University Motto: Education for Citizenship

Happy April! Finals are at the end of the month and summer is nearly upon us, and I hope you take a look back at the fond memories you made and the experiences you shared during your first year at Ohio State. Things that come to mind probably include Welcome Week activities, athletic events, spending time with friends, and the occasional trip into the city of Columbus. You’ve learned the words to Carmen Ohio, the quickest way to get to each class, which foods are best used to fill up a meal plan block, and almost everything there is to know about Ohio State. However, I’m willing to bet you won’t recognize the following words:

Disciplina in civitatem

Will Ferrell Gif

Those Latin words are the university motto, which can be found inscribed on the Ohio State seal.

SealSeal 3

Seals: Cases A and B

In English, it reads as “Education for Citizenship”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that universities had mottoes. The ones that do range from “Gladly we Learn and Teach” at Illinois State University to “To Persevere and Excel” at New York University.

Maybe I’m biased, but I think that our motto knocks all the other mottoes out of the park. What’s different about Ohio State’s motto is that it calls upon us to be leaders; it calls upon us to use what we have learned here in our four years to change the world. As Ohio State students, and one day graduates, we are bound by duty to use what we learned here to be model citizens, and to make everywhere we go a better place than it was when we first arrived.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s focus on small achievements, little things that we can do incrementally to live out the university motto, “Education for Citizenship”.


Here’s looking at you, William Oxley Thompson

1. Volunteer

One of the best things about Ohio State is that there are dozens of ways for you to volunteer and give back to the community. In fact, if you take a casual walk through a residence hall, you will probably see posters advertising future events for organizations such as Circle K, Pay it Forward, and Buck-I-Serv. And who can forget Community Commitment and the MLK Day of Service, which happen on the same day EVERY YEAR? Other opportunities can be found easily online through a website dedicated to service such as

2. Be a Positive Influence, Be a Mentor

With standards rising for each and every incoming freshman class, the students of Ohio State are now some of the brightest and well-regarded students in the nation. With this success comes responsibility. So whether it’s a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance you barely know, chances are that someone in your life looks up to you and recognizes you as a person they want to model themselves after. If you recognize someone that needs a little help in any aspect of their life, take a minute or two to talk with them. Help them along their path just like someone has probably helped you along yours. The influence we have on our peers is astounding; take advantage of that fact to make a positive impact.

3. Make your voice heard! Vote!

The fact of the matter is that young people tend not to vote, as they usually don’t think that their vote will really matter. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! We are fortunate to experience democracy at all levels at Ohio State, and students are asked to make their voices heard on a number of local, state, and national issues on a regular basis. Voting is one of the easiest ways for you to turn your beliefs into action. Whether it’s the yearly election for Undergraduate Student Government or the presidential election every four, take time out of your schedule to learn about the issues and then go and vote!