Student Housing & Dining at Otterbein

Roommates quickly become friends and pizza parties on Wednesday nights turn into donut runs on Friday nights. Capture the flag, craft nights, movie nights, Midnight pancakes and more… Living on campus means you can do more than just attend Otterbein, you can live it!

As a residential campus, Otterbein expects all students to live in campus housing until their senior year unless they are living at home with their parents within a 30-mile radius of campus. Students wishing to commute from home or live off-campus as a senior, are asked to apply each spring semester by Feb. 1 for commuter or off-campus status. To learn more about the residency requirements, please visit page 63 of the Campus Life Handbook (PDF).

Housing on Campus

Make our campus your new home.

College isn’t all fun and games – you have to study and sleep, too! So why not do it on campus? Having friends just a few feet away, being able to sleep in a few more minutes because it’s a quick walk to class, having someone else prepare your meals and always having enough for all your buddies too, are jut a few reasons to live on campus!

All residence hall rooms accommodate 1-4 people and have both wired and wireless internet and phone connections. Every hall has at least one lounge area and on-site laundry facility.

A student’s housing agreement is in effect for the academic year (fall & spring semesters). The housing agreement does not provide accommodations during winter or summer breaks (this includes Cardinal, May term and summer). During winter break, students may keep their belongings in their room as long as they are returning to the room for spring semester. To find the current cost for housing options, please visit the Business Affairs website.

Otterbein has the following types of housing for students:

Traditional Residence halls
The majority of our residence hall rooms are traditional style halls with double bedrooms and shared bathrooms on the floor or wing. All new, first year students are assigned to traditional residence halls with roommates. Traditional halls are also open to sophomores, juniors and seniors during room selection which occurs during the spring semester. A limited number of single and triple rooms are available in select residence halls.

Suite-style Residence Halls
Suite-style halls feature two double bedrooms connected through a bathroom. During spring room selection, rising seniors, juniors and sophomores are able to select spaces in the suite-style halls with their choice of roommates. A limited number of singles with their own bathroom and doubles with their own private bathroom are available in our two suite-style halls.

The Commons Apartments
Rising junior and senior students may apply to live in these fully furnished apartments with 1 and 1/2 bathrooms and 2-4 bedrooms. The majority of apartments have four single bedrooms and are available for the academic year and preceding summer term.

Theme Houses
Returning students may apply to live in these residential houses for students who wish to promote their specific theme to the campus community. Each of the five theme houses hold 4-5 students in double and single bedrooms.

Winter Break & Summer Housing
At least one residence hall is open for summer housing and winter break housing. Students needing to be on campus during these breaks may sign up prior to the break and sign a special housing agreement for the break period. Daily fees for break housing are added to student accounts and payable during the break period.

All campus housing remains open during fall and spring break periods with no additional cost to the student.

To find the current cost for break housing, please visit the Business Affairs website.

Dining on Campus

Meal Plans

Otterbein offers four meal plans. Three plans (block plans) give you a number of meals to use in the Cardinal’s Nest and The OtterDen. Each plan also includes a number of Cardinal Dollars to be used in the OtterBean Café, The OtterDen, The Roost Express, or the Cardinal’s Nest. Meals do not carry over from term to term. Cardinal Dollars carry over from fall to spring semester, if a student maintains a full block meal plan. At the end of each semester, all leftover Meals are removed from the student’s account. At the end of each spring semester, all Meals and Cardinal Dollars are removed.

  • 210 Block Meal Plan & $150 Cardinal Dollars
  • 150 Block Meal Plan & $225 Cardinal Dollars
  • 120 Block Meal Plan & $260 Cardinal Dollars

Cardinal Plan

The fourth plan, the Cardinal Plan, provides one meal during each dining period (breakfast, brunch/lunch, dinner) each day with approximately 19 meals per week. This plan is best for a student who eats at regular times and wants to eat at least two and maybe three meals per day.

To find the current cost for each meal plan, see the Fee Schedule & Payment on the Business Affairs web site.

Otterbein’s dining service, Bon Appétit, prepares locally-produced, made-from-scratch food for fresh and flavorful meals. You can select from in-season fruits and vegetables; soups, sauces, and salad dressings made from scratch daily; cooked-to-order eggs and omelets for breakfast and a different made-to-order entrée each day for lunch.

By opting for locally-sourced foods and ingredients, we support the local economy, including Ohio farmers and dairies. We purchase fruits, vegetables, cage-free eggs, honey, cheese, free-range chickens, grass-fed beef, and ice cream in central Ohio. Even our “Otter Water” is bottled locally!

We give you healthy options at every meal; all are free of trans-fats and many are low in fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. Vegetarian entrées and sides also are available at each meal. Since we make most of our food from scratch, we can accommodate most special dietary needs with advance notice. Just contact the Director of Dining Services at 614-823-1880 for more information.

Accommodations for Disabilities

We value the social development and academic success that coincide with the residential experience and strive to make this possible for all students, including those with disabilities. We will engage in a process to offer solutions for on-campus housing and dining necessitated by a disability. Our goal is to ensure all students have the ability to safely and substantially attend classes, live and dine on campus and abide by university policy.

As a residential campus with a three-year housing requirement, reasonable accommodations are provided to students with disabilities who have a verifiable need for the reasonable accommodations. Medical documentation and preferences will be taken into consideration during the interactive process to but may not be equal to the final solutions offered by the university as appropriate on-campus accommodations meant to fulfill the disability-related need.

To begin the accommodation process, incoming, new students should review the Housing Accommodation Request Procedures, contact the Director of Residence Life to discuss their needs and submit the Request for Disability Related Housing Accommodations Treating Practitioner’s Disability Verification Form (PDF) by June 1 for fall semester accommodations and by November 1 for spring semester accommodations. Students with medically necessary dietary needs should review the Dining Accommodation Request Procedures and submit the Specialized Meal Plan Request for Medical Reasons request by August 1 for fall semester and December 1 for spring semester.

Requests for Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) must be submitted by June 1 for new, incoming fall residents, by November 1 for spring semester and by February 1 for returning students requesting the ESA for either summer or fall semester to allow for approval prior to housing selection/placement. Requests received after these deadlines will be considered for the following semester.

Students with academic accommodation needs should contact the Disability Services Coordinator in the Academic Support Center.

Residence Hall Linens & Care Packages

Residence Hall Linens Program

Otterbein University partners with Residence Hall Linens to provide students a convenient way to purchase XL twin sheets, mattress pads and comforters to fit campus mattresses. It’s easy to color-coordinate your whole room with your roommate, even if you live a few states away with a variety of color and pattern choices. You’ll also find storage options and decor for your new room, all shipped to you at home or school.

Care Packages all year long

Our Campus Market provides parents and families with a convenient way to remember their student with personalized notes and care packages all year long, ordered just once! Starting with a “Welcome to College” box arriving after the first few weeks on campus, the packages continue around Halloween, Valentine’s and Spring Break time. Packages for those with special dietary needs are available along with many more gift choices online.

Vaccination Information

The Ohio Revised Coded (ORC) Section 1713.55 states that beginning with the academic year that commences on or after July 1, 2005, an institution of higher education shall not permit a student to reside in on-campus housing unless the student (or parent if the student is younger than 18 years of age) discloses whether the student has been vaccinated against meningococcal disease and hepatitis B by submitting a meningitis and hepatitis B vaccination status statement.

Information on each disease, meningitis and hepatitis B, the risks associated with the diseases and the availability and effectiveness of the vaccines is available on the ODH website.

Please note this law does not require vaccination of the student, nor does it require the institution to provide or pay for these vaccines. It requires only disclosure of vaccine status of the student.

All students living in Otterbein University residence halls, theme houses and on-campus apartments will be required to disclose their vaccine status at check-in to the living unit if it has not been reported on the housing request form. Parents of students under age 18 will be required to sign the form.

More information on the Meningococcal and Hepatitis B Vaccination (PDF)