BreakingGround is a departure from traditional views of citizenship that suggest we can only impact our society by volunteering, voting and hoping that experts and elected officials work together to address our concerns. Our approach, developed through partnerships such as the American Democracy Project and American Commonwealth Partnership, embraces the potential of thoughtful citizens as boundary-busting innovators, resource creators, coalition builders, problem solvers and agents of social transformation. This encompasses six interrelated themes:

Personal and civic agency
Involving UMBC students, faculty, staff and community partners in ways that encourage them to move beyond their standard roles and enable them to initiate or lead successful social change projects.

Learning and development
Preparing and motivating participants to tackle increasingly complex and fundamental challenges, reflecting the nature of real-world problems.

Rigor and results
Producing meaningful, measurable progress.

Innovation and entrepreneurship
Promoting creative thinking that is action-oriented.

Power of diversity
Bridging superficial or conventional divides, harnessing participants’ differing histories and perspectives as assets.

Strong community connections
Recognizing that UMBC is a thriving community co-created by its members, and that both on-campus and off-campus interactions have tremendous potential to teach important lessons about civic engagement and social change.

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