In May of 1968, nine individuals shook the conscience of the nation as they burned U.S. Selective Service records with homemade napalm on the grounds of the Catonsville, Maryland Knights of Columbus hall. The fire they started erupted into an infamous trial and influenced similar dynamic actions across the country.
The UMBC community is invited to a Social Science Forum exploring this action, and the trial that followed, on Friday, May 10th, at 2:30 p.m. in the Proscenium Theater (Performing Arts and Humanities Building). Joining us will be a panel of scholars, activists and two members of the Catonsville Nine. The event, cosponsored by the Department of American Studies will feature a film screening (3:00 p.m.) and dialogue (4:30 p.m.).
For more information on the project and to hear a WYPR interview with organizer Theodore Gonzalves (chair of American Studies), see the BreakingGround blog.
Today’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 Sparrows 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. For additional details on BreakingGround, see the project website, myUMBC group or #digUMBC on Twitter.
Earlier this week, UMBC SGA President Kaylesh Ramu ’13, political science, shared the stage with the U.S. Under Secretary of Education and other leaders at the National Press Club as they launched Shaping Our Future, a new national civic engagement initiative (watch video).
Education Week covered the event, quoting Ramu on the role of college students as active agents of change in their communities, on campus and beyond. “We are starting to have a culture change and understand that we all bring about what is UMBC,” said Ramu, describing the ethos that grounds UMBC’s new BreakingGround initiative, which launched last week.
Shaping Our Future is a year-long national dialogue on the future of higher education. Ramu has been involved through her membership on the board of the American Commonwealth Partnership (ACP), a national alliance supporting innovative approaches to civic education and strong connections between universities and communities. President Hrabowski serves on ACP’s Presidents’ Advisory Council and UMBC staff David Hoffman, Michele Wolff and Craig Berger serve with Ramu on the national board.
“On campus, the good side of politics” is new Baltimore Sun op-ed written by David Hoffman, UMBC Assistant Director of Student Life for Civic Agency, and SGA President Kaylesh Ramu ’13, political science.
Hoffman and Ramu offer hope to readers who are “understandably skeptical about politics and public life” in this time of government gridlock and discord. They write that at UMBC, “students are helping lead the way to a new kind of politics that bridges difference and strengthens communities.”
The piece goes on to explore the civic engagement work underway at UMBC—carried forward by the BreakingGround initiative—as well as its roots in our campus culture and its implications for our broader democracy. Comments? Offer your thoughts, post your questions and share your experiences on the BreakingGround blog.
This week’s Huffington Post article “Owning Yes We Can” highlights the inspiring work of UMBC’s Student Government Association (SGA), which the authors call “a national model…of student organizing and empowerment.” They focus on SGA’s successful effort this spring to organize student opposition to state budget cuts that would have led to a dramatic tuition increase.
“Many would not have been able to stay in school with 15-20 percent increases in tuition expenses,” explained SGA member Meghan Carpenter. “I am so proud of what students from different organizations were able to start. We showed that students can make a change not just at our college, but in our state.”