Let’s Talk about BreakingGround

BreakingGround is a philosophy of campus and community engagement, reflected in courses, programs, projects, and stories from UMBC change agents.

Now that you’ve seen or experienced some of what BreakingGround is about, will you join the campus and community conversation?  Here Kaylesh Ramu, UMBC’s SGA President, and David Hoffman, UMBC’s Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency, invite you to share your reactions, thoughts and ideas.



  1. At UMBC I work in leadership development within the Office of Student Life. While I love putting on programs and teaching classes, I’m more concerned that UMBC students, staff, and faculty have a common language around reflection and self-development as well as a shared vision for our campus. I want to gather UMBC together to agree on what it means to be a leader at UMBC and on what we perceive the process of leadership to look like. I want us to agree on how UMBC defines leadership with shared and sustainable language.

    Lofty goal, but by building positive relationships with people around campus we can do it.
    If you want to help email me at vbyrne@umbc.edu

  2. Susan DuMont says:

    It’s been so neat to see BreakingGround really kick off! I’ve really enjoyed seeing UMBC rally around this project and the idea that we are a community that helps/encourages/teaches/empowers people to create change and build community in a powerful and positive way. It’s helped me to think about my work in a new and creative way too. I can’t wait to see how much energy is generated as more and more people learn about BreakingGround and choose to share their stories or begin to participate in this way of life!

  3. cberger84 says:

    I am extremely excited about this effort. I’m looking forward to learning how student organizations outside of SGA are planning to create change on campus and beyond. Having been here for almost a full year, I have observed how many gifts, talents, and experiences everyone brings to the UMBC community, especially through the multitude of student organizations we have on campus. I’m particularly energized when I see all of these experiences–represented in different student organizations–coming together to not only celebrate their identities, hobbies, and respective passions, but also to identify a community problem and make a collective effort to solve it.

  4. My favorite part about Breaking Ground is that it gives us a chance to see how many things are already happening on campus that connect the UMBC to the wider community. The initiative encourages new work, but it has also let us see how much we were already doing–and it’s impressive. It has been great to get to know my colleagues and students outside of our assigned roles and in our larger lives and worlds. We have some impressive folks here at UMBC!

  5. As a UMBC student, it’s been really great to see all the cool projects and ways that UMBC is interweaving communities and exemplifying civic engagement. I feel like too often students get bogged down with classes and one or two projects and don’t get to hear about has happened before our time here and what happens outside of the things we are already doing. I really love the ideals of BreakingGround, and look forward to seeing it reach out to university members that wouldn’t have heard about these things otherwise.

  6. Nana Asare says:

    BreakingGround is a phenomenal initiative, being that it highlights the great work of UMBC students and faculty. I believe that this initiative will inspire students to truly get involved and do natural acts of civic agency. Moreover, BreakingGround provides a strong platform for students to understand the basis of the UMBC culture, seeking to make an impact in any community. I am beyond excited to see how BreakingGround cultivates the way people view civic agency, and also how it influences people to become civic agents. Lets THINK, CREATE and ENGAGE!

  7. I love getting to read the stories of all the efforts that have taken place on the UMBC campus and within the greater Baltimore area, but in my mind the most exciting part about BreakingGround is the potential for meaningful dialogue about how to continue to work towards a campus environment of true civic engagement. UMBC students are such a passionate, driven, and involved group of human beings, and I can’t wait to see what new ideas and initiatives BreakingGround is able to spark in the coming semester and beyond.

  8. I’m so excited for BreakingGround and I’m so proud that UMBC is a part of this movement. As a college student, there’s so much more than just sitting in lectures. It’s so encouraging to know that we can still be active citizens on our campus by participating in civic engagements. There are so many different networks within our campus that are here to encourage and support our ideas for social change. The BreakingGround grant is an awesome resource that is available for students and organizations that want to implement a project for improvement within a community. We can do it UMBC!

  9. I am excited about all the possibilities in the future with this initiative! It is fantastic to hear all the stories and impact – I hope students, staff and faculty alike share and engage!

  10. For the past year I have worked for Service-Learning through The Shriver Center and I have had the opportunity to get to know a lot of really special students. I’m thankful to be a part of a campus that intentionally creates a culture of service. I think there are dozens of ways that students, staff, and faculty are serving that I’m unaware of, and I’m glad we have Breaking Ground to highlight those things!

  11. This has been a very new experience for me in a lot of ways, but I’ve appreciated learning more about civic agency and how it is being developed and encouraged here at UMBC. This has not been a part of any of my training and I really hope that I can incorporate some of the tools I’ve seen shared in this space into the student-staff interactions in Special Collections.

    I really like that you posted this as a video. It would be great to see more audiovisual contributions here, especially with all of these dynamic people and projects!

  12. Jess Myers says:

    I remember when I was in college, I felt like I had to wait to be a junior or senior to leave my mark… and that my 1st and 2nd year was just this waiting period, a cocoon perhaps, before I could break my wings and fly as a social change maker on my campus. BreakingGround at UMBC debunks that myth… anyone can make a difference, any one can propose change, and anyone can be engaged in their community… you don’t need to wait!
    As a staff member now, I remember that this mantra can also be mine. I do not need to wait until I’ve been at UMBC for years to make a difference… I can do it right now. The culture of UMBC empowers us each to be active citizens in our community… and that is one of the most awesome feelings in the world.

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