This Week: Mill Stories — Refreshments (and Laughter) Guaranteed!

Mill Stories

BreakingGround Course is Front-Page News

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

David HoffmanToday’s Baltimore Sun features a front-page story about students in two UMBC courses shedding light on the human side of Baltimore’s industrial past. The students, guided by New Media Studio director Bill Shewbridge and American Studies folklorist in residence Michelle Stefano, are helping tell the stories of steelworkers from the now-defunct Baltimore Sun, 2.12.13Sparrows Point Steel Mill, which once employed thousands. The mill has been shuttered and is being sold for scrap.

The oral history project is supported by a BreakingGround course development grant. The article also describes several other BreakingGround courses and projects through which people from UMBC are solving problems and working with community partners to make innovative contributions to the common good. I’m thrilled that readers are getting this taste of UMBC’s rich, creative and collaborative civic work.

Contact the author, David Hoffman, at

The Stories We Share

Alonte Cross ’15, Media & Communication Studies, is an office assistant in the UMBC Office of Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity. Lisa Gray is assistant director of Student Life for cultural and spiritual diversity.

Alonte CrossLisa GrayIn recognition of National Black History Month, the Office of Student Life’s Mosaic Center will welcome humorist and storyteller Dawn J. Fraser to UMBC to shed light on the art of storytelling as a tool for learning, connecting with others and building community. Fraser has toured with internationally acclaimed author Neil Gaiman as part of the Unchained Tour, and has been featured in various storytelling shows including Story Collider, Soundtrack Series and RISK! She is one of the co-founders of the nonprofit Art in Action (currently a division of United Roots Oakland) and has worked on cultural advocacy programs in countries including Brazil, Jamaica and Ghana.

Storytelling is one of the oldest, most powerful and engaging forms of communication, and history is people’s collective story. National Black History Month is an occasion for all of us to remember and retell the stories of significant people and events comprising the collective story of the African diaspora. Fraser believes that personal narratives can “inspire action, engage audiences and foment lasting social change.”

This event will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in The Commons’ Skylight Room. Fraser’s presentation will be followed by a facilitated discussion and reception with refreshments. All UMBC students, faculty, staff and their guests are welcome.

This event is sponsored by The Office of Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity, the Women’s Center, the Humanities Living and Learning Community, the Departments of Theater and American Studies, the Language, Literacy & Culture and Gender & Women’s Studies programs, and Women Involved in Learning & Leadership (WILL).

Contact the authors, Alonte Cross and Lisa Gray, at