Serve Your Community — During Work Hours

NC State employees are encouraged to serve not only the university, but their broader communities. That’s why each year, eligible employees receive community service leave that they can use to request paid time off to perform volunteer activities. 

With the upcoming holiday season, now is the perfect time to consider using those hours before they reset at the beginning of 2024. As of Nov. 13, 1,143 out of 9,368 eligible NC State employees have utilized some portion of their community service hours. They have given a total of 11,770 hours to various local, state, national and international not-for-profit and public initiatives.

For his part, Dave Herpy, extension organizational development coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, registered himself and his oldest son to volunteer at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina in December. 

“I have used community service leave almost every year over the past 10 years leading into the holidays,” Herpy said. “It has been such a wonderful way to begin the holiday season and break. Beginning the holiday season with gratitude through volunteering in our community has so many positive benefits.”

A group of people behind the counter of a cafeteria, in front of a poster for Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen.
Dave Herpy (left) and his colleagues volunteering at Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen
A group of people in red hardhats in front of a half-constructed house for a Build a Block project.
Herpy and his colleagues at a Build a Block service site
A small group of people in aprons at the Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen making wolfie signs with their hands.
Herpy and his colleagues at Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen

To learn more about the community service leave program, including eligibility criteria and the number of hours allotted for different types of community service, go to the UHR website. If you want to use your community service leave, first talk to your supervisor. 

Below are some on- and off-campus volunteer opportunities you can take advantage of now and in the future. You can find a list of additional ideas and resources on the UHR Benefits website. Please remember that in order to receive paid time to volunteer, the service opportunity must take place during your regular work hours.

NC State Online Service Site

NC State’s Student Leadership and Engagement office makes on- and off-campus volunteer opportunities accessible through the online service site. The website allows users to search for opportunities in a variety of ways, including chronologically. You also can look for opportunities by type, such as outdoor, family-friendly and virtual. Users can opt to receive a notification when a specific organization posts a volunteer opportunity on the site by becoming a “fan” of that organization.

Feed the Pack

Feed the Pack is NC State’s food pantry, which serves students and employees. Students, staff and faculty can volunteer to work shifts at the pantry. Staff and faculty volunteers are needed most during the holidays and summer when many students are away from campus. Go to the Feed the Pack website to learn more about volunteering at the pantry. To volunteer, complete this form.

Activate Good

Activate Good is a nonprofit organization that mobilizes Triangle-area residents to serve their communities. The organization partners with about 600 nonprofits, schools and community groups that have volunteer needs in all sorts of areas, including educating children, working to save the environment, helping animals, serving homeless people and more. Activate Good promotes its volunteer opportunities on social media, via a mailing list and through its partners. You can search for opportunities to volunteer on the Activate Good website.

Crafts Center

Volunteers at the NC State Crafts Center teach classes, assist instructors, help maintain studios and lend a hand at Crafts Center events. If you would like to volunteer at the center, call 919-515-2457 for more information.

JC Raulston Arboretum

The JC Raulston Arboretum offers volunteers a mix of opportunities, including taking photographs, greeting visitors, working in an office, gardening and much more. People who volunteer at the arboretum for 40 or more hours a year enjoy reduced admission to special arboretum events and reciprocal benefits at more than 300 public gardens. For more information, fill out the arboretum’s online volunteer application. 

NC State LIVE 

You can volunteer to be an usher at NC State LIVE performances. The benefits of being a volunteer usher include free admission to shows and a behind-the-scenes view of performances. For more information, contact Liza Green, associate director of NC State LIVE, at 919-513-7155 or

This post was originally published in NC State News.