit. These records should be maintained for a minimum of three years after their volunteer service ends. See U-M’s Volunteer Guidelines, maintained by the Office of the General Counsel, for additional guidance.
  • There are a number of departments within U-M who foster and facilitate volunteerism, including Volunteer Connection (who connect students with volunteer opportunities in the wider community), the International Center (who connect U-M students and employees with volunteer work abroad opportunities), U-M Health System Volunteer Services (who provide volunteers to augment the work of the U-M Health System faculty and staff) and UMClinicalStudies (who connect the wider community with health research opportunities at U-M, and maintain a confidential volunteer registry that matches people interested in volunteering with appropriate research studies). There are also volunteering opportunities through the Alumni Association.

People to talk to

If you are hosting a foreign visitor, you should contact the contact the International Center to learn about what requirements need to be met, by calling (734) 764-9310, emailing them, or reviewing other options on their Contact Us page.

If you want general guidance around how to host visitors or manage volunteers within the U-M Health System (including the Medical School), contact the UMHS Compliance Office [or, if you are outside the U-M network, go to their external page] by calling (734) 615-4400 or emailing them.

If you want general guidance around how to manage volunteers within other U-M departments (non Health System), contact the Office of the General Counsel by calling (734) 764-0304.

If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, check out Volunteer Connection (who connect students with volunteer opportunities in the wider community), and the U-M Health System Volunteer Services (who provide volunteers to augment the work of the U-M Health System faculty and staff). In addition, UMClinicalStudies connects the community with health research opportunities at U-M, and maintains a confidential volunteer registry that matches people interested in volunteering with appropriate research studies; and the International Center connects U-M students and employees with volunteer work abroad opportunities.

For legal assistance or advice relating to visitors, volunteers or contractors, contact Dave Masson in the Office of the General Counsel.


Established 3/4/11, last updated 3/1/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated