Craig Berger, coordinator of student life for campus and civic engagement, has been named chair of the American Democracy Project (ADP) Steering Committee for 2016-17. The multi-campus ADP initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of highly informed and civically-engaged students.
As steering committee chair, Berger will preside over meetings throughout the year and work closely with the ADP national manager to craft the organization’s strategic plan and to coordinate the annual awards and upcoming Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) leadership meeting in Baltimore.
“I’m really honored by this selection,” shares Berger. “I wholeheartedly agree with and support the mission of ADP, which is to view institutions of higher education as venues and forums for young adults to think about and experiment with being empowered in solving shared public problems.”
Berger previously served as chair-elect of the steering committee last year. He explains that his involvement with the American Democracy Project has been rewarding and has helped him in his daily work as a staff member in the Office of Student Life at UMBC.
“So much of what ADP does is something that UMBC prides itself on…being creative and entrepreneurial. I owe being named chair-elect last year and now chair of the ADP steering committee to the tradition and culture that I’ve grown in professionally in the last five years at UMBC.”
During his time at the university, Berger has been heavily involved with BreakingGround, an initiative that aligns closely with the American Democracy Project mission by fostering connections across campus and beyond to demonstrate the power of individuals and group collaboration in creating meaningful change. Last year, Berger helped organize the 2015 Imagining America Conference, which brought leaders together from around the country to emphasize the power of many voices coming together to envision our nation’s future, engaging with topics like race, inequality, and community-based approaches to spur collective action.
In his new leadership position, Berger says that he will largely benefit from the lessons he’s learned so far at UMBC.
“My experience at UMBC has taught me…that democratic engagement work is not just an activity that we do at institutions…it is a part of the campus identity.”
The 2017 CLDE National Meeting will be held June 7-10, 2017 in Baltimore. For more information, visit the ADP website.
Image: Craig Berger. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.