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.”
The new U.S. Department of Education report “Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy” recognizes UMBC’s Prove It! as a unique initiative at the forefront the higher ed’s emerging civic learning movement.
Prove It! is a campus-wide contest that funds student-led efforts to improve the university, such as projects to create a campus wi-fi plaza and convert waste oil into fuel for campus vehicles. This initiative is a hallmark of our Student Government Association’s focus on inspiring peers to become citizen leaders and problem-solvers in their own right.
The report notes that Prove It! demonstrates how UMBC “transformed its student government from a client-service model to one that promotes social entrepreneurship.” Beyond sparking campus change projects, Prove It! has been a powerful vehicle for spreading the SGA’s core message: all UMBC students can apply their skills and ingenuity to addressing community challenges.