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Service opportunity platform connects Emory community to its mission

The Emory OPEN online platform helps members of the Emory community find, attend and track community service opportunities across the metro Atlanta area.

Emory students, faculty, staff and alumni can coordinate high-impact service opportunities through one easy-to-use platform. Emory Opportunity, Partnership and Engagement Network (OPEN) is the central hub that connects the metro Atlanta area with the Emory community.

“So many fantastic service opportunities are happening across campus, and, without Emory OPEN, there isn’t an easy way for us to locate those opportunities and identify similar initiatives that are happening across all schools and units,” says Brandon Gardner, associate director of community engagement. “Emory OPEN helps facilitate collaboration and build relationships between community partners and Emory faculty, students and staff while tracking our civic and community engagement through volunteer hours, objective goals, insights, charts, heatmaps and testimonials.”

Emory OPEN has comprehensive capabilities that allow members to communicate through message boards; announce volunteer opportunities; approve and edit projects, events and partnership activities; manage groups, events and volunteers to measure results aligned with Emory's mission; and monitor the influence of work through data collection, which means it can track and evaluate each activity's effectiveness.

“We used Emory OPEN to manage all of our volunteers for Staff Fest in 2022, which is a large undertaking with multiple volunteer roles and shifts,” says Melissa Morgan, senior manager of recognition and engagement. “Emory OPEN was great because it sent auto-reminders to volunteers and managed any changes or cancellations, which saved me time. Nearly all of our volunteers showed up for their shifts which was a great surprise!”

Logging community engagement hours is just one feature of Emory OPEN. In addition, users can register campus and community members for public lectures, free community programming, community-based research and community-engaged learning projects. The platform also can track any service to nonprofit organizations.

Members of Emory University’s finance department volunteering with Books for Africa.

“Emory OPEN is a multi-faceted engagement management tool that we use in all of our programs throughout the Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCE),” says James Roland, senior director of CCE. “Our community’s collective use of Emory OPEN will help us fulfill our shared mission ‘to create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in service to humanity.’”

Emory OPEN supports Emory’s Community Engagement Strategy. Launched in 2021, the Community Engagement Strategy aligns Emory’s vision, mission, strategic framework and institutional values with purposeful and measurable community engagement efforts. Its goal is to ensure the intentional use of our research, scholarship, and human capital — including faculty, staff, students and alumni — as well as our economic influence by focusing our efforts on the greatest need areas.

To get started using Emory OPEN, go to or click the Self Log-in button at the top of the Emory OPEN page. After logging in with an active Emory NetID, users can set up account information, including the causes they care about and the skills they possess. By filling out profile information, groups can identify and reach out to volunteers with relevant interests.

“One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi is, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,’” says Gardner. “When I think of this quote, I am reminded how many of us at Emory, either as individuals or collectively as a team, are living Emory’s mission through our ‘service of humanity.’ My hope is that having this engagement tool will allow us to better unite so that we can make a difference in our community and create a lasting legacy that will inspire others to do the same.”

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