University of Wisconsin–Madison

Volunteer Engagement Opportunities

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Wisconsin Innocence Project

    The Wisconsin Innocence Project from time to time uses volunteers to assist staff and students with various tasks. Tasks vary depending on the ever changing needs of the organization but would largely consist of administrative/clerical support and may sometimes include supporting law students on cases. Interested persons should send inquiries to:

    Frank J. Remington Center
    University of Wisconsin Law School
    975 Bascom Mall
    Madison WI 53706

    Email: fjrc@law.wisc.edu or Phone: 608-262-1002.

  • UW Morgridge Center

    The UW Morgridge Center is the local clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities. Please click here to search volunteer opportunities: htthttps://morgridge.wisc.edu/students/search-volunteer-opportunities/.

    Also check out…
    VolunteerYourTime.Org where you can search for local opportunities.

  • MUM: Circles of Support

    The Circles of Support Project recruits adults from the community to serve on volunteer teams of 4-5 people that encircle an adult formerly incarcerated in jail or prison and who meets certain criteria. MUM trains, matches, and coordinates these “Circles of Support,” made up of four or five volunteers who meet regularly with a newly released former prisoner, for at least six months. Circle work might include explaining the bus system, sharing ideas for jobs, or making referrals for housing. But mostly it is listening to the new neighbor and reducing isolation, while increasing accountability. Former prisoners are called Core Team members (CTM). Volunteers are called Circle members. Circle members also benefit by learning about poverty, racism and the criminal justice system.

    WHY DO RECENTLY RELEASED PRISONERS NEED CIRCLES OF SUPPORT?
    Understand that as a Circle of Support volunteer you are part of a much-needed and important endeavor. Given the fact that most people who go to prison are eventually released, it is important that communities be prepared to actively participate in efforts to assist returnees in becoming our Neighbors again. Scott (not his real name) was in prison for over six years. Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM) matched Scott to a Circle of Support within a West-side congregation. The Circle of volunteers met with him regularly. When he got discouraged with employment, job layoffs, and even a stint of homelessness, this Circle encouraged him, gave him ideas, and helped him to stay focused. Now it’s been two years of success for Scott. He has completed a circle, but not the vicious circle of recidivism.

    Instead Scott has joined a Circle of Support himself to “be there” for someone else who was just released. The circle is completing itself. Scott is part of a circle of caring support for another. In communities with similar Circles, recidivism among participating former prisoners has reduced from 50% to 15%. As this is a Restorative Justice initiative, three perspectives are included- those of the community as a whole, those of the victims and those of the former prisoners.

    WHICH EX-PRISONERS WILL BE ELIGIBLE for a circle of support: Recently Released Prisoners who may participate in this program and become a Core Team Member (CTM) must:
    • be a formerly incarcerated person who requests participation in a Circle
    • have been incarcerated at least two years, and
    • not been convicted of a serious sex crime or a recent pattern of violent offenses.
    Volunteer Circle Members Requirements:
    • Must be at least 18 years of age.
    • Be screened and trained by MUM through its Circles of Support program;
    • Be willing to make at least a 6 month commitment to have at least a monthly meeting with the circle
    • Be willing and able to become familiar with and remain nonjudgmental about the prisoner and their families.
    If you are interested in becoming a Circle of Support Volunteer please email Circle of Support Coordinator Barbara McKinney.

  • Mentoring Connections

    Mentoring Connections (MC) provides mentoring services to children who have a parent incarcerated in prison. Madison-area Urban Ministry will recruit, train and guide 70 volunteer mentors in collaboration with faith-based and community-based organizations. A three-year grant from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) assists. There are over 1,600 Dane County children who have a parent in prison. Children of incarcerated parents face health, isolation, attachment and bonding issues. They may also be at risk for going to prison themselves. Seventy percent of incarcerated women are mothers of dependent children. There are disproportionate numbers of people of color in Wisconsin’s prisons.

    The three primary partners are: Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM), Family Connections of Wisconsin (FC) and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Dane County (BBBS). They are joined by many other local organizations, including Dane County Human Services, Circuit Court Judges, Urban League of Greater Madison, state and local government agencies, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These groups will provide additional training, consultation, referral, and evaluation.

    Children eligible to receive a mentor:

    • Live in Dane County and are between 4 and 15 years of age
    • Have a parent who is presently incarcerated in a federal or state prison (or who has been sentenced to a state or federal prison but is in jail awaiting transfer to the prison)
    • Desire one-to-one contact with a mentor at least one hour weekly for at least one year.
    • Have written consent from their parents/guardians

    Volunteer Mentors:

    • Must be at least 18 years of age;
    • Be screened and trained to be a Mentor;
    • Make a one year commitment to have one-to-one contact at least one hour weekly;
    • Participate in some of the monthly group activities with their mentee;
    • Be familiar with and nonjudgmental about the eligible children or their families; and
    • In appropriate cases, accompany their mentee to visit his or her mother in prison

    Contact MUM at the numbers or address below to get a mentor or to make a referral!

  • Pre-law Society

    The Pre-Law Society was established in 2012 to provide any undergraduate student the opportunity to join Phi Delta Phi. Phi Delta Phi’s Pre-Law Society strives to develop student’s knowledge of law and help make an informed decision about pursuing a legal career. All undergraduate students with an interest in law will gain invaluable knowledge of the diverse opportunities that the legal world has to offer. Members will be exposed to information regarding the LSAT, law school admissions, life as a law student, professional responsibility, and varying careers in the legal field.

    More info about the Pre-Law Society can be found here: https://www.phideltaphi.org/page/PreLawSociety

  • Workers' Rights Center of Madison

    In its ten years of operation the Workers’ Rights Center has been largely driven by volunteers–community members who dedicate a few hours a week to assist workers in understanding their rights in the workplace and helping them in finding solutions to problems.

    More information can be found here: http://www.wrcmadison.org/WP/volunteer-opportunities/

Student Organizations

  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Student Association

    The Association provides opportunities for students to share similar interests. Each year the CJJSA hosts a variety of professionals from the community to discuss issues related to the Justice field, professional development, careers, and current events. Members are welcome to take advantage of these and other opportunities for learning and professional preparation.

    For more information on CJJSA please visit their WIN page:  https://win.wisc.edu/organization/cjjsa.

  • Legal Studies Association

    Membership Dues

    Any student can become a member of the Legal Studies Association (LSA). We welcome all Legal Studies majors, as well as other students who share interests in law related topics including legal advocacy, court administration, policing, and investigation. Annual dues are $30/year or $20/semester. Dues cover expenses not covered by ASM allocations, such as meeting refreshments, senior banquet and publicity.

    Meetings

    Meetings are Wednesday nights, 7:00-8:00 p.m. in Grainger Hall. Check Today at UW or the LSA Facebook page for room information.

    Mission Statement

    The mission of the LSA is to promote the professional and social development of students interested in law related careers through educational and social experiences with other students, academic professionals, and community leaders.

    Activities and Speakers

    LSA hosts a variety of professionals from the local and state level. These speakers represent diverse experiences and professions in the criminal justice and legal arenas. Previous speakers have included FBI and Secret Service agents, police officers, attorneys, judges, and law school admissions representatives. LSA provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the intricacies of various law related careers and how to obtain the necessary training and qualifications. It is also an excellent way to narrow and refine job searches and professional interests.

    Social/Professional

    In today’s competitive job market, it is essential to develop a personal network. The personal network that can be developed through participation in LSA has led many students to internships and employment connections.

    Officers

    Check the LSA Facebook page for current officers.

    For a more rewarding and worthwhile experience, members are encouraged to become involved with a leadership position. Members who do not hold an office are encouraged to correspond with officers regarding activities and speakers in which they are interested.

    LSA Contact Information

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Legal-Studies-Association-UW-Madison/154071174671760