Student Volunteer Programs at Otterbein

At Otterbein University’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE), we believe that even small acts can change the world. And we believe that there are many ways to change the world. So we offer a variety of volunteer opportunities in areas that range from planting trees to tutoring children, and from walking dogs to scrapbooking with senior citizens. For those who want to volunteer a few hours each term, and for those who want to volunteer several hours each week, the Center for Community Engagement sponsors service programs, community plunges, and several service projects that benefit campus and local communities. Check out the CCE programs and get involved today!

America Reads

This nationally renowned, weekly after-school tutoring program helps Avalon Elementary second-graders with reading skills. Student volunteers are trained by an Avalon Elementary School staff member to learn effective methods of literacy education. Volunteers help the second-grade students with vocabulary, grammar, and reading fluency. At the end of each quarter, there is a celebration to recognize the students’ and volunteers’ accomplishments. For more information or to volunteer, contact the CCE.

Association of Fundraising Professionals

AFP, the Association of Fundraising Professionals is a student organization that introduces students to all aspects of nonprofit organizations while encouraging them to explore skill sets relating to fundraising, volunteerism and philanthropy. It also provides training and networking with non-profit professionals in the Columbus area. For more information, contact the CCE.

The Beat (Bringing Education & Advocacy Together) For Music

This service organization is for students who understand the importance of music in the everyday lives of children and want to promote the future of music in our schools. Through service, the BEAT will promote awareness of the funding decline for music in the public schools and will ensure that every child has the opportunity to play an instrument. Instrument petting zoos, musical games, and Otterbein student performances are all different activities that the music the BEAT will utilize to promote its cause in the community. For more information, contact the CCE.


Otterbein male mentors help middle school young men develop the skills needed to go out into the world to lead and make a difference.  For more information, contact the CCE.

Campus Girl Scouts

Campus Girl Scouts is an active chapter of the Girl Scouts organization that welcomes new members. Members act as facilitators and mentors in Sister2Sister, a monthly program designed for teenage girls at Westerville South High School. Through various badge earning activities, the Sister2Sister program strives to help the girls cultivate their full potential and prepare them to become confident, courageous, and compassionate young women.

Club Whittier

Volunteers give after-school homework help to fourth- and fifth-grade students at Whittier Elementary School. Volunteers and students also participate in fun activities and games designed to develop academic curiosity, leadership skills, community awareness, creativity, and teamwork. For more information or to volunteer, contact the CCE.

Girls' Clubs

Girls’ Clubs provide middle school girls the opportunity to come together to talk with college mentors about pressing topics that young girls face today. Mentors facilitate fun and interactive skits, simulations, games, and chat circles.  Girls journal with a mentor each week and learn that they are part of a world much bigger than middle school. To get involved contact the CCE.

Grandma’s House

This program brings students and senior citizens together at the Friendship Village to foster inter-generational understanding through recreational activities, themed parties, and bingo games. To learn more or to volunteer, contact the CCE.

Habitat For Humanity

The campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity International enables and encourages students to combat poverty housing issues. The three main functions of the organization include building, fund-raising, and education the community. For more information or to volunteer, contact Chaplain Judy Guion-Utsler .

Otterbein Animal Coalition (OAC)

This program partners with local humane shelters, including Citizens for Humane Action and the Franklin County Dog Shelter, to visit, socialize, and care for pets without parents. For more information, contact the CCE.

Plan-It Earth

This program takes an activist approach to addressing environmental issues, with a focus on fostering environmentally friendly practices and awareness on campus and in the community. Plan-It Earth plans activities that encourage and challenge Otterbein students to make steps to reduce, re-use, and recycle. This group also plans activities to give back to our earth, such as picking up litter, planning recycling projects and initiatives, and volunteering at Otterbein Lake.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the CCE.

Raise Your Voice

Raise Your Voice is a national program to encourage civic participation among both students and community members. This organization sponsors “coffee talks” on current issues and is involved in several events that highlight the importance of being a responsible citizen. Check out the “Vote Naked” initiative and get involved! To learn more or to volunteer, contact the CCE.


Help make the Otterbein Community Garden a beautiful space for all involved! To get more information or to volunteer, contact the CCE.

Sports Pals

Volunteers work with Avalon Elementary students after school to promote good sportsmanship and character through fun and games. For more information or to volunteer, contact the CCE.


This mentoring program uses an African concept of community to teach students that preparation for college and commitment to others through mentoring greatly contributes to their community as a whole. Volunteers meet with students to reflect and discuss topics such as goals, obstacles, purpose, and relationships. Volunteers work one-on-one with the students from surrounding high schools and middle schools to expose them to a college environment and promote positive behavior and a positive view of their futures. In the program, diary entries from students and volunteers come together in the Ubuntu Diary, which is distributed to participants. For more information or to volunteer, contact John Kengla.

One-Time Service Events

Community Plunges
Dive into service! Community Plunges are one-day events to engage participants in service and reflection as they help neighboring communities with short-term beautification projects, mailings, clean-ups, landscaping, and other organizational initiatives. Plunges enable students to learn about the community’s needs and make a difference. The Center for Community Engagement coordinates three community plunges each year for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. If you are a community partner interested in hosting volunteers at your site for a plunge, then contact us.

Alternative Service Breaks
Use your spring and winter breaks to help others! The Center for Community Engagement hosts Alternative Service Breaks to reach out in service to communities outside central Ohio, including regions struck by poverty or natural disasters. Past Alternative Service breaks have taken Otterbein students to New Orleans to assist in post-Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts, Nicaragua to help at Bradley’s House of Hope, orphanages and hospitals, and to Appalachia to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Contact Judy Guion-Utsler in the Chaplain’s Office if you would like more information about Habitat for Humanity or CCE for information about international service trips.

CardinalCorps Leaders

The CardinalCorps Leaders are a dedicated group of Otterbein students that demonstrate a desire to serve the community, excel in academic scholarship, and act as leaders of volunteerism on campus. Twenty students from all class years coordinate weekly service programs, from working with kids to working with homeless pets. CardinalCorps Leaders also lead their peers in one-time service events, including community plunges and the MLK Day of Service. Interested in being a CardinalCorps Leader? Apply for the scholarship today!

Student Grants and Fellowships

We support all those who want to be leaders in service and want to make that dream possible for everyone. There are grants and fellowships available for those who want to lead service projects of their own. One of those grants available through the Center for Community Engagement is:

You can make a difference just by donating your time! Each year, Otterbein students donate over 70,000 hours to community service.