The Center strives to give SMCM students the intellectual and experiential foundations for all aspects of responsible citizenship and to empower them with the knowledge that they can make a positive difference in our society and the world tomorrow. Through its activities, the Center promotes a diverse set of democratic practices, including the importance of engaging in civil discourse, illustrating a wide range of free speech activities to enable respect of diverse opinions, service to the community and civic engagement activities for students.
- The St. Mary’s Votes! project is a local initiative to encourage St. Mary’s College of Maryland students, and young people across the state, to participate in primary and general elections. Since 2006, the club has registered over 850 young people to vote in state and national elections. In 2008, the club expanded its role in civic engagement to include working as election and poll judges during primary and general elections.
- Leadership activities for students is an important dimension of Center activities. For example, we regularly host Debating for Democracy (D4D), a six-hour training workshop to help students learn tools of organizing, advocacy and strategies for making change. This program is co-sponsored with our partner, Project Pericles.
- The William Donald Schaefer Internship Program run by the Center has expanded from a simple legislative internship in Annapolis to include three summer internships in many different areas of government and public policy. In 10 years, the William Donald Schaefer Internship Program has provided over $35,000 in spring and summer scholarships to more than 30 undergraduates.