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STRiVE is an intensive and engaging leadership for social impact retreat that helps inspire and support students in becoming more effective leaders and contributors to their communities, especially the UMBC community. STRiVE participants develop friendships; discover their strengths and values; learn how to work more effectively in groups; envision contributions they could make at UMBC; engage issues relating to identity, privilege, and systemic oppression; and tackle both simulated and real leadership and social change challenges. Past STRiVE participants have gotten deeply involved in campus organizations and initiatives, and have made phenomenal contributions. More than 600 students have completed the program and have given it outstanding reviews. The Center for Democracy and Civic Life hosts STRiVE in partnership with the Student Government Association, with support from PNC Bank.


“It has been an experience of enlightenment. I’ve been on similar retreats, but they didn’t have the same impact as STRiVE. I loved every second of it, even the hard moments.”

— STRiVE 2020 participant

When is STRiVE?

STRiVE takes place in January during UMBC’s Winter Break. STRiVE 2021 will take place January 11-15, 2021.

Do I have to be an “involved” student to attend STRiVE?

Absolutely not. STRiVE will be helpful to any student regardless of previous involvement or leadership experience. No prior experience is necessary. We are looking for a diverse group of students committed to developing their leadership skills and applying them to create positive change in the campus community. The application asks about campus involvement only to give the STRiVE planning team a sense of the different perspectives participants will bring to the retreat.

Where does STRiVE take place?

STRiVE 2021 will take place virtually.

How much does it cost to participate?

UMBC covers most of the cost of each participant’s attendance. Participants pay a $25 fee that helps cover some of the cost of materials. However, we do not intend that this fee be a barrier to participation. Every participant will have the opportunity to request financial assistance.

When is the participant application due?

Sunday, November 15, 2020. Click here to apply.

When are accepted applicants informed?

Applicants will receive an email in late November with additional details about participating in STRiVE. For additional information, please contact us at

 “I’ve learned that a simple conversation can lead me to meet amazing people, and we’re a step away from building connection and a sense of belonging.”

— STRiVE 2020 participant