Make the World a Better Place

Developing your passion for giving back

We know you are passionate about leaving your mark on the world, and we want to help you do just that. We support our Bears as they get involved in their communities, experience different cultures and develop their leadership skills, both in and out of the classroom.

We call it public affairs – but you may call it volunteering, leadership, celebrating diversity, thinking globally, building connections and so much more.

Engage your community

You will learn to recognize the needs in your community and how to best use your knowledge and skills to help. In 2011-12, our Bears volunteered more than 420,000 hours and raised or donated more than $130,000 for philanthropic causes.

Citizenship and service-learning classes

These classes allow you to earn course credit while applying classroom learning during volunteer work.

More than 2,000 students volunteered at schools, museums, the zoo, fitness centers, homeless shelters, parks and more in 2011-12. They logged 60,000 volunteer hours by preparing tax returns, designed software, helped care for animals, taught art and so much more.

Volunteer programs

 The Center for Community Engagement sponsors volunteer opportunities throughout the year to help you better help others. You can get involved in the Springfield community and beyond by:

  • Attending an alternative fall or spring break trip
  • Participating in a Bear service day
  • Competing in a service challenge
  • Being a social change leader
  • Staying informed of needs in the community

Learn about other cultures, perspectives

At MSU, you will be able to recognize and respect multiple perspectives and cultures. We call it cultural competence. Missouri State is committed to attracting international students and sending American students abroad.

Celebrating diversity

Diversity comes in many forms. MSU’s division for diversity and inclusion hosts events throughout the year dedicated to exploring different heritages and cultures.

Learning beyond the traditional classroom

Studying away is a life-changing experience — after all, would you rather learn about the wildlife of Botswana, the ecosystems of Costa Rica and the glaciers of Australia in the classroom or in the actual environments? These are just a few of the 70+ countries our students have studied around the world.

Encouraging international experiences

We also get a global perspective from the more than 1,500 international students on the Springfield campus. We have an International Education Week that showcases the cultures of these students.

Hone your leadership skills

You will strive for excellence and integrity as you develop ethical and moral reasoning.

Campus special events

Every year, we have both a Public Affairs Week and a Public Affairs Conference. Amazing speakers who are national and international experts talk about topics like citizenship, democracy, leadership, the economy and giving back.


MSU seeks to be a leader environmentally by recycling, taking care of our surroundings, reducing pollution and using resources in a smart way.

Leadership programs

The Office of Student Engagement supports programs that help you identify your leadership strengths and hone your skills:

  • Commerce Bank Emerging Leaders program for freshman and sophomores
  • Distinction in Public Affairs program for sophomores and juniors
  • Centennial Leaders Scholarship program for freshman and sophomores