BreakingGround, a grant program that supports civic innovations at UMBC, launched in fall 2012 after a two-year organizing effort. While the process commenced well before the publication of the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement’s influential report A Crucible Moment, BreakingGround is in part a response to the report’s call to infuse commitments to civic learning and democratic engagement in all university activities. Through courses, community events, and forums for sharing and deliberation, BreakingGround helps to bring students, faculty, and staff together and facilitates their creative contributions to the common good. As UMBC Provost Philip Rous, BreakingGround’s sponsor, has observed, “we are all here because we want to make a difference, and we do.”
Since its launch, BreakingGround has supported the development of dozens of courses across the curriculum and more than 25 campus and community engagement projects.