Office of Community Engagement

Community Engaged Campus - The community engaged campus is driven by the value that arises from mutually beneficial campus community partnerships which incorporate diverse perspectives that strengthen the collective impact on the region. Through the utilization of the GivePulse (YSU PenguinPulse) platform, YSU will collect all community engaged experiential learning occurring both within and outside of the classroom. YSU PenguinPulse serves as the community engagement clearinghouse to enhance communication, collaboration and coordination. The YSU PenguinPulse newsletter showcases community engagement impacts and serves as the source of campus communication for community engagement and partnerships. The Community Partner Advisory Committee provides opportunities for input from community partners and adheres to the value of listening to the needs of the community and addressing needs collaboratively. The Community Engagement Council will lead the development of the YSU application to the Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification for Community Engagement.

Group of volunteers from YSU

Empowering knowledge to serve the community

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) is dedicated to the collaboration and creation of community partnerships to positively impact the region. OCE serves as the centralized coordinating structure to enhance communication, connect organizations with the appropriate campus resources to advance collaboration requests, and collect all of the community-based experiences from students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the OCE works with organizations to secure external funds to support meeting community needs and the people they serve. Led by experienced professionals, the OCE provides support and a variety of services to community organizations and departments across campus.

Assistance to Community Partners

The YSU Office of Community Engagement values its partnerships between community organizations and YSU students, faculty, and staff. Community partners in need of assistance (i.e. volunteers, interns, committee members, etc.) can express their needs here.

To support Youngstown State University’s mission and core values, the goals of the Office of Community Engagement include:

  • Working with community partners to identify needs in the community and strategies for addressing such needs
  • Tracking the community impact of our students, faculty and staff via YSU PenguinPulse, our community engagement platform
  • Incorporating community engagement and experiential learning into the YSU curriculum
  • Communicating the value of community engagement for all participants
  • Pursuing and securing funding in support of university and community priorities
  • Leading the institutional goal to achieve the Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification for Community Engagement
  • Developing the framework to optimize, coordinate, and manage community engagement

Carnegie Foundation Definition of Community Engagement

Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

Service Spotlight

During a special presentation on the campus of Youngstown State University Thursday, Sept. 7, the Sokolov Honors College unveiled the newly-named Dr. Abdu Pen Pals Program.
More than 60 YSU students will volunteer to work with 10 area nonprofit organizations Friday, April 21, completing the WCBA Dare to Care Day organized by the Williamson College of Business Administration at YSU.
Chary Greier Hively trains YSU students planning to serve with Community Hospice
The YSU Office of Community Engagement will host its inaugural community engagement conference on campus Tuesday, April 18 from 12 – 4 p.m. in Kilcawley Center. YSU students, faculty, staff, and community partners will share presentations on their efforts engaging with the community. The day begins...
National Engineers Week
National Engineers Week brings Engineering Olympics, an industry forum and outreach activities with students from the Youngstown City School District among other events to the Youngstown State University campus Feb. 20 to 24. A yearly event founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers...
Youngstown State University’s Lariccia School of Accounting and Finance's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program kicked off Saturday, Feb. 4. The program, in which YSU business students and community volunteers provide free tax preparation and filing, requires taxpayers to make appointments to...

“Community engagement” is a broad term that encompasses all forms of collaboration between the university and the community toward a mutually beneficial outcome.

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Track Your Impact

Community Partners:

Request Assistance


YSU PenguinPulse is the university platform for tracking community engagement and connecting individuals with opportunities to serve the community. By joining YSU PenguinPulse, students, faculty, staff, and community partners can:

  • Track and reflect on their impact in the community
  • Organize service projects and events for their course, organization, or area
  • Match with community partners and volunteers that fit an individual’s interests and a partner’s needs

All YSU students, faculty, and staff can log into YSU PenguinPulse using their YSU credentials. Community partners may request a free account for volunteer management by reaching out to

Select resources for navigating YSU PenguinPulse can be found below. A full list of tutorials can be found on the OCE’s YouTube channel.

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Track Your Impact

Community Partners:

Request Assistance

Logging into YSU PenguinPulse
YSU Students, Faculty, and Staff:

If you are claiming your YSU PenguinPulse account for the first time, follow the directions below to access the platform:

  1. Visit to access the main YSU page.
  2. Click the "Join" button in the top right corner.
  3. Login via YSU, utilizing your existing YSU email and password.
  4. Follow the steps to finish setting up your account.


Community Engagement Liaisons and Groups

Campus Liaisons

Campus Liaisons work collaboratively to coordinate community requests to engage.

  • Athletics - Tyler Mettille
  • Office of Community Engagement - Elizabeth Cianciola
  • Sokolov Honors College - Andrea Tharp
  • Student Experience - Caleb Queen
  • Center for Workforce Education and Innovation – David Janofa


Community Engagement Council 

The Community Engagement Council will lead the development of the YSU application to the Carnegie Foundation Elective Classification for Community Engagement.

  • Heather Belgin, Alumni & Events
  • Emilie Brown, College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Jeff Buchanan, English & World Languages
  • Elizabeth Cianciola, Office of Community Engagement
  • Amy Cossentino, Office of Academic Affairs
  • Jaelyn Farris, Psychological Sciences & Counseling
  • Mollie Hartup, Sokolov Honors College
  • David Janofa, Center for Workforce Education and Innovation
  • Alison Kaufman, Institute for Teaching and Learning
  • Tyler Mettille, Athletics
  • Andrea Tharp, Sokolov Honors College, YSU PenguinPulse
  • Amy Weaver, Nursing
  • Jessie Wright, Lariccia School of Accounting and Finance


Community Partner Advisory Committee

The Community Partner Advisory Committee provides opportunities for input from community partners and adheres to the value of listening to the needs of the community and addressing needs collaboratively.

  • Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown
  • Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning Valley
  • Mill Creek Metro Parks
  • OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children's Center for Science & Technology
  • American Red Cross
  • Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley
  • United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley
  • Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown
  • Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Youngstown Playhouse

Externally funded initiatives include community organizations and school districts. Through these partnerships organizations are provided with resources to better meet the needs of the people they serve.


The Office of Community engagement provides evaluation, grant, programming, and training services to help organizations grow in Northeast Ohio.

Contact Us

(330) 941-3427   ♦

Melissa J. Chizmar
Program Coordinator, OCE

Elizabeth Cianciola, MS.Ed.
Interim Director, OCE

Amy Cossentino, Ph.D.
Associate Provost, Strategy & Engagement & Dean

Sybil Daniels
Administrative Operations Specialist

Andrea Tharp
Assistant Director, Sokolov Honors College
YSU PenguinPulse