Speaking Up for UMBC

Delana Gregg is assistant director of the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.

Delana GreggAfter 90 days in session, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned “sine die” (without plans to reconvene on another day) last week. Thanks to Governor O’Malley and state legislators, next year’s budget provides UMBC with much-needed resources to sustain programs and support new capital projects without undermining the affordability of a UMBC education.

Testimony provided at General Assembly budget hearings by UMBC students Kaylesh Ramu (SGA President), Meghan Carpenter (SGA Director of Community and Governmental Affairs) and Michael Collins (SGA Assistant Director of Community and Governmental Affairs), as well as UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, undoubtedly helped UMBC’s prospects. I’m proud to say all three of the students have taken my classes, and I’m thrilled to see them make these important contributions.

From Kaylesh Ramu’s testimony:

Kaylesh RamuThis funding is crucial in ensuring that our students are receiving the best possible education, one that teaches us to be both scholars and active problem solvers….From my first day at UMBC I realized the difficulty of having to always consider affordability. I did not have enough financial aid to stay on campus, and I noticed that commuting impacted the ability I had to participate in study groups and other educational experiences on campus. … [Proposed cuts to higher education] could have a detrimental effect…and cause many students to see dropping out of school as their only option.

From Meghan Carpenter’s testimony:

Meghan CarpenterI have been a part of the UMBC community for thirteen years as the very proud daughter of a faculty member and resident of Catonsville. I know firsthand that UMBC is a vital part of our community. My neighbors rely on UMBC for employment, for the occasional night class, or just for a safe walk around the campus loop. Growing up, I always knew that I could count on UMBC for a good education and as a safe place to spend time. The Catonsville community as a whole would be adversely impacted if budget cuts to the University System of Maryland created a strain for UMBC.

President Hrabowski’s testimony illuminated the results of continued support for UMBC “in student success and in faculty and staff productivity, developing brainpower and discoveries that drive innovation and economic momentum in Maryland and beyond.” I was especially thrilled to see him highlight

Freeman Hrabowski 2012…the area of social entrepreneurship and UMBC’s collaborative, campus-wide civic engagement initiative, BreakingGround, which enables students to address real-world needs through 14 courses in areas ranging from American Studies to Mechanical Engineering.  The initiative aims to help students envision their careers as opportunities to have a public impact, reflecting the responsibility of higher education institutions to play a central role in strengthening American democracy and preparing citizens to tackle the challenges of our age.

Contact the author, Delana Gregg, at delana1@umbc.edu.

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