Andrew Vieth was lying in bed, struggling to sleep, when he began to wonder what it means to be a Buckeye. Then he got an idea. He grabbed a piece of paper and pen and scribbled notes about a club to help define what it means to be a Buckeye. From his scribbles has developed a community service group called Buckeye By Definition.
“My friends joke that I need to frame it,” Vieth said of that late-night note. “It was almost like a stream of consciousness.”
In the days that followed, Vieth asked friends to help jump-start the club.
“We basically started it to help students get involved in philanthropy and volunteering,” he said.
Buckeye By Definition partners with student groups, Greek organizations, varsity and club athletics, community charities and academic classes. Once the club partners with another group, Buckeye By Definition posts volunteer events from that organization on its own website, where members can access a calendar of events.
For members of the group, being a Buckeye isn’t just about going to football games, wearing scarlet and gray and getting an education at Ohio State.
“It’s about what you do for Ohio State and what you do in the Columbus area that defines being a Buckeye,” Vieth said.
Members work with Columbus City Schools, where they have helped to transform Spruce Run Nature Study Center, an outdoor facility near Hoover Reservoir in Galena, Ohio, into a space that students, primarily elementary and middle school-aged, can use to learn about nature.
Samantha Fisher, director of social activities for the club, said more students should get involved with service.
“Everything that our community did for us, getting us here, raising us, everything everyone provided for us, it’s our turn to give back to them and make it better,” Fisher said. “To put it simply, it’s just giving back.”
The organization has about 50 active members who have paid their dues and participate in service events, the club’s leaders said. But the group is still growing.
“We’re really starting to grow exponentially,” Vieth said. “We’re projecting to have a couple hundred members by the end of the year.”
To become a member, students can visit the Buckeye By Definition website at buckeyebydefinition.org.ohio-state.edu.