Service Orientation

Denison Service Orientation (DSO)

The Denison Service Orientation (DSO) is a direct-service experience designed to help incoming students adjust to college, build strong friendships, and realize the possibilities available to them at Denison.

Up to 24 members of the Class of 2025 will live on campus and participate in a service experience related to homelessness and hunger in the surrounding Licking County area. During the program, participants will engage in leadership training, group building, issues education and direct service. Experienced student leaders and faculty/staff leaders will provide guidance.

Service-Learning is an important area of emphasis at Denison University. Whether you have had previous service experience or not, the Denison Service Orientation (DSO) is a great way to begin your transition to life at Denison, making new friends within the rewarding context of community service. Participants in DSO must be willing to work cooperatively, join in group discussions, and be actively involved in the work we’ll be doing.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Explore and reflect upon homelessness, hunger, and other social issues.
  • Donate our time in direct service to agencies, shelters, and food banks.
  • Enjoy group-building activities and participate in daily group and one-on-one conversations.
  • Eat, sleep, learn, and play together as a cohesive group of service-oriented people.
  • Make a purposeful transition to Denison.

Safety & Experience

To maintain the quality of this small group experience and to minimize the risks, we ask that you abide by the following policies: non-prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are not permitted during the program. In addition, please do not use cell phones or other electronic devices during the program.

The Schedule

Participants will arrive at Denison on Friday, August 20. The program will end on Tuesday, August 24 in time to transition to the general August Orientation, beginning Thursday, August 26.

What Do I Need to Bring?

Participants will be sent a complete packing list with their acceptance packet in the summer.


The cost of DSO is $250. Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholars and those with significant financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid who wish to participate may have their fees waived.

Additional Details

You will stay in your fall residence hall upon arriving on campus. Athletes in some fall sports might not be able to participate in DSO because of early practices. Check with your coach and be sure to check your email over the summer for forms to complete and additional information.

For more information, contact:


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