Tips for Grads: Make your mark on Madison

By Olivia Gacka, PhD Student

Whether you are from Madison, plan to stay here after graduation, or are just here for the duration of your graduate program, you have plenty of opportunities to make this city your own and leave your mark. If you want to spend some of your time contributing to the wider community, making connections with locals, or adding experience to your CV, is your answer! Monitored by United Way of Dane County, this is your one-stop shop for service and engagement opportunities in Madison. Here are some cool features of

  • Customization: The website contains a database for service opportunities in Madison that you can customize based on your interests and availability. And the options for customization are only limited to what you can think of. Only interested in working with animals? You can limit your search based on that. So busy that you can’t commit to anything but a few hours on January 30? You can narrow your search by date. There’s something out there for everyone.
  • Competency: Another way to make the most impact is to narrow your search not only by your interests, but also your skills. There are many opportunities on the site that are looking for people with specific skill sets, like social workers, people fluent in other languages, people who are good with kids, and social media masters. You may be sitting on some expertise that a local organization desperately needs!
  • COVID friendly: If you’re hoping to engage with the community but aren’t quite feeling up to being face-to-face yet, the site has a feature for letting you know when a service opportunity is virtual, distanced, or otherwise COVID-friendly. They also have a section of the landing page dedicated to tips for staying safe and compliant while volunteering. makes it so easy to find the perfect service opportunity for you in Madison. Whether you’re looking to give your afternoon or every week for a year, empower some kids, donate to an organization wish list, or just don’t know where to start, a browse through this site is well worth your time.

Tips for Grads is a professional and academic advice column written by graduate students for graduate students at UW­–Madison. It is published in the student newsletter, GradConnections Weekly.