STRiVE is an intensive and engaging leadership for social impact 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 700 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 2024 will take place from January 8-12, 2024. To participate, you must be available to attend the entire retreat.

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 program.

Where does STRiVE take place?

We are planning to host STRiVE 2024 in-person 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?

UMBC covers most of the cost of each participant’s attendance. However, each participant pays a $125, non-refundable contribution toward the retreat’s cost. Financial assistance is available. If you are selected to participate in STRiVE 2024, we will send you a form that includes the financial aid request. We do not want the $125 contribution to be a barrier to anyone’s participation.

When is the participant application due?

Applications for STRiVE 2024 will be due in November 2023. To be notified when we release the STRiVE 2024 application in October, fill out this form.

When are accepted applicants informed?

All applicants will receive emails in late November letting them know about the status of their applications. For additional information, please contact us at


 “I have learned that students do truly have a voice at UMBC. [We] can impact the environment […] and shape the community we want to see.”

— STRiVE 2021 participant