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Public Leadership Students Work to Impact Prince George’s County

On May 15, undergraduate students in the University of Maryland School of Public Policy-sponsored College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program presented the work they accomplished throughout the year to have an impact on social issues plaguing Prince George’s County. The students were divided into two groups, with one group focusing on impacting recreational sports in the area and the other group focusing on education.

During the Impact Prince George’s County event, students participated in a panel discussion to share what they learned about leadership, social change, fundraising and policy pitches.

Within the larger groups, students worked in three smaller groups to focus on fundraising, grant writing and policymaking. Students said at the beginning of the year, they spent time brainstorming and creating a list of the issues they wanted to address. From there, they developed a list of organizations in Prince George’s County working on their chosen issues.

Those in the grant writing group were tasked with reaching out to the organizations with an offer to write a grant for them. One student mentioned they had difficulty establishing credibility as a student group reaching out to professional organizations.

Several students also said they were challenged when trying to raise money on a college campus when they didn’t know the recipient organizations at the time. Students in the program who worked on fundraising hosted bake sales, restaurant sales, GoFundMe and other tactics to raise money for their causes. The education-focused group was able to raise $3,045 and the recreation-focused group raised $3,192.

During the policy pich portion of the event, students in the education group pitched an idea to create a mentor program among teachers in Prince George’s County to help with high turnover rates and lack of teacher support. The students noted that prepared teachers are better equipped to create informed students who go out and change the world.

Students in the recreational sports group focused on creating a better way to distribute public play spaces in Prince George’s County so that people from all economic backgrounds can enjoy the spaces. During their pitch they provided examples of how privatizing public spaces can cause problems for local communities that don’t have resources to rent play space.

At the end of the event, each group presented checks to the local organizations they selected. The recreational sports group delivered their check for $3,192 to the Clinton Boys and Girls Club, a group dedicated to promoting community involvement and expanding access to recreational sports. Students in the education group presented a check for $3,045 to College and Career Pathways, an organization that focuses on improving graduation rates and providing teacher training.

You can learn more about the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program here.

Photos from the event can be viewed on the School of Public Policy Flickr account.