Employees to get paid day off to volunteer

By Mikah Walker

DeKALB — Full-time NIU employees will be given a paid day off to volunteer under the Huskies Give Back program.

Employees have the option of volunteering at schools or organizations in DeKalb County once organizations are approved. To be eligible to host volunteers, organizations must apply and be approved by Jan. 1, according to the news release.

Employees have already registered an estimated 20 organizations. Organizations in need of volunteers can apply to be included in the list here.

“It is important for our employees to give back to communities that are and have worked with us,” Chief of Staff Matt Streb said. “It’s a win for our employees and a win for our community.”

NIU President Lisa Freeman first mentioned the program in October during her State of the University address and said she is excited to see Huskies unleashed to work in the community.

“What is inspiring isn’t the impact that one individual can make in a single day, which can be quite significant, but the cumulative impact that hundreds or thousands of days of service by NIU employees could have,” Freeman said in the news release.

The total number of volunteer time cannot exceed 7.5 hours per employee, according to the human resource services website.

Employees can select from a pre-approved list of opportunities or submit the name of an organization or school. After submission, the Ethics and Compliance Office will then review the organization. Public schools are considered pre-approved. Additionally, volunteering for political activities is not allowed for this program.

Ben Bingle, director of the DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership, said he is excited for what the program could mean for the community.

“From larger organizations like the Voluntary Action Center and YMCA to smaller ones like Barb Food Mart and the Hinckley Historical Society, we have more than 130 member groups,” Bingle said in the release. “This provides an opportunity for them to leverage the vast range of talent at NIU, from the skills of building service workers, to information technology professionals.”