By Alice Carlson
The smell of Old Bay and grilled burgers filled the air at McKeldin Mall, as the University of Maryland (UMD) and city residents celebrated Maryland Day on April 29th.
UMD alumni brought their families back to the campus they love, and their kids sported Maryland gear head to toe as they crowded around the fountain for this year’s fishing for terrapins event. Students worked their way through campus, some for the first time and some for the last.
“As a senior, it’s bittersweet being here right now; I’m gonna miss living in close vicinity to such an amazing school. I’ve been to Maryland Day every year since I was a freshman, and I cannot believe this is my last one as a student. It’s always such a fun time,” said Marissa Chuck, a pre-med student.
Events took place across campus. Large crowds gathered in STAMP Student Union to watch as Jeff Kinney, alum and author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, unveiled a statue of Greg Heffley, the book’s central character. That wasn’t the only unveiling on campus, either. Hoards of people gathered in front of Thurgood Marshall Hall to see a new sculpture with big red letters spelling out Do Good. The sculpture was installed in recognition of the Do Good Institute, part of the university’s School of Public Policy, which is dedicated to making the world a better place. The institute hosted events on Maryland Day to spread their message across campus.
“When you come to the University of Maryland, you’re not just a student that comes in and out for a couple of years. You’re not just a number, right? You are standing on a foundation, and each one of us is adding a brick to that foundation, making it stronger for the next students that come here that are going to make an impact,” said UMD alum Khalil Kettering, during his presentation on the main stage. Kettering, a former masters student, was also a member of the Do Good Institute.
This stage, which was located at McKeldin Mall, brought entertainment throughout the event, including a breakdance battle showcasing members of Maryland’s own breakdance club, the B-Terps. Players with UMD’s basketball team hosted a lively autograph session, too.
Captain Laura Dyer, a member of the University of Maryland Police Department, has participated in Maryland Day festivities since the event began, in 1999. Taking to the stage with Teddy the Terp, the university’s official comfort dog, Dyer led a game of trivia for a group of kids, awarding each kid a Teddy the Terp stuffed animal if they answered their question correctly.
For Dyer, a big fan of the event, Maryland Day is all about community. “I love to have everything that we do at Maryland on display for everyone else to see,” she said. “They get a chance to really meet us and engage with people, so that’s definitely the coolest thing about an event like this.”