Logging Hours

Students are responsible for carefully tracking and recording their community-engagement hours and for providing descriptions of the activities. Hours are tracked in our online system at CSL.umn.edu. Hours will be verified directly by community organization supervisors online.

In regards to the 20 hour rule, students can and should begin logging hours as soon as they start with an organization, but students must have a minimum of 20 hours with the organization by the time the student decides to end their engagement. 

How To Track Hours Online

  1. Log in to our secure system at www.csl.umn.edu. Your username and password are your x500 and student ID.
  2. Before you can log hours, you must create a position.
  3. On the left hand side, click "positions," then "start a new position."
  4. Use the drop down to search for your organization. If you don't find your organizaition, we recommend searching under different names. For example, the University of Minnesota Medical Center is listed under "M" for M Health. The Hope Lodge is listed under American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. If you're still unable to find your organization, you can enter the necessary information. Click "continue."
  5. Choose your supervisor. It might not always be the person who is training you or doing orientation, often times it is the volunteer coordinator for the whole organization. If your supervisor is not listed you can enter their information. Please make sure you have the correct email address since this is where the system will send your timesheets. Click "continue."
  6. Enter the corresponding information for when you started. For the month you should count orientation and/or training as your first day. ALWAYS enter 1 for the day, regardless of when you started. Leave the end date blank.
  7. Choose your position from the list. Again, if your position isn't listed, you can enter the appropriate information. Click "continue."
  8. After submitting your position, you'll receive an email stating whether your position has been accepted. If your position is accepted, you may begin logging hours online. If it is rejected, you'll receive an additional email from Scholars Program staff. You must create multiple positions if you have more than one community engagement experience you'd like to track. If you have two different positions with one organization, you should create two different positions. Ex: You volunteer as a housewarmer and classroom helper with Ronald McDonald House, you should have one position for housewarmer and a different one for classroom helper.

Once your position has been accepted, you can log hours.

  1. From your homepage, on the left hand side, click "manage hours," then click "view, add, and submit hours." Select a position from the drop down.
  2. Click on the day you want to log hours. Choose the day you want to log hours and beneath it click "add hours for...." enter the necessary information.
  3. Choose the "type" of hours. Restricted = paid hours (job, paid internship), Unlimited = everything else, including community engaged learning course hours.
  4. If you will be logging additional hours that week, "save, but do not submit the timesheet." If you are done logging hours for the week, "save and submit the timesheet." Make sure to check the box that all the hours are correct to your knowledge. Once you submit your timesheet you will not be able to make changes or edits. If you realize you have made a mistake, please call 612-626-2044 as soon as possible.
  5. Timesheets can be submitted weekly or monthly, but all timesheets for the semester must be submitted by the following dates below. While hours need to be submitted by the following dates, they may be approved by the organization after the date. As long as you have submitted the hours, you do not need to worry about when they will be approved. The Scholars Program staff will monitor submitted activities and urge supervisors to approve hours or reserve the right to reject those that do not fit the parameters of the program.

—Fall Semester: December 21
—Winter Break / Spring Semester: May 16
—Summer Hours: September 14

Logging Hours Abroad/Outside the Twin Cities Area

Students should always meet with a program advisor before completing program requirement abroad. Please download the following google sheet to track hours with an orgaization outside the Twin Cities area and abroad. If traveling to an area without internet access, students should download and print the form before departure.

Balancing Commitment and Experience: The 20 Hour Rule

In order to ensure that the Community Engagement Scholar and the host organization receive the greatest benefit possible, participants in the program are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours at each community organization. Sustained commitments made by a student to an organization over an extended period of time (6 months to a year) will generate the greatest amount of learning and community benefit. We also encourage students to work with at least two different types of organizations throughout their participation in the Scholars Program. This is also in preparation for the capstone experience in which students will be asked to complete a community engagement project in partnership with an organization.

*Volunteering 4 hours a month with Feed My Starving Children for 1 year = 48 hours, would satisfy the 20 hour rule, whereas a one time event with Feed My Starving Children would not.

What Counts Towards Hours?

Engagement experiences must be completed with a nonprofit, public agency, or student organization that addresses social issues and community needs. The following are examples of what can count.

Volunteer Engagement

  • Direct volunteer experiences: mentoring, tutoring, packing and delivering food, visiting the elderly
  • Indirect volunteer experiences (behind the scenes): creating brochures or flyers, fundraising, participating in urban renewal project such as mural painting

Advocacy Engagement

  • Conducting nonpartisan voter registration drives
  • Door knocking to support policies/legislation 

Research Engagement

Research on or off campus can count towards the program as long as the research addresses social issues and community needs. Research with a professor or UofM lab should have direct connections to a nonprofit, public agency, or community organization

  • UROP project to test drinking water quality in low income housing with Hennepin County 
  • Research thesis addressing culturally appropriate prenatal care with Planned Parenthood 
  • Volunteering with a UofM lab employing comumunity-engaged research methods, such as Program in Health Disparaties Research

Internship/ Work Engagement

Community engagement done through a paid/unpaid internship or job may count towards the program as long as the organization is a nonprofit or public agency that addresses social issues and community needs. 

  • Paid tutoring position with America Reads
  • Unpaid internship as a communications specialist with Dress for Success
  • Job coaching youth sports with Parks and Rec 

Unusable Hours

Students may not record:

  • Work done as part of a for-profit organization
  • Court-mandated community service
  • Service completed independent of an established organization
  • Religious instruction 
  • Work thtat only involves the UofM campus community i.e. Welcome Week Leaders, Orientation Leaders, Admission Ambassadors

*Community engagement on campus may be considered if there is an office campus connection or is part of a larger social issuse. E.G. The student group PERIOD.MN focuses on destigmatizing menstruation and providing menstrual care products to local communities in need. 

Hours Abroad/ Outside the Twin Cities Area

Students can complete community engagement hours abroad or outside the Twin Cities area. Experiences must meet the same guideines for hours completed in the Twin Cities. Students should always meet with a program advisor before completing program requirement abroad. 

  • Hours must be completed in partnership with a nonprofit/NGO, public agency that meets a need in the commnunity. Hours must meet the 20 hour rule. 
  • Research must be directly linked to a nonprofit/NGO, public agency that meets a need in the community. 
  • Learning abroad experiences (hours, internships, research) must be verifiable by the organization or the Learning Abroad Center. 

Different Types of Hours


  • Engagement performed through a non-profit, public agency, or student organization that meets a need in the broader community (i.e. beyond the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities).*
  • Unpaid internships with non-profit or public agencies
  • Engagement through a faith-based organization that benefits the broader community (e.g. working in an after-school program, food shelf, homeless shelter)
  • Involvement through a non-partisan political organization (e.g. Progressive MN, Sierra Club)
  • Hours completed for a community-engaged learning course
  • Meeting, planning, and set-up hours (indirect engagement), provided these preparations are for a service that will benefit the broader community, beyond the University.

Restricted Hours:
Students may record up to 200 total hours in the restricted category:

  • Paid service (through work-study, a paid internship, or a job with a nonprofit or public agency)
  • Involvement through a partisan political organization (e.g., DFL, Republican party)