One of the aspects of College Park that makes it such a great community is its commitment to helping locals get civically engaged. The Office of Community Engagement (OCE), managed by the University of Maryland, has created many initiatives for bringing community-members together; some of which include the College Park Dream Team, Good Neighbor Day, and Making a Difference Awards.
The College Park Dream Team is a program initiated by the University of Maryland in which young members of the Lakeland Community, the oldest African American community in College Park, get together with local police officials to enjoy food and play basketball as a way to promote fellowship and mentorship and feelings of safety.
Another initiative, Good Neighbor Day, is an annual day of service organized by a partnership of the same name. Every year, this cooperation between the City of College Park, the university, and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) work together with hundreds of volunteers to beautify the city, package meals for families in need, and educate the public about sustainability.
In order to further promote engagement, the OCE recognizes its campus and community members for the positive impact they make through Making a Difference Awards. Each year since 2016, the OCE has presented this award to multiple individuals across a range of occupations and roles in the community for their dedication to serving College Park.
In addition to these programs, the OCE features an event calendar on its website with opportunities for individuals to participate in food distribution, volunteering at PG Plaza Day Center, and contributing to public forums held by District 1 Coffee Club in order to address and develop solutions for problems in the community. The calendar also includes College Park parkrun, a weekly 5k every Saturday. All members of the College Park community are welcome and encouraged to participate in these events.
The OCE is constantly promoting other programs to improve the community, such as the Back 2 School Supply Drive, which is currently collecting backpacks, notebooks, folders, glue sticks, crayons, pencils, scissors, and personal care items to support local elementary school students. Contributions are being collected at the OCE’s office in Marie Mount Hall 0303 until Monday, September 2nd. To stay up to date with other activities, news, and volunteer opportunities taking place in College Park, locals can sign up for their monthly e-newsletter.