Often when discussing democratic engagement the conversation begins and ends with voting. While voting is an important and essential part of the democratic process, there are many more opportunities to become an active citizen. Below you will find a list of different methods for for staying engaged beyond the ballot box.
- Diversify your news sources. Reach beyond the articles selected for you by a social media algorithm or your typical news outlets.
- Consider subscribing to a paper or publication that supports investigative journalism.
- Learn how to identify fake news. Media literacy is becoming more and more important in today's media saturated world. Learn more about identifying fake news. Learn about Misinformation vs. Disinformation.
- Research and read about American history and civics. The Resources page offers a significant list of useful and powerful tools to assist you with this process.
- If you are interested in taking an American history or civics course at UB, visit the Schedule of Courses. There are many history and government and public affairs options.
- Do your best to understand all sides of an issue. Conversing with others who have differing opinions may be difficult, but it can offer valuable context.
- Plan a local activity or event. Block parties and other events are great opportunities to get to know your neighbors. Visit The Neighborhood Project for ideas, templates and resources.
- Get to know your neighbors. Attend local events, walk or utilize public transportation when possible and make an effort to meet your community. While these sound simplistic they are some of the most useful ways to cultivate community.
- Volunteer with an organization that benefits your community. Aligning causes that matter to you and specific skills you can bring to the organization are ways you can make the most out of volunteering. That being said, never overlook the good you can do by simply volunteering and doing whatever may be needed. Visit our Community Engagement page for more information about volunteering in the Baltimore community.
- Visit or volunteer for a state or national park, historical society, cultural center or museum.
- Support local businesses, causes, organizations or officials through donations or purchases.
- Volunteer to work at a polling place. It is a great way to provide non-partisan support to the democratic process.
- Know who your elected legislator and leaders are and how to get and stay in touch with them. This guide will help you learn how to communicate and engage with elected officials.
- Identify an issue that you feel strongly about and pursue it. Research it from multiple perspectives and find methods to advocate for it when possible.
- Attend town hall, city council, parent-teacher association or school board meetings. Being involved will keep you up to date on what is happening in your community and offer you additional opportunities to volunteer and serve.
- Consider joining a campaign. Officials at the local, state and federal level all need assistance and help getting thing done. Many may even offer opportunities for you to be involved without leaving your house.
- Run for office. Every elected official begins somewhere and has a cause that matters to them. Why not you?