University Community | Research and Impact

Bobcats can help near and far

We have all watched with concern as the COVID-19 pandemic has now made a significant impact to our state and nation. We are charting new territory as we respond to the rapidly-evolving public health crisis and our highest priority must be the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and communities.

We know many members of our university community wish to help those in need during this unprecedented time. With that in mind, we have outlined below numerous ways in which our Ohio University Bobcats can give back to their communities, and even volunteer digitally. 

Donate to help those near and far

World Health Organization International COVID-19 Fund

The World Health Organization is leading and coordinating the global effort, supporting countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic. The greatest need right now is to help ensure all countries are prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems. Donations support WHO’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Support OHIO students with a gift to the COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund

On March 19, Ohio University launched a “Bobcats Take Care” campaign at This online campaign is a space where members of the OHIO community – students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – can share messages of support and comfort to Bobcats near and far, as well as donate to the newly created COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund. In true Bobcat spirit, #BobcatsTakeCare messages of support are already being posted, and, in less than 24 hours, more than $15,000 has been donated to help students on our Athens and regional campuses who are experiencing financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, click here.

Support efforts to help those in the greatest need

Ohio Association of Food Banks

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks represents Ohio's 12 Feeding America foodbanks, who serve all 88 counties in Ohio. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, our network served an average of 25,000 people every day. In the days and weeks to come, we will serve many more thousands of people, and we will need to do so through different means of distribution. This presents unique challenges and needs for our network, and we urge your support, if you are able to offer it. View opportunities to give help.

Ohio United Way

Ohio United Way is the voluntary state association of United Ways across Ohio. Representing local United Ways around the state, the association works to promote the public policy interest of our members, provides them with educational opportunities and leads statewide initiatives designed to improve Ohio communities. Find your local chapter here:

Support Ohio’s Domestic Violence Shelters

For some, social distancing and staying home may put them at risk if there is violence in the home. Consider donating to the Ohio Domestic Violence Network or by supporting your local shelter. For example, those in Fairfield County by the Lancaster Campus, you can donate to the Lighthouse, or in Athens, Vinton, and Hocking County, you can donate to My Sister’s Place.

Support the Arts

Keep in mind that your community nonprofit arts and entertainment venues are significantly impacted by this pandemic because they’ve had to cancel or postpone all events. For example,  those in Muskingum County by the Zanesville Campus, consider donating to the Zanesville Museum of Art, or if you’re in Athens area consider donating to The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Stuart’s Opera House, Passion Works, and other local and regional organizations.

Be an active citizen

Register for Absentee Voting in Ohio

Don’t let a pandemic prevent you from being civically engaged! You can complete a simple form and then vote by mail well before June.

Participate in the 2020 Census

The Center for Campus and Community Engagement promotes student participation in the Census because everyone deserves to be counted.  The Census data informs decision making at the federal, state and local level on things that impact everyday people across the country. This includes how government funding is dispersed to support public libraries, schools, hospitals, benefit programs, affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, and informs the drawing of political district lines.  Every ten years, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the government commits to count every person living in the U.S. to determine fair representation in the political process as a democracy. Learn about the 2020 Census.  

Support your community's economy 

Local businesses in all of our communities are going to experience hardship during this pandemic. Please consider supporting them through purchasing gift cards, ordering meals to go, or buying goods and merchandise online. (Knock out that holiday shopping early this year!)

Virtual volunteering

Looking for ways to be involved in community from your own home?  Here are some ideas to explore!


  • United Nations Volunteers program is dedicated to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. Online volunteers work to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world.
  • Amnesty International has a team of Amnesty DeCoders who volunteer to research and uncover human rights violations.

Creative Endeavors

  • The Free Minds Book Club works with youth incarcerated as adults who are participating in book and writing clubs. They seek volunteers to provide feedback on their poetry. Watch these videos to learn more about how to comment (this one is about hosting your own event, but it gives you an idea of what kinds of feedback to provide and how to be a virtual volunteer).
  • Be My Eyes is an organization assisting people who are blind or visually impaired. Volunteers help read for them. Note that calls can be infrequent.
  • LibriVox, a free public domain for audiobooks seeks volunteers to record audio books created prior to 1923.
  • 7 Cups connects people to caring, compassionate listeners.  Build active listening skills and become a volunteer listener.


  • Zooniverse is always looking for volunteers for research projects in the arts, biological sciences, climate, history, physics, and more!
  • Missing Maps offers virtual volunteering to map communities that may be impacted by disasters so that humanitarian workers can best serve them. They offer excellent training videos to help you get started.


  • Catchafire matches skilled professional volunteers with nonprofits to help them increase their capacity and achieve their missions.
  • Translators Without Borders offers virtual volunteers the chance to help translate documents, if you have another language skill.
  • Project Gutenberg is always looking for people with proofreading and editing skills for books being transferred to online formats.
  • Crisis Text Line is the perfect way for students wanting to hone their social service skills by providing mental wellbeing support to those in need. Training is provided. Note, this organization expects an ongoing commitment.
  • The Smithsonian Museum gives you a chance to develop your historian skill set by transcribing historical documents such as field notes, biodiversity specimens labels, and more.
  • National Park Service is seeking volunteers to test their web applications.

Community Engagement

  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are responding to disasters across the country and can connect you with local opportunities.
  • The Mapping Prejudice Project is showing what communities of color have known for decades. Structural barriers stopped many people who were not white from buying property and building wealth for most of the last century. See how you can volunteer and contribute to racial justice.
  • The Red Cross has stated “Right now, American Red Cross faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving bloodplatelets or AB Elite plasma.



March 18, 2020
Staff reports

Make sure to follow the Center for Campus and Community Engagement on social media @ohioengagement!