Ohio Christian University strives to serve the community through volunteer and academic programs

Mark Smith, president, Ohio Christian University

Medical Mutual 2011 Pillar Award
for Community Service — Columbus

Ohio Christian University, led by president Mark Smith, is one of the fastest-growing universities in Ohio. Over the past six years, enrollment has grown from 400 to more than 2,400. With increased size comes increased clout in the community. And OCU strives to use its clout to give back to the community, through community and academic endeavors.

A community action day is among the community programs at OCU. The program centers on a dedicated day of service provided by the staff, faculty and students. Service programs include repair and maintenance assistance to neighboring citizens in need, along with community cleanup projects for the city of Circleville and Pickaway County and beautification projects for those who are unable to complete maintenance on their homes and property.

OCU also coordinates a Kids on Campus program, which is offered to the entire community and allows families to send their children to an educational summer program in a safe and Christian environment. The highly structured program allows OCU students to give back to the community by teaching, tutoring and facilitating athletic activities for community children.

On the academic side, OCU offers degrees in several areas of study that focus not just on academic development, but an increased emphasis on community service as well. The areas of study include an agri-business degree program and an emergency response/disaster recovery degree.

The agri-business degree program is specialized toward the development of the agricultural industry through opportunities to work with area farmers on a volunteer basis. Students serve the local farming community while receiving an education in their field of study.

The emergency response/disaster recovery degree program offers one of the rarest degrees in the nation ― an emergency response degree. As part of the program curriculum, students have the opportunity to serve the community during real-life disasters at no cost to the community. In addition, OCU is in the process of securing an emergency response vehicle that will broaden the volunteer response area within the community.

How to reach: Ohio Christian University, (877) 762-8669 or www.ohiochristian.edu