How to get started
Who can volunteer
Anyone is welcome — volunteers are not required to have any previous experience. Volunteers can choose to volunteer in either:
- Recycling room – take apart old electronics and sort the components into buckets for recycling.
- Computer refurbishing room – refurbish usable computers, test computer parts, test other electronics
All volunteers are asked to attend an orientation (see below for description). Those who are very new to computer hardware and would like to refurbish computers, are asked to attend our Intro to computer hardware class.
Orientation (required for all volunteers)
When: every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, from 1:30pm to 1:45pm – no appointment required, you can just show up
Description: During orientation volunteers will learn the basics of Free Geek operations. Every volunteer is required to complete an orientation.
Intro to computer hardware class (for volunteers new to computer hardware)
When: every Saturday from 12:15pm to 12:30pm, no apointment required
Description: An introductory class where volunteers can learn the bare basics of computer hardware. People who can identify main PC components and their purposes can skip this class.
Tour of the facility (optional for everyone)
When: every Saturday from 1pm to 1:20pm, no appointment required
Description: This is an introductory tour to Free Geek Twin Cities facility. Includes quick history of Free Geek, the tour of each Free Geek room and quick introduction of Free Geek’s operations.
Normal volunteer hours
- Wednesday: noon to 5 pm
- Saturday: noon to 5 pm
- Sunday: noon to 5 pm
Volunteers under the age of 16
Volunteers of any age are welcome, but if you are under 16 years old we ask that you come in with a parent or other adult.
If you have question about volunteering, send us a question via the Contact form.
Hands on Experience with IT
There are many reasons people choose to spend their time at Free Geek. Absolutely no previous experience is required for new volunteers — everyone is welcome. Volunteering in our Recycling, Test or Build areas can be a rich opportunity for hands-on education which is in line with Free Geek’s mission of countering the digital divide. It’s also simply a chance to have a lot of fun and hang out with great people!
Free Geek is a great place to build work-related skills and job experience. Since Free Geek does not require any level of experience from new volunteers, it can be a great way to acquire a new set of skills. You’ll work with basic hardware components, PXE booting, and the various procedures used in our Recycling, Testing and Build rooms. Free Geek is also happy to help with job references for regular volunteers — just let us know if you’re interested in this when you come in and we’ll set you up with a supervisor who can give an informed recommendation.
Others come to Free Geek looking for a more regular and committed volunteer experience in the form of an internship. Some are fulfilling a requirement for a school or other institution, while others simply want to put their skills to use in a helpful and resume-building way. Check out our internship program for more information about this opportunity — anyone can intern!
And, of course, many volunteer simply because they think the work our organization is doing is important. With Free Geek, you can help make sure electronics are ethically recycled and provide organizations and individuals with access to affordable equipment. Check out our awesome Mission Statement and get involved!
In the past we’ve had groups of employees setting up such an event as an outing or to take advantage of company allocated volunteering time. We also had schools and colleges setting up event to give the students opportunity to learn more about computer hardware and to introduce the students to the concept of responsible recycling. The feedback we always get is that people had a lot of fun and learned at the same time!
We have an opportunity for a group of people (can be a group of employees, class of students, etc) to come volunteer and each group member can choose to:
* Take apart some electronic components – some groups prefer to work together on one large item, such as a large printer or old industrial computer; some groups prefer to work on individual tasks
* Learn how to refurbish a computer – this includes learning computer components, testing of components and installing Linux operating system
The event will start with a short orientation where staff will give a short intro to how the recycling / refurbishing process works in Free Geek and will give a tour of entire facility. Free Geek staff will be there to guide the group in the tasks they choose to do.
Available time is generally Thursday or Friday during Free Geek’s business hours (noon to 5pm).
To setup a group volunteering event, please send us a message through our Contact Form