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Community Engagement at Capital University


For decades, Capital University has been an agent in shaping engaged citizens and purposeful leaders who improve their industries, communities, and society. Our roots secure us as we stretch toward innovation, new ways of knowing, and better ways of contributing. Our values ground us, as we remove obstacles to give each student, faculty, staff, community member, and neighbor a chance to do more, not less.

Building on our proven track record of high-impact teaching and learning practices, Capital amplifies experience-centered learning to deepen our impact, not only on our students, but also on our broader community. Through in- and out-of-class< community engagement, internships, community-based research and more, with particular focus on the Columbus community, students and faculty explore clear intersections among high-impact practices, social understanding, problem solving and neighborhood empowerment.

Defining Community Engagement

Capital University defines community engagement as a collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

Community Engagement Programs

Unless specifically indicated, interested parties can sign up for community engagement programs and projects through the SCE Linktree and Volunteer Interest Form.


The AIM (Advocate, Invest, and Mobilize) Program empowers students to actively participate in academic and cocurricular experience through a lens of community engagement, social justice, and civic responsibility. This inclusive community of learners will transform into resilient, ethical citizens and leaders, making meaningful contributions to their current and future communities. Students can be a one-time volunteer, all the way up to a Community Engagement Leader working with University faculty and staff and community partners to facilitate programs. Information about participation at each level is given below along with examples of the ways to be involved. Email or to learn more about how to participate in AIM.

America Reads

America Reads is a nationwide literacy program. We are making the call to Capital University students of all majors, faculty, and staff to make the commitment to give one on one attention to elementary level students who need assistance in improving their literacy skills. Spend 2-15 hours a week reading and doing homework with students from across the city. You’re guaranteed to learn a lot of patience and have fun in the process. Email for more information.

Apply to be a Tutor

The Cap Cupboard

Located in the Lower Level of the Student Union, the Cap Cupboard is Capital’s on campus food and resource center. Capital University strives to alleviate food insecurity amongst Capital community members by providing free and accessible food and hygiene items to those in need. The Cap Cupboard is also available to those who would benefit from a snack or a meal from there. Those who utilize the Cap Cupboard will be connected to resources on and off campus. 

Learn More About The Cap Cupboard

Cap Fam Day of Service

Our annual community engagement kickoff! In the fall of each academic year, team up with some friends (or make some new ones!) and serve with a community partner in Columbus. Information will be available at the beginning of fall semester each year about opportunities to serve.

Distinction Mentoring Program

Spend a couple of hours each Wednesday with students at Mifflin Middle School in this program designed to help 7th and 8th grade students create a greater sense of community amongst their peers, and a greater sense of self-respect individually. You will laugh, learn, and definitely make an impact on the students you’re working with. They’ll make quite the impact on you too. 

Saturday Services

Join us every third Saturday each month! Transportation is provided as we travel to different community partners throughout the Columbus area. During the 2023-2024 academic year, we will be partnering with the All-People’s Fresh Market and Community Development 4 All People. 

Second Chance Month

Second Chance Month is the national effort that for those who have been convicted of a crime, served their sentence, and have proven that they want to be a restored citizen, society should give them a second chance to live a life of good quality. As a religious and educational institution, Capital University recognizes the part it plays in successful reentry, to serve as an innovation for rehabilitation and reentry. We have been meeting with multiple agencies to be inclusive and to protect our community members, students, and campus members who have circulated through the criminal justice system. Every April, Capital University recognizes Second Chance Month to show our commitment to the initiative. 

Voter Education

Capital University has been nationally recognized for being a campus with high student participation in every voting season. We are dedicated to encouraging our students to become lifelong voters. We actively participate in multiple civic engagement holidays, including National Voter Registration Day, National Voter Education Week, Election Hero Day. We also give other opportunities for students to create a plan for voting, practice the voting process, and ensure that they have all the knowledge they need before going to vote. 

Winter Wear Drive & Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Each year, we light a giant Christmas tree on campus and Santa makes a special appearance. More importantly, we highlight a few of our community engagement partners and spend the month leading up to the Tree Lighting collecting coats and warm weather accessories to donate to the Open Shelter and other local partners. 

Faculty and Staff

Community Action Community of Practice

The Community Action (CA) Community of Practice identifies and shares best practices for curricular and co-curricular community engaged learning activities and serves as a resource for university and community members interested in developing partnerships. These shared practices and partnerships focus on specifically community engagement, civic engagement, and social justice. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend this biweekly meeting in person. Meeting day and times are to be determined. 

Community/Civic Engagement Course Designation

Capital has a long history of co-curricular and curricular community and civic engagement experiences. Consistent with our mission and strategic framework, increasing opportunities and institutionalizing best practices for students to participate in these activities is a priority. 

Faculty governance committees (i.e., the College Curriculum Committee and the Signature Learning Committee) have approved expectations and processes for designating courses as Community/Civically Engaged (CE). This designation will appear on WebAdvisor and in the Bulletin, allowing students to identify CE courses when they register.
The documents below provide guidelines and a checklist for creating a new course or designating an existing course as community/civically engaged. These materials are also available on CapPoint at CE Course Designation Guidelines. If you currently teach or would like to teach a class that includes a significant community engagement component, please review these guidelines and submit your syllabus for review. Nate Jackson (, a veteran of teaching community engaged courses, amongst others, are available to help answer questions and provide other support as needed. 
Although at least 25% of course activities and assessments must be tied to community/civic engagement in order to receive the CE designation, there is evidence of student learning and community impact with smaller projects. Sherry and Nate, in partnership with the Office of Student and Community Engagement, can work with you to incorporate community/civic engagement as a smaller portion of your courses as well.
As you prepare syllabi and begin planning, please use these guidelines for any courses that contain community/civic engagement components. Materials may be submitted to  

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

The mission of Capital University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) is to use the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) to support transformative student learning by providing education and resources to faculty and staff. 

Learn More About CELT

Working with a Community Partner

If you are looking with a community partner, whether it is on a semester long project incorporated into your academic course in the past five years, we would love to know. Please use the form below to share more about any of your current or past community partnerships and community engagement experiences. 

Share My Experience

Community Partners

Value of Community Partnerships

Here at Capital University, we treasure the relationships we have made with different groups in the surrounding Bexley and Columbus communities. We treasure the opportunities our community members have given us to learn, to teach each other how to properly advocate for our communities and work together to ensure a better quality of life for all. Our community partners are always welcome on campus and invited to fellowship with us. 

Get Involved with Capital

Ongoing Community Partnerships

  • First English Lutheran Church
  • Community Development for all People
  • Mifflin Middle School
  • The Open Shelter
  • Sullivant Gardens Recreation Center
  • Beatty Recreation Center
  • Barnett Recreation Center
  • Columbus Metropolitan Libraries
  • League of Women Voters of Metro Columbus
  • Franklin County Board of Elections
  • Columbus Starhouse and Carol Stewart Village
  • Ohio Historical Center
  • East High School
  • Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections