Humanitarian Crisis Simulation | Volunteer

The Humanitarian Crisis Simulation is an immersive learning experience where participants respond to a simulated international humanitarian crisis. During the simulation, dozens of volunteers play a number of roles to bring the simulation to life for the participants. Volunteers develop insight into global refugee camp situations in this unique opportunity.

    2019 Humanitarian Simulation Volunteer Details

    Planning is underway for the 2020 simulation. The details below are from the May 2019 Simulation, and will be updated soon.

    Save the Date

    May 15-17, 2020
    Hudson, Wisconsin

    Volunteer Positions

    Role Players

    Many volunteers are needed as role players as we transform Camp St Croix into a patchwork of simulated refugee camps. The majority of role players will be refugees, but other roles include affected villagers, local government officials, hospital patients, militia members, and UN staff. You can expect to learn a lot from your experience and have fun connecting with your fellow volunteers. Prior experience not required. Individuals with acting skills encouraged to join in this role.

    Administrative and Logistical Support

    Volunteers are needed to help facilitate paperwork, logistics, and general support both onsite at the simulation and in the weeks prior. Email to inquire.

    Special Volunteers

    Individuals with experience in humanitarian crisis response may be able to fill specialized roles within the simulation. Email to inquire.


    Volunteer Orientation

    There will be a Volunteer Orientation on Monday, May 6, 2019 - 5:30pm to 6:30pm at Macalester College. See the details here.

    Simulation Weekend

    The simulation takes place May 18-19, 2019 in Hudson, Wisconsin. Volunteers are encouraged to commit for both Saturday and Sunday, but single day opportunities are available.

    • For volunteers who choose to stay overnight on Friday, May 17, there will be some orientation activities and a volunteer campfire in the late evening. More details to come. 
    • Saturday, May 18, 8 am to 6:30 pm (check-in begins at 7:30 am)
    • Sunday, May 19, 8 am to 2 pm (check-in begins at 7:30 am)
    • Special, logistical, and administrative volunteers may also be needed for Friday, May 17.
    • Optional activities for those staying over night: For those joining us for Friday and/or Saturday nights, there will be optional activities including a Friday night camp tour and learning opportunities on Saturday night. Both nights, there will be a volunteer campfire with snacks, and free time for hiking, star gazing or chatting.


    Setting and backdrop

    Role players will be outside for the duration of the simulation (including inclement weather) in primitive conditions. They will work together to use the resources at hand to stay warm and dry (including tarps, small shelters, campfires, creativity, etc). Volunteer Role Players assume the identity of their assigned role, and interact with the students who are acting as responders. Role players are given scripts with various details, but also should be comfortable with inconsistencies, lack of information, and some chaos. You can expect to learn a lot from your experience and have fun connecting with your fellow volunteers. Prior experience not required. Individuals with acting skills encouraged to join in this role.

    Accommodation options and prices

    Volunteers are not required to stay overnight at camp and may commute from home daily. Accommodation is available Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 for the following rates:

    • Shared cabin accommodation at Camp St. Croix. Cabins have bunk beds, electricity, and heat. You must bring your own bedding. - $36/person/night
    • Camp at Camp St Croix: We have a limited number of camping spots at right at Camp St. Croix. Campers must provide their own tents. The price is $20 total per person for both nights.


    Meals are provided for volunteers from Saturday breakfast through Sunday lunch. Meals are basic and are intended to represent a realistic crisis situation. They will include MREs and grab-and-go options. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options will be available, but we are unable to accommodate complex special meal requests. You are welcome to bring food if you have special dietary concerns.


    Volunteers need to arrange their own transportation to the simulation site. Camp is approximately 45 minutes from both the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus and the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. If needed, we can help make connections for carpooling.

    What to Bring

    A full packing list will be provided closer to the simulation dates and includes items such as sleeping bag, flashlight, water bottle, camp chair, and layered clothing for varying weather conditions (e.g., rain/snow, sunshine/cloudy, warm/cold).

    Note: All volunteers are responsible for any costs incurred; organizers cannot reimburse expenses associated with participation.


    We have closed volunteer registration.


    We welcome groups of volunteers in 2020. If you are interested in registering as a group, contact us first for instructions at

    Participant Registration

    If interested in registering as a participant/learner, return to the main Humanitarian Crisis Simulation page for details.

    Special Volunteer & Facilitation Roles

    In addition to the roles outlined above, we seek experienced professionals join the facilitation team to advance/enhance aspects of the scenario and expand the in-simulation learning activities. Current needs include:

    • Role players that speak French or Arabic
    • Experienced actors - to serve as Lead Actor. Stipend available. Contact Amy at for details.
    • Sphere Humanitarian Standards: Shelter & Settlement

    If interested and qualified, or have other expertise you might think would be beneficial, please email Amy at