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Working at CSU

Volunteer in public schools

August 15, 2010

VIPS is the Volunteers in Public Schools program at Colorado State University. The program allows employees up to 5 hours per month administrative leave to volunteer in any public school district.

CSU employees can be granted up to 1 hour per week of administrative leave to volunteer in the public schools.

VIPS was developed by Colorado State University Classified Personnel Council and is now a permanent program open to all Colorado State employees.

Why does CSU support VIPS?

  • Because it upholds Colorado State's commitment to support public K-12 schools - a goal that is in the University Strategic Plan and has strong support from the Colorado Legislature.
  • It encourages Colorado State staff to get involved with kids and the community, sending the message that our University cares.
  • It allows employees to strengthen their skills by taking on projects outside their normal workload - learning by giving back. 

Q & A

How much administrative leave time am I allowed?

You can be granted up to 1 hour per week of administrative leave to volunteer in the public schools. These hours can be used in a block-time each month or individually. The leave does not accumulate from month to month - no more than 5 hours may be used in a single month.

Can I use this leave for other kinds of volunteer work?

No. The University encourages employees to volunteer their time to worthy organizations, but administrative leave is allowed only for the VIPS program. There are three reasons:

  1. The State of Colorado allows administrative leave only when it will directly benefit another state agency.
  2. Most volunteer opportunities in public schools occur during the average work day.
  3. Supporting K-12 schools is a goal of the University.

Can I use the leave to volunteer in a private school?

No. While private schools also need volunteer support, state personnel rules only allow administrative leave to volunteer when it directly benefits another public agency.

During the work week I volunteer, what if my VIPS time and my work time equals more than 40 hours?

First the employee has to be eligible for overtime. Paid administrative leave time occurring during the work week is counted as work time in determining eligibility for overtime in that work week. If you are a full-time employee, you can be granted up to 1 hour per week of administrative leave to volunteer in the public schools.

 Does this leave cover travel time?

The leave only covers time spent volunteering in a school. Employees must find ways to cover their own travel time.

Is this leave only available to people with children in the Poudre School District?

No. Anyone with an interest in volunteering is eligible to use the leave, and it can be used in any public school.

If I'm a part-time employee, can I still use the VIPS leave?

Yes, but your leave eligibility is based on the percentage of your appointment. For example, if you're a half-time employee, you're eligible for one-half the total amount of VIPS leave, or a maximum of 2.5 hours per month.

Can I choose a school and the kind of volunteer work I want to do?

If you want to volunteer in Poudre Schools, the VIPS/Partnership Office, (970) 490-3207, will work with you to find a volunteer position that matches your interests with school needs. They usually will try to place you in the school of your choice - or, you can work directly with a school to arrange a volunteer assignment. If you want to help in another school district, just contact the district or school directly.

If I work a night shift, can I use VIPS to cover time I volunteered during the day?

No, the leave is designed to help employees who are not able to volunteer in schools during the normal school day. Some volunteer activities do exist in the evening, though. Check with the school district.

Do I have to sign up for VIPS every year to keep volunteering?

Not unless you change supervisors. Otherwise, your paperwork remains on file - you only have to fill it out once!

How do I sign up?

  • Be an employee of Colorado State University (Part-time employees are eligible, but their leave is prorated based on the percentage of their appointment.)
  • Be performing at a level to merit such leave.
  • Have the permission of your supervisor on the VIPS Leave Authorization Form.  

Once you have been approved to participate in the program, you handle the leave within your department, just as you would any other kind of leave. Departments should process VIPS leave as administrative leave.

To sign up complete the VIPS Leave Authorization Form and meet with your supervisor to discuss your participation.

Contact: CSU Benefits Office
Phone: (970) 491-6737