Civic Agency in Practice: American Democracy Project Takeaways

David Hoffman is UMBC’s assistant director of student life for civic agency.

David HoffmanThe American Democracy Project’s annual meeting took place earlier this month in Louisville, Kentucky, with UMBC sending 18 participants: the largest of all the campus delegations. Our team of students, faculty and staff members led two presentations and hosted a roundtable discussion about practicing democracy on campus, shining a spotlight on The Garden (winner of this year’s SGA Prove It! competition) and the STRiVE student leadership retreat. We also had a dinnertime conversation with Harry Boyte, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, who found inspiration in the confidence and mature public presence of UMBC’s student leaders.

As in the past, we found that we had much to gain from spending time with the people in higher education doing some of the most creative and important thinking about how our institutions can strengthen democracy. And as in the past, we found we had something distinctive to contribute: insights from the ongoing experience of co-creating a university in which the democratic spirit infuses our teaching, research, student organizations and daily interactions.

Beverly Bickel, a member of the UMBC delegation, shared some of her reflections here. Below are thoughts from other members of the UMBC delegation about what we did and what we learned in Louisville.