UMBC has been recognized for its role in increasing nonpartisan democratic engagement, graduating engaged voters, and building a strong nonpartisan student voter engagement plan. The Center for Democracy and Civic Lifecoordinates and collaborates with many campus departments and organizations on voter engagement efforts.
First, UMBC was named a Voter Friendly Campus, one of 258 campuses in 38 states and the District of Columbia, by Fair Elections Center's Campus Vote Project and NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The initiative recognizes institutions that have planned and implemented practices that encourage their students to register and vote in the 2022 elections and in coming years. The University earned the same designation for the previous two-year period.
The mission of the 2023 Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster colleges' and universities' efforts to help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process -- every year, not just during years featuring federal elections.
In addition, based on the quality of its 2022student voter engagement plan prepared by the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, UMBC was awarded the 2022 ALL IN Highly Established Action Plan Seal. UMBC is one of 121 colleges and universities recognized for their commitment and plans to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement in 2022 and graduating engaged voters.
ALL IN and the American Democracy Project, Campus Vote Project, NASPA Lead Initiative, and the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition created the Strengthening American Democracy Guide to help guide campuses on their journey to graduate democratically engaged students by building effective action plans. ALL IN, in collaboration with over 960 higher education institutions, seeks to make participation in local, state, and federal elections a social norm; substantially increase the number of college students who are democratically engaged on an ongoing basis, during and between elections, and not just at the polls; and make educating for democratic engagement on college campuses an accepted and expected part of the culture and curriculum so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and values needed to be an informed and active citizen.
Alongside staff and faculty, UMBC students play an important role in helping to create resources as well as develop and facilitate nonpartisan programs that encourage students to become democratically engaged. Undergraduate Musa Jafri '24 was named to the 2023 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Student Voting Honor Roll for his work supporting student voter engagement. Jafri is UMBC's SGA President-elect. He has played a leading role in UMBC's voter engagement efforts as SGA's director of governmental affairs and as a political engagement intern for the Center for Democracy and Civic Life (which nominated him for this recognition).