Connecting Community Partners

Lori Hardesty is assistant director for service-learning and K-16 partnerships at UMBC’s Shriver Center.

???????????????????????????????Positive social change is the product of collaboration: relationships that empower everyone to make meaningful contributions to the common good. This week (as a part of National Volunteer Week) UMBC will celebrate and promote empowering partnerships at the Connecting Community Partners Service Fair, sponsored by the Office of Student Life and The Shriver Center. The event will take place Friday, April 26th, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in UC 310 and 312.

The event is designed to build relationships among UMBC students, faculty and staff interested in deeper community engagement and with community organizations active in and around Baltimore. It will be valuable for faculty members looking for potential speakers or thinking about building new service-learning components into courses; students interested in tackling social issues, exploring post-graduate career options or planning events for their organizations; and anyone interested in meeting up with some inspired, inspiring people interested in making a difference.

Community partners who will participate range from U.S. Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education to Operation Welcome Home. Alyssa Budros of partner Soccer Without Borders shares:

The mission of our organization piggybacks off your mission as BreakingGround attempts to power meaningful change through community but also through the individual. … The work we do with these families cannot be done without partnerships, volunteers, mentors, and the help of the community.

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with all of these partners at the event, and hope to see you there too!

Contact the author, Lori Hardesty, at

Collaboration Produces GSA Art Gallery (photos)

Romy Jones, a doctoral student in UMBC’s Language, Literacy & Culture program, is Community Liaison for the Office of Graduate Student Life.

A process that began with a reorganization of office furniture, and a conversation among UMBC graduate students about what to do with the bare walls in our office, has culminated in the creation of a new art gallery.  The beautiful gallery, a collaboration between UMBC’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Imaging and Digital Arts (IMDA) program, is a modest symbol and example of meeting a challenge by leveraging our community’s assets.

In this case, we knew our IMDA graduate students were producing remarkable works.  What we discovered when we reached out to people affiliated with the program was that they were eager for an opportunity to help create our collective experience of the campus. The art they produced serves in part as a monument to the idea that UMBC graduate students are producers, not just consumers, of our education and of the university itself.

GSA is especially grateful to Shana Palmer and the students from ART 610, as well as IMDA Graduate Program Director Steve Bradley, who turned this vision into reality.  UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski, Provost Philip Rous, Vice Povost and Dean of the Graduate School Janet Rutledge, Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences John Jeffries, Associate Dean of the Graduate School Robert Deluty and graduate students from many departments took time out of their busy schedules to pay tribute to this community building project that celebrates innovation and collaboration among graduate students, faculty, and administrators. [Read more…]

When I Was Regent

UMBC senior Collin Wojciechowski served as the sole student member of the University System of Maryland’s governing Board of Regents, 2011-2012.

It’s been almost three months now since my term as student member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents expired and I’m still in awe of what a year it was. Looking back, parts of it still seem almost too spectacular to have been real. From having the chance to introduce legislation to reform the way our universities set student fees, to voting on one of the most extensive merger studies higher education has recently seen, to meeting the President of the United States, each moment seems more surreal than the next.

However, for me, the greatest memory I carry out of this experience is the proven knowledge that students, when united together, actually can make a difference. Having worked in student government since I was in sixth grade I knew that students could have a tremendous impact on school policies if they really put their minds to it, especially at a place as engaged in shared governance as UMBC. Still I was skeptical, like many, as to how big of an impact students could have on larger policy issues, outside the walls of academia.

Flashback to April and the end of session for the Maryland General Assembly: [Read more…]