Community Outreach and Engagement

Enhancing community sustainability through collaborations with civic groups, nonprofits and regional development organizations

Ohio State has a mission to share knowledge with the communities we serve. In the area of sustainability, this commitment is anchored by long-established efforts of Ohio State Extension and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in sustainable land management, agriculture, food security and energy development. It also takes the form of collaborations with community groups and non-governmental organizations around research, student volunteerism and community engagement.

Researchers affiliated with the Sustainability Institute share their expertise to help communities understand, evaluate and mitigate sustainability and resilience risks. For example, when the global pandemic developed in early 2020, affiliated faculty went to work studying the virus and helping local and statewide public health agencies.

The Sustainability Institute helps NGOs and community groups connect with students seeking to volunteer on behalf of a wide range of causes. More than 80 student organizations address environmental, food security, recycling and energy issues.

Affiliated faculty and Sustainability Institute staff operate on and off campus to foster educational outreach and programming on sustainability, resilience and environmental issues. These include the annual West Campus Science Festival, Environmental Film Series and Earth Day Columbus activities.


Mike Shelton
Associate Director

Case Study: Microfarmstwo men and a woman working on plants in a greenhouse

The Mansfield Microfarm, a sustainable and productive urban farming system, aims to solve challenges of social justice and ecology and is increasing residents’ access to fresh food, engaging community members in agricultural practices and improving the local economy. The microfarm is supported by a $1 matching million grant from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research; the Sustainability Institute is among many other university entities and community organizations that have also supported the project to bring its funding to $2 million.

More about the Mansfield Microfarm