In the mid-1990’s, The Shriver Center, UMBC’s center for applied learning experiences, administered a Learn & Serve America grant through the Corporation for National & Community Service for a consortium of area colleges and universities. This grant supported several conferences in the Baltimore area. About ten years later in 2008, UMBC hosted a similar event, “Solutions Through Service.” This event was planned and implemented by members of the Shriver Living Learning Center (SLLC), twenty-nine UMBC students who live, learn, and serve together. UMBC’s Office of Undergraduate Education and the Baltimore Collegetown Network were co-sponsors.
The conference has grown in both size and scope since 2008. Members of the conference’s Planning Committee now include staff and faculty of 15+ institutions of higher education throughout Maryland, DC, and Delaware, as well as community partners and students. Subsequent conferences have been hosted by the University of Baltimore (2009), Towson University (2010), Stevenson University (2011), Coppin State University (2012), UMBC (2013), University of Baltimore (2014), American University (2015), the Universities at Shady Grove (2016), Towson University (2017), and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (2018). The last few conferences have reached maximum capacity (300 attendees).
With the culmination of the 6th Annual SLCE Conference back at UMBC in 2013, then-named Maryland-DC Campus Compact took a greater role in supporting and sponsoring future conferences. It is now a feature event for Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic, connecting faculty, practitioners, and students in the region around service-learning and civic engagement concepts, theory, and practice.