Office of Student Life

Social Change

About Us


Social Change prioritizes and empowers surrounding communities through mentorship, leadership development, access, and neighborhood engagement. Our comprehensive programming collaborates with individuals and families facing generational poverty by mobilizing university resources, both human and fiscal, to advance the well-being of humanity.

Social Change

Student Life’s Social Change department works to connect Ohio State students with volunteer engagements on campus and in the surrounding community. Social Change focuses specifically on programming for individuals, families, and communities, facing poverty. The Social Change programmatic thrust is demonstrated through organizing, advocacy, economic development, philanthropy, leadership development, participatory research, socially responsive behavior, and formal action. Social Change Student Ambassadors provide direct service, administer curriculum, and recruit hundreds of volunteers.  Social Change honors the diversity of human experience through sustained relationships, knowledge sharing, and inclusivity.

There are various systemic barriers that impact generational poverty, our collaborative efforts specifically address educational disparities within the community and are executed by undergraduate, graduate and professional students in sustained volunteer commitments. Social Change focuses on youth development in the context of education advancement and access. We also assist, collaborate with, and support various community partners in their holistic neighborhood transformation efforts within the city and state.

Social Change was launched in 2012 by the late, Dr. Patricia Cunningham II, founder and former Director, with the goal of upholding the university motto “Education for Citizenship” by training Ohio State students to be change agents in the Hilltop, Linden, Franklinton, Weinland Park and Near Eastside neighborhoods.


To foster healthy and vibrant communities of equity, promise and hope through addressing long-lasting impacts of poverty and social immobility.


  • Collaborative decision-making to inform best practices
  • Creating civic literacy, inquiry and action
  • Honoring diversity by fighting for justice
  • Developing empathy with social and emotional intelligence