FAQ for Volunteers
Do I have to be a current University of Illinois student?
You do not need to be a current student, but you do need an active University of Illinois NetID to be able to access the project management platform.
What skills do I need?
Project teams may require expertise in data science, public health, medicine, and foreign languages. Data science needs will range from Excel to machine learning.
How much time do I need to commit?
There is no formal requirement, since the workload will be project and skillset dependent, but when you volunteer to work on a project, you will state and commit to the minimum number of hours per week you will contribute.
What is the scope of duties?
You will be responsible for the timely and high-quality completion of tasks as agreed by the project team. You will not be expected to learn new skills.
How long will the project last?
Since these projects are intended to support the operational and decision-making needs of health agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic, projects will be completed as quickly as possible. In practice this will typically mean anywhere from a week to a couple of months.
How large will the project team be?
Teams will typically be three to five people.
What kinds of projects will I be working on?
Most projects will be data based. Some will involve numerical data; some will involve textual data in multiple languages from social media and other sources. Tasks may involve data analysis, visualization, mapping, or modeling.
Do I get to choose the project I will be working on?
Yes. You will be able to volunteer to work on newly submitted projects as they are approved, but the composition of the team will be determined by the needs of the project and skillsets among the volunteers.
Who will lead the projects?
Project teams will be student-run with oversight from University of Illinois faculty.
Are there leadership opportunities?
Yes. Each team will be led on a day-to-day basis by students.
Who will be on a team?
Teams may include both undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines. Each team will also report to a faculty member and representative of the project organization.
What kind of organizations will I be working with?
Projects will come mostly from public health agencies, including WHO, PAHO (The Pan-American Health Organization), Ministries of Health, and local public health agencies.
What do I get for participating?
You get to use your skills to contribute to the global fight against COVID-19 on projects of practical importance to WHO and other public health agencies.