Harvard's Global Day of Service - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Global Day of Service?

Harvard's first-ever Global Day of Service expands on an annual Harvard College orientation event that welcomes first year students to their new communities of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville through service. Through this program we engage a broad range of students, community partners, faculty, staff, and alumni will work together to support virtual volunteer projects.  This community-wide effort introduces incoming first-year students to a vibrant culture of public service programs at Harvard.  Throughout this program, we will highlight several ways that all participants can stay civically engaged throughout the year.  The Global Day of Service unites students, staff, faculty, alums, and community partners around a shared purpose.

What is a Service Team Leader?

Service teams of of up to 10 volunteers are led by 1-2 team leaders who help lead projects and guide discussions.  In many cases, team leaders are staff, faculty, or student service program leaders.

What are the requirements to be a Service Team Leader?

Service team leaders can be returning students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors), first year students who have completed SPARK or FUP, members of the faculty, or staff. We ask that service team leaders:

  • Be available on Saturday, September 12th, from noon to 5:30pm Eastern time
  • Participate in online or in-person training before the Global Day of Service
  • Become familiar with the service project and work site in advance (we will send all team leaders a briefing along with a description of their project)
  • Assist a team of 10 (mostly student) volunteers
  • Make decisions about how to best complete service site tasks
  • Lead a brief reflection with students at the conclusion of the service project (all reflection prompts and materials will be provided)
  • Be comfortable delegating tasks and monitoring task progress

Please note that all projects will be conducted remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 



Will I receive any training for the Service Team Leader role?

Yes. Service team leader training will be provided to all service team leader volunteers. There will be several training options available including two training sessions the morning of the Global Day of Service. Team leader training will include a walk-through of the day, background materials regarding the project assignment, and guidance on how to best structure the activity and student experience. 

What is the time commitment expected from volunteers for the Global Day of Service?

The Global Day of Service will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2020, from 12:00pm to 7:00pm Eastern time (inclusive of programming).  We ask that service team leaders commit to being available from 12:00pm to 5:30pm Eastern time.

Will I have to request and take personal time in order to be a Team Leader?

Staff members who choose to volunteer as Team Leaders will not need to request nor take personal time (personal days or vacation).  As this is a Harvard-sponsored, work-related project and event, you can participate on work time but please confer with your supervisor before committing to volunteering to ensure that it does not interfere with your department’s business.

Will I be able to be paired with my first-year advisees on a service team?

Maybe. First year students will be able to choose their service site areas in accordance to their interests. This may make it difficult for us to match service team leaders with their advisees. However, let us know if you are interested in serving alongside a specific group of students, and we will try to make the accommodation possible. 

How do first year students choose their service sites? 

First year students will be asked to indicate their issues of interest––i.e. environment, housing, youth, education, immigrant rights, etc. –– by ranked-choice on the first year registration form. Based on their responses, students will be assigned to specific service sites related to one of their issues of interest. Due to the size of this event, we cannot guarantee that students will receive their first choice.   

How do Service Team Leaders choose their service sites?

Service team leaders, like first year students, will be able to indicate their issues of interest by ranked-choice on the service team leader registration form. The registration form will ask for information about service team leaders' skills, and whether they have relationships with service organizations, so we can make suitable matches between service team leaders and service sites. However, we cannot guarantee that service team leaders will receive their first choice. 

Where are the service sites located? 

This year, due to projects being remote, service sites are located all over the world, including many of our partners working in the  greater Boston area (Boston, Cambridge, Somerville).

Will it cost me anything to be a volunteer?


Who should I contact, should I have additional questions about the Global Day of Service?

Please email Varsha Ghosh at vghosh@fas.harvard.edu or Travis Lovett at tlovett@fas.harvard.edu.