Office of Civic Engagement

Office of Civic Engagement

About the Office of Civic Engagement

The Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) works with students, faculty, and staff at Cleveland State University to encourage citizenship and strong communities by building partnerships within CSU, with public, nonprofit community-based organizations, and governmental institutions. These partnerships enhance student learning by engaging students in civic, employment, experiential, leadership, and co-curricular involvement opportunities and experiences while contributing to the civic, academic, social, and economic well-being of Cleveland, its neighborhoods, and the Northeast Ohio region. The CSU Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) has a vast network of strategic civic and community partnerships. Each of our partners play a pivotal role in connecting and engaging CSU, our students, and the Greater Cleveland Community.

From one-time volunteer experiences for students to service-learning projects embedded in the curriculum to long-term collaborative partnerships that tackle the community's toughest challenges, the Office of Civic Engagement helps campus and community maximize the benefits of their interdependence.  


Recent News

The Office of Civic Engagement celebrates National Voter Registration Day!

NVRD NVRD  NVRDNVRD

 NVRDNVRDNVRDNVRD  

NVRD NVRD  NVRDNVRD

NVRD  NVRD NVRDNVRD

On September 19, 2023, OCE with the help of Alpha Kappa Alpha, NOVA, Cleveland Votes, Campus Engagement, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion registered 50 new voters, collected 27 vote-by-mail forms, and engaged with hundreds of students. Special guests at the event included the CSU Men's Basketball Team, CSU PD Officer Jones with Rune, and Erica Jarrett from CSU's Human Resources. What a day for democracy!


The Office of Civic Engagement and the CSU's Men's Basketball Team Volunteer at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank

OCE NVRD OCE NVRD OCE NVRD OCE NVRD

OCE NVRD OCE NVRD OCE NVRD OCE NVRD

OCE NVRD OCE NVRD OCE NVRD OCE NVRD

The CSU Office of Civic Engagement and the CSU's Men's Basketball Team had a great time teaming up again on August 3, 2023 at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to repack 10 pallets, 400 cartons, and 12,000 pounds of food for the Cleveland community. OCE director, Anita Ruf-Young stated, "It is an honor to serve our community with these great young men who train hard, work hard, and serve with passion!" The OCE and the Men's Basketball Team plan on making this a regular service activity to help address the food insecurity many families face in our community.


The Office of Civic Engagement will be recruiting students for CPL America Reads and Viking Corps jobs in August and September, 2023. The payrate for student jobs is$15 per hour. Job descriptions are available here. See below for recruitment meeting days/times (in person and virtual):

On-Campus Recruitment Tables
Monday, August 28th, 2:30pm - 4:00pm: 2nd floor Student Center Innerlink
Tuesday, August 29th, 11:00am - 1:00pm: 2nd floor Student Center Innerlink
Thursday, August 31st, 11:00am - 1:00pm: 1st floor Berkman Hall Lounge near Papa John's
Tuesday, September 5th, 11:00am - 1:00pm: 1st floor Student Center near Viking Outfitters and Welcome Center
Wednesday, September 6th, 10:00am - 12:30pm: Student Center Plaza near Berkman Hall entrance (outside)
Thursday, September 7th, 11:00am - 1:00pm: 2nd floor Student Center Innerlink
Monday, September 11th, 10:00am - 12:00pm: 2nd floor Student Center Innerlink
Tuesday, September 12th, 1:00pm - 3:00pm: 2nd floor Student Center Innerlink

Remote Zoom Interviews
Monday, August 14th, 10:00am - 11:30pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/84577203728
Monday, August 14th, 2:30pm - 4:00pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/87200907413
Tuesday, August 15th, 11:30am - 1:00pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/87187538274
Monday, August 21st, 12:00pm - 1:30pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/85843044618
Thursday, August 24th, 1:30pm - 3:00pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/85259397915
Tuesday, August 29th, 1:30pm - 3:00pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/82699096218
Thursday, August 31st, 1:30pm - 3:00pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/89252072193
Tuesday, September 5th, 2:30pm - 4:00pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/81546749859
Wednesday, September 6th, 1:00pm - 2:30pm: https://csuohio.zoom.us/j/83689625789


The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will hire 110 Ballot Box Openers on Election Night Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (CCBOE) needs to hire 110 individuals to work as Election Night Ballot Box Openers for the August 8th Special Election for $20 per hour | 4 hours of work. This is a great opportunity for CSU students to see democracy in action. It is a behind the scenes look at the election process! It is a great way for students to be civically engaged, earn some extra money while building their resume, networking, and representing Cleveland State University. Learn more. »


The Office of Civic Engagement encourages Ohioans to vote on August 8, 2023. An important issue on the ballot is Ohio Issue 1

The Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) encourages active citizenship and advocates that ALL elections matter. Opportunities to get involved civically are numerous, but a unique opportunity for all Ohio residents to see democracy in action has presented itself for the Special Election on August 8, 2023, regarding Ohio Issue 1. To raise student awareness, OCE is providing information about Ohio Issue 1- what it is and why all Ohio Citizens should be aware of it.  Read more. » 


OCE at Cleveland Asian FestivalOCE at Cleveland Asian Festival
The CSU Office of Civic Engagement was a proud Associate Sponsor of the 2023 Cleveland Asian Festival on May 20 and 21, 2023. The OCE hosted tables to get people registered to vote, update their voter registrations, and to help them apply to vote-by-mail for the August and November 2023 elections with their civic engagement partner NOVA. They successfully registered 23 community members to vote and 69 filled out vote-by-mail applications! It was a great opportunity to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage month while working to increase civic engagement in communities surrounding Cleveland State University! 

The OCE has worked hard over the past several years to increase Cleveland State student voter registration rates to 89%, but as stewards and advocates of youth civic engagement they were thrilled to be able to again attend the Cleveland Asian Festival and help promote and increase voter registration and vote-by-mail applications. Consider that the voter registration rate of 18 -year-olds in Cuyahoga County is around 21.1% and it is estimated that only 16.6% of 18-year-olds in the Cleveland Municipal School District are registered to vote so there is a lot of work to be done. 


Each year, Cleveland State University's Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) hires and places 80 students in service learning opportunities. Over the past five years, 30,228 youth and other community members throughout Northeast Ohio have benefitted from the work of these students. For 14 years, with generous grant support provided by the Cleveland Public Library, Director Anita Ruf-Young and her team have helped to build CSU’s America Reads/Viking Corps programs. Recruiting and placing CSU students in community service-learning positions, children from kindergarten through high school are tutored and mentored, free of cost, within CPL branches. CSU tutors gain real-world work experience developing soft skills, building their resumes and networks, while earning stipends to defray their educational expenses. In March 2023, the Ohio Campus Compact honored Ruf-Young with their annual David Hoch Memorial Award. In her role, Ruf-Young works with students, faculty, and staff at CSU to encourage citizenship and strong communities by building partnerships within CSU, with public, nonprofit community-based organizations, and governmental institutions.

OfficeofCivicEngagement


Office of Civic Engagement Director, Anita Ruf-Young Interviewed by Axios Cleveland 

OCE_Voter_ID

Office of Civic Engagement Director, Anita Ruf-Young was recently interviewed by Troy Smith at Axios Cleveland about House Bill 458, which requires an Ohio driver's license or photo ID to vote in person. The bill goes into effect this week. Read more. »  

 

 


Office of Civic Engagement Staff Interviewed by Signal Cleveland

Signal_Voter_ID

Office of Civic Engagement Director, Anita Ruf-Young, and OCE Democracy Fellow, Justin Samsa, were recently interviewed by Amy Morona at Signal Cleveland regarding House Bill 458. The article New Ohio Voting Law Could Add Another Barrier for College Students mentions that, “[t]here will be fewer types of identification accepted at election polls in Ohio, potentially making it more difficult for college students to cast ballots and be civically engaged.” Read more. »


    Cleveland State University Designated a Voter Friendly Campus Again by NASPA and Campus Vote Project

    NASPACleveland State University, was recently named a Voter Friendly Campus by the Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The initiative recognizes institutions that have planned and implemented practices that encourage their students to register to vote and vote in future elections.

    The mission of the 2023 Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster colleges and universities’ efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. The CSU Office of Civic Engagement was evaluated based on their Democracy Action Plan to register, educate, and turnout student voters in 2022.

    As part of our effort to be designated a Voter Friendly Campus, The Office of Civic Engagement commits to intentional activities throughout every election year, not just during national election years, to civically educate and engage Cleveland State University students, says Anita Ruf-Young, Director, Office of Civic Engagement.


    Anita Ruf-YoungAnita Ruf-Young Receives Prestigious David Hoch Memorial Award 

    Ohio Campus Compact has honored Anita Ruf-Young, Director of Cleveland State University’s Office of Civic Engagement, with their 2023 David Hoch Memorial Award. In her role, Ruf-Young works with students, faculty, and staff at Cleveland State University to encourage citizenship and strong communities by building partnerships within CSU, with public, nonprofit community-based organizations, and governmental institutions.
    Read more. »


    OCE Vikes! VOTEView Voter Information from the Office of Civic Engagement

     

     

     

     


    Dream Team: The OCE & CSU Men’s Basketball

    CSU Mens Basketball Team Huddle OCE Anita Ruf Young with CSU Mascot MagnusOCE CSU Mens Basketball Team Selfie

    OCE CSU Mens Basketball Team Slide Image from Greater Cleveland Food BankOCE with Members of CSU Mens Basketball Team OCE with Players Assistant Coach of Mens Basketball Team 

    On Tuesday, January 24, 2023 The Office of Civic Engagement and the CSU Men’s Basketball Team teamed up to volunteer at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s new facility on Coit Road. Our day of service came at the request of Assistant Coach Travis Lewis, who approached OCE Director Anita Ruf-Young for assistance finding a volunteer opportunity for the team. Coach Lewis expressed this interest after our first successful activity with the team in October at our Civic Engagement: A Dialogue event with students and local leaders. Since that time, The OCE  provided the team with nonpartisan voting resources and walked to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections with the team. Some players even voted for the first time!
     
    At the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, we participated in one of their repack shifts. This shift begins with assembling the boxes that will be filled through an assembly line where each teammate adds a particular food staple into the box. In the two hours we were there, we packed up 240 boxes of shelf stable foods filling 6 pallets that weighed 7,200 pounds. The OCE gives a HUGE shout out to the staff at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank! They made the work fun with their playlist of upbeat music, and we all appreciated their patience onboarding us as well as the efficiency with which they run these shifts.
     
    Later that week, The OCE wanted to support this great team on their court next! We got to be their guests at the team’s game against Purdue Ft. Wayne on January 27th. The OCE was finally able to witness these young men and their coaches in their element and they did not disappoint. They played a fast paced game with an ultimate win of 79 to 74.
     
    It was a great week to be a Vike!

     
    CSU Students Interviewed about Youth Voting in the Midterm Elections

    OCE student justin samsa with WEWS channelOCE with WEWS Channel 5 Outside Urban AffairsOCE with WEWS Channel 5 student Jackie Bomgardner

    OCE Voting with WEWS News Channel 5 Interview of Reem AbumeriOCE Voting with WEWS Channel 5 Reporter DaLaun Dillard and studentsOCE Voting with WEWS Channel 5 Student Cole Middleton

    On Wednesday, November 2, four CSU students were interviewed by WEWS - News Channel 5 about the importance of youth voting in the Midterm Elections. Cole Middleton, who also plays on the Men's Basketball Team, shared how his parents impressed upon him and his sister their responsibility to vote by mail in this election while away at school. Reem Abumeri is a daughter of two immigrants who emphasize that voting is a privilege that everyone worldwide does not have so to not take it for granted. Jackie Bomgardner warned that the youth voice becomes a minority when they don't vote. Lastly, Justin Samsa emphasized that lots of students seem to have strong opinions and need to vote to voice them. Not only are Cole, Reem, Jackie, and Justin civically engaged, but three of them are also connected to the community. Reem, Jackie, and Justin work as tutors in nearby schools and libraries through America Reads and Viking Corps also run by Anita Ruf-Young in the Office of Civic Engagement. The OCE is thrilled that WEWS - News Channel 5 Reporter, Dalaun Dillard, reached out to connect with CSU students to amplify their voices around the 2022 Midterm Election.

    The Office of Civic Engagement Director, Anita Ruf-Young shared, "My office provides many ways for students to get involved civically from registering students to vote, to showing how to research candidates and ballot issues, to working for the Board of Elections on Election Day as poll workers and election night ballot box openers. I was pleased to learn from the Center for Information & Research of Civic Learning at Tufts University that the estimated participation rate for 18 - 29-year-old age group in the 2022 Midterms is 27%. That participation level makes this midterm the second-highest youth voter turnout in almost three decades." If students, faculty, or staff are interested in supporting this work, please email me at a.rufyoung@csuohio.edu

    Watch the WEWS - News Channel 5 interview: https://youtu.be/CxtCxXw0gzQ


    Cleveland State University Recognized as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting

    Most Engaged Campus Post 

    Cleveland State University is one of 394 colleges and universities recognized for its efforts to increase nonpartisan democratic student engagement in the 2022 election.

    Cleveland State University has been recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting. The ALL IN Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting recognizes colleges and universities for making intentional efforts to increase student voter participation. Cleveland State University joins a group of 394 colleges and universities recognized by ALL IN for completing these four actions:

    CSU President Dr. Laura Bloomberg remarked, “Cleveland State University and our Office of Civic Engagement are committed to providing our students with the information they need to become registered voters and active citizens. We stress to our students the importance of their participation in the voting process. CSU is honored to receive this recognition from ALL IN and proud that our students are voicing their opinions with their votes."

    “The Office of Civic Engagement is honored to again have our nonpartisan democratic student engagement efforts recognized by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. The OCE works all year long to ensure our campus community is registered to vote and informed on local, state, and national voting issues. Our engagement is successful because we go beyond one off interactions. We are embedding civic engagement into the DNA of CSU by institutionalizing it in campus events and in the curriculum that reaches the desks of every first year student. Our work is made possible through our civic and academic allies such as Northeast Ohio Voter Advocates, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Campus Vote Project, CSU’s First Year Experience program, the Michael Schwartz Library, our Athletics’ Department, and CSU President Dr. Laura Bloomberg,” said Anita Ruf-Young, Director, CSU’s Office of Civic Engagement. “Our annual submissions to receive these designations provides us opportunities to sharpen our Campus Democracy Action Plan to increase CSU student voter turnout. With 89% of our student body registered to vote, we look forward to receiving our Midterm 2022 Election data.”

    For more information on the CSU Office of Civic Engagement, please visit our website, https://levin.csuohio.edu/oce/office-of-civic-engagement.


      Two CSU Winning Teams Joined Forces on Wednesday,  October 26th to Vote Early at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections!

        Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections

      Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections  Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections

      Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections Oce walk to the cuyahoga county of elections

      CSU's Office of Civic Engagement and the Men's Basketball Team walked to the polls together to vote early last Wednesday. The event began with the OCE providing voting logistic information such as what types of valid IDs can be used to vote, how to find the issues on their ballot, and nonpartisan election resources that would help the young men feel more prepared as they entered the voting booth. For those that were not registered locally, the OCE provided detailed information on how to request their vote by mail applications and find their sample ballots as well. 

      Director Anita Ruf-Young explained, "It is difficult to put into words how much I loved seeing the guys on the team casting a ballot for the first time. They will never forget this event because they had the support of my office, their coaches, each other, and Magnus. What a cool way to start a lifelong habit of voting!" 

      The partnership the OCE has developed with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and the CSU's Men's Basketball Team is the definition of mutually beneficial! Assistant Coach Travis Lewis said, "Today was powerful. Thank you, Anita Ruf-Young and Connor (Director Basketball Operations) for making this event so special. A few of our players' lives are changed forever. You are awesome. The Men's Basketball program thanks you! Coach Robinson is grateful for your support and help with his vision to make our student athletes great leaders of the future." 

      Next up! The OCE will be heading to the sidelines of the Wolstein to cheer this basketball team on to victory!


      OCE Director, Anita Ruf-Young is featured in this Northeast Ohio Boomer article

      Image 3161OCE Director, Anita Ruf-Young is featured in this Northeast Ohio Boomer article September/October 2022 about the relationsship between grandparents and grandchildren. Learn more. » 

       

       

      Gabi Pridemore, former Office of Civic Engagement America Reads Tutor, is featured a Vindicator article

      Gabi Pridemore, former Office of Civic Engagement America Reads Tutor, is featured a Vindicator article about her experience working for the OCE. Learn more. » 


      The Office of Civic Engagement is Partnering with the Michael Schwartz Library to Promote Civic and Voter Engagement 

      Setting Reliable Voting Image

      The OCE has partnered with the Michael Schwartz Library heading into the Midterm Election to bring nonpartisan, reliable voting information to CSU students! Check out MSL's Democracy 101 Guide and Voting Research Guide as you prepare to exercise your most important right, casting your ballot this November. 


      More news from the Office of Civic Engagement. »