STRiVE is an intensive and engaging leadership for public purpose program 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 800 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.

“I am so glad I came to STRiVE. It made me see new aspects of myself and become more open.”

— STRiVE 2023 participant

“This was the best experience of my entire life. I met people that I want to be in my life forever.”

— STRiVE 2024 participant


When is STRiVE?

STRiVE takes place in January during UMBC’s Winter Break. STRiVE 2025 will take place from Monday, January 13 – Friday, January 17, 2025. To participate, you must be available to attend the entire program.

Where does STRiVE take place?

We are planning to host STRiVE 2025 at Skycroft Conference Center in Middletown, Maryland (round trip bus transportation from the UMBC campus will be provided to participants). Participants will stay in motel-style rooms and all activities will be held on site.

How much does it cost to participate in STRiVE?

UMBC covers most of the cost of each participant’s attendance. However, each participant pays a $150, non-refundable contribution toward the program’s cost. Financial assistance is available. If you are selected to participate in STRiVE 2025, we will send you a form that includes an opportunity to request financial aid. We do not want the $150 contribution to be a barrier to anyone’s participation.

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

Absolutely not. STRiVE will be helpful to any student regardless of previous involvement or leadership experience. No prior experience or involvement 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.

Can I participate in STRiVE if I will be taking a winter class?

STRiVE’s activities are scheduled from about 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. each day. You will not be able to attend class meetings or complete coursework during these times. If your class will include synchronous meetings during the week of STRiVE, it will not be possible for you participate in the program. If your class will take place asynchronously, it may be possible for you to participate. However, we strongly encourage participants taking asynchronous classes to complete their coursework during the weeks before and after STRiVE, as time to do coursework will be very limited and WiFi at the program site can be unreliable.

Can I participate in STRiVE again if I have participated before?

You can only participate in STRiVE once. However, you can serve as STRiVE coach multiple times, including after participating in STRiVE. Applications to be a STRiVE 2025 coach will be due in April 2024. Follow our myUMBC page to be notified when we release the application.

How do I apply to participate in STRiVE?

Applications to participate in STRiVE 2025 will open in October 2024. All applicants will receive emails in late November letting them know about the status of their applications. For additional information, please contact Tess McRae at


“My biggest takeaway from STRiVE was just how much more I feel like I belong at UMBC and that there are so many spaces that I can investigate that I will be welcomed and supported in. I am so looking forward to getting more involved at UMBC.”

— STRiVE 2024 participant

“Every component of STRiVE came together to make the experience unforgettable. I wouldn’t change anything. The sense of community between the students and coaches made me feel like I finally belonged.”

— STRiVE 2023 participant