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History

Throughout the history of the UMBC SGA, students have engaged in initiatives to organize, empower, and support the undergraduate student population. Since the Fall of 1966, when the SGA was first formed, and shortly after UMBC first opened its doors, the SGA has focused on strengthening the campus community. From developing the 1st “Bitch-In” to organizing Prove-It! so that more students could co-create the UMBC community that they want to see, the SGA has been a vehicle for working across difference, roles, and traditional boundaries to strengthen UMBC.

Some examples of some past SGA initiatives/important things to note are (by year):

  • 1968: After seeing the need for a discussion on the time’s issues, the SGA organized the “Bitch-In,” a three hour event where students could have the chance to speak out on topics about which they felt strongly, such as racism, student power, etc.
  • 1970: Students formed a group named “The Student Union” and called for several changes, including the development of a “free hour” on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during which no classes would be scheduled so that student organizations had time to meet; Free Hour continues to exist at UMBC.
  • 1981: The University Center opened following SGA’s advocacy for a new student union building.
  • 2003: Created the UMBC student Academic Integrity Statement.
  • 2004: Persuaded and helped the Provost’s Office to preserve a “Reading Day” (a day without classes or final exams) between the end of classes and final exams each semester.
  • 2004: Partnered with The Commons to transform a then-underused lounge in The Commons (UMBC’s student union building built in 2001), into the Student Organization Space–a center in which student organizations meet, organize, and even conduct dance rehearsals; the SGA invested over $30,000 and persuaded The Commons to make the space unreserve-able, agreed that SGA would make decisions about its use, and allowed SGA to play a central role in picking the furniture
  • 2004: Coordinated and hosted the first quadrennial “Election Night Extravaganza,” an event gathering over a thousand UMBC community members in The Commons to watch election results, eat pizza, and hear from elected officials
  • 2005: Organized a student forum following Hurricane Katrina and helped organize relief efforts for displaced residents.
  • 2006: Developed a partnership with Transit Services to install a GPS tracking system that enables students to view the exact locations of UMBC’s shuttle buses at any time from any computer.
  • 2007: Launched and implemented “Prove It!,” a contest in which teams of students could propose campus improvement projects, with the winning team getting $5,000 in cash and $50,000 to implement its idea. 22 teams submitted proposals, with the “Green Space” project winning the prize. The Green Space project, involving the creation of a new plaza on the hillside above the library pond, was unveiled in the fall of 2009.
  • 2007: The student body approved an amendment to the SGA Constitution to create the SGA Finance Board along with the Vice President for Student Organizations position; replacing the old House of Organizations, the Finance Board meets weekly to approve allocations to student organizations on a rolling basis (so there is less lag between the requests and events to which they pertain), and the new Vice President for Student Organizations sits on the new Board and connects student organizations with SGA resources
  • 2008: The SGA hosts its second quadrennial “Election Night Extravaganza”
  • 2009: The second run of the Prove It! contest, with a $30,000 grant and $5,000 cash prize available for the winning submission, generated widespread interest.  13 teams submitted proposals.  For the first time, the winner was selected (from among 6 finalists) by a student vote.  The Biodiesel Production Facility project, which generates biodiesel fuel for use in campus shuttle buses, was implemented in 2010-2011.
  • 2010: SGA proposed and worked with campus officials to develop the Stay Black and Gold Fund, which provides financial support to students who would otherwise have to drop out of UMBC due to financial needs.  Fundraising for the Stay Black and Gold Fund continues today.
  • 2011: Members of the Senate and the Executive Branch collaborated with the office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance, Lynne Schaefer, to hold its annual forum on student fees, asking each department receiving revenue from student fees to present how they will be putting these funds to use. Special attention this year was paid to educating the student body about the budget process through a marketing campaign in coordination with The Retriever Weekly. More information about the 2016 Fee Forum can be found here.
  • 2012: “Noche Vida,” the name of a student-designed concept for a 24 hour food service operation in the AOK Library, was implemented in conjunction with Chartwells; using a $10,000 grant from SGA’s Prove It! competition, a student worked with Chartwells staff members to create a food service option that was profitable in the 2-3 hours past the original closing time of 10:00 p.m. Duffin’s success convinced Chartwells to incorporate “Noche Vida” as a late-night concept for Pura Vida, the actual name of its library operation, and extend the hours until midnight.
  • 2012: SGA holds its third quadrennial “Election Night Extravaganza”
  • 2013: Established the “Green Paw Fund,” which is a line in the SGA Budget for organizations to request funds from the SGA Finance Board for events and programs which support sustainability efforts on campus.
  • 2014: In collaboration with the Counseling Center and University Health Services, the SGA successfully launched the Mental Health Intern Program, in which SGA pays for students to help with UMBC’s mental health initiatives
  • 2014: In collaboration with the Athletics Department, created and funded the Bikeshare program allowing for students to rent bicycles to navigate the campus and the surrounding Catonsville and Arbutus communities
  • 2015: Stay tuned for more!