MSU Extension Volunteer Code of Conduct


March 23, 2022

This document has the volunteer code of conduct, a media release and a medical form. This online version is available for reference only; the signing of these materials must be completed via MSU Extension's Volunteer Central. 

MSU Extension Volunteer Code of Conduct

As an MSU Extension volunteer, I promise that I will:

  • Represent MSU Extension with dignity and pride and be a positive role model.
  • Respect, follow, and enforce the rules, policies, and guidelines established by local and state MSU Extension programs.
  • Conduct myself in a courteous, respectful manner, exhibit good sportsmanship, and demonstrate reasonable conflict management skills in dealings with other program participants and MSU Extension staff members.
  • I will be mindful of the health concerns of myself and others by not attending meetings or events if I am sick, practicing good hygiene such as regular handwashing, wearing a mask when I feel necessary, respecting others desire to wear a mask and comply with social distancing when requested by others.
  • Respect the privacy of persons served by the organization and hold in confidence sensitive, private and personal information. 
  • Accept supervision and support from MSU Extension staff or designated management volunteers.
  • Abstain from harassment or bullying of another volunteer, participant, or staff member (either in face-to-face interactions, through social media or other communication venues), on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. If I observe this behavior at any time, I will file a report with MSU police and any other authority required by the university reporting protocols. I will also contact a MSU Extension staff person immediately. If it is an emergency, I will call 911.
  • Use technology and social media in an appropriate manner that reflects the best practices and expectations outlined in the “Social Media and Texting Expectations for Michigan State University Volunteers” guide.
  • Comply with MSU Extension's equal opportunity and antidiscrimination laws and policies, as well as all federal, state and local laws.
  • Under no circumstances, provide alcohol or illegal drugs to any minor.
  • Under no circumstances, attend or participate in an MSU Extension activity or event under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances, including marijuana.
  • Refrain from the use of tobacco, tobacco products and vaping (including electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices), while serving in a volunteer capacity at MSU Extension activities.
  • Not provide prescription drugs or any medication to any minor. I understand only individuals who are medical professionals specifically authorized by the parent or legal guardian as being required for the minor’s care or emergency treatment are authorized to provide medication to minors.
  • Not possess firearms on my person at an MSU Extension event or activity and will keep personal firearms in a secure location when hosting an MSU Extension event or activity on my property. The exception to this policy is when certified 4-H Shooting Sports program volunteers are using discipline-specific firearms (such as BB, air pellet, .22, shotgun, muzzleloader and air pistol) for educational, demonstration, and competition uses only and must comply with the policies and practices of the Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program. This exception only applies during the period that the firearms are in use for 4-H Shooting Sports educational, demonstration and competition purposes, and does not allow 4-H Shooting Sports volunteers to possess firearms for other purposes in conjunction with MSU Extension-sponsored programs. For more information on the MSU Extension and MSU firearms policies, see the “Firearms (All Employees and Volunteers)” section of the MSU Extension Administrative Handbook and the MSU Firearms Policy, respectively.
  • Treat all animals with respect and obey federal, state, and local laws pertaining to animal treatment.
  • Operate machinery, vehicles and other equipment in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Not make sexual materials in any form available to minors or assist them in any way in gaining access to such materials.
  • Report violations of the MSU Extension Volunteer Code of Conduct and arrests (of yourself or of another MSU Extension volunteer) to an MSU Extension staff member or the person in charge of the program.
  • Not retaliate against individuals, including minors, families, parents, guardians, MSU Extension staff members or other volunteers, who report allegations of inappropriate conduct (including but not limited to abuse; neglect; assault; harassment; sexual assault, abuse, or harassment; possessing child pornography or providing it to a minor; furnishing alcohol, drugs, or sexual materials to a minor; and violations of the MSU antidiscrimination policy).

Michigan 4-H Volunteer Code of Conduct Addendum

I promise that I will:

  • Make reasonable efforts to avoid one-on-one contact between adults and minors participating in youth programs; make reasonable efforts to avoid communications with a single minor; and include MSU Extension staff members and minors’ parents or guardians in communications with minors whenever possible.
  • Under no circumstances, possess, sell or consume alcohol or controlled substances, including marijuana, at a Michigan 4-H activity or event.

Extension Master Gardener Program Participant Code of Conduct Addendum:

I promise that I will:

  • Provide unbiased, research-based information consistent with MSU and other land-grant university recommendations.
  • Refrain from possessing and using marijuana or advising on the cultivation of marijuana while serving as an MSU Extension Master Gardener volunteer.
  • Abide by the Pesticide Recommendation Policy.
  • Accept the MSU Extension Master Gardener Program Staff and Volunteer Agreement.

Health and Nutrition Institute Volunteer Code of Conduct Addendum:

I promise that I will:

  • Share only research-based information with participants, while keeping personal opinions and actions separate from those made as a representative of this organization.
  • Not provide medical nutrition or nutrition therapy information, only information from approved curriculums.

Michigan Conservation Stewards Program Code of Conduct Addendum:

I promise that I will:

  • Provide unbiased, research-based information consistent with MSU and other land-grant university recommendations.
  • Abide by the Pesticide Recommendation Policy.
  • Accept the MSU Extension Michigan Conservation Stewards Program Staff and Volunteer Agreement.


It is expected that all MSU Extension volunteers comply with the MSU Extension Code of Conduct. Failure to comply with any component of the code or participation in other inappropriate conduct as determined by MSU Extension representatives may lead to dismissal as a volunteer from the MSU Extension program.

MSU Extension Volunteer Evaluation Acknowledgement

As a Michigan State University Extension volunteer, you may be asked to help with the evaluation of the program. You may be asked to complete a short survey about what you learned or did as a result of the program. Surveys could be given before the program begins and/or after the program has ended. Surveys typically take no more than 10 minutes to complete. All surveys are confidential. You are not required to participate in a survey. If you do not wish to participate, it will not affect involvement in any programs of Michigan State University. If you do not want to participate in program evaluations or have questions about the evaluation, contact your local coordinator at the MSU Extension Office. I understand that program evaluations are completely voluntary.

  • I have read and understand Michigan State University Extension’s evaluation acknowledgement.

MSU Extension Volunteer Media Release

I authorize Michigan State University Extension to record my image and/or voice for use by Michigan State University Extension or its assignees in research, education, and promotional programs. I understand and agree that these audio, video, film, and/or print images may be edited, duplicated, distributed, reproduced, broadcasted, and/or reformatted in any form and manner without payment of fees in perpetuity.

  • I agree.
  • I do not agree.

MSU Extension Volunteer Medical Information

The following medical information will only be used in the event of an emergency.

  • Do you have any chronic health issues or illnesses that we should know about?
  • Do you have any allergies to medication or local anesthetics?

MSU Extension Volunteer Medical Treatment Authorization

I recognize that while attending this program, I might require medical treatment on an emergency basis and may be unable to give consent. I do hereby consent in advance to such emergency care, including hospital care, as may be deemed necessary under the circumstances and to assume the expenses of such care. I also authorize the medical facility to release any and all information required to complete insurance claims and also authorize insurance payment directly to the medical facility.


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