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“First” Choices

Hundreds of campus clubs, organizations recruit students at First Look Fair

By Daniel Oyefusi '19


Illustration by Jason Keisling

Illustration by Jason Keisling

At the University of Maryland’s annual First Look Fair, it’s not unusual to find a student channeling his inner Jackie Chan, swinging a plastic sword in a choreographed routine of punches and jump kicks. Or another wearing a full wetsuit in 96 percent humidity, imploring students to consider snorkeling. Or heavy metal enthusiasts who gather to relive the glory days of mullets, heavy mascara and icepick-in-the-ear guitar solos.

Last week’s two-day showcase of tents and tables, signup sheets and enthusiastic recruiters crowded onto McKeldin Mall, drawing thousands of students to find a club that aligns with their interests, or guilty pleasures.

The University of Maryland has more than 870 student organizations and clubs—all it takes to create a new one is eight interested students. Maryland’s include the cultural and religious, the service- and advocacy-oriented, the arts- and sports-focused and much more.

Here are some of the more unorthodox ones on display at the fair:



TerpWushu celebrates and practices forms of Chinese martial arts going back 2,000 years. While the fight scenes are as real as any of your favorite action movies, members of TerpWushu put on shows and participate in intercollegiate competitions, including one that they host each year in Ritchie Coliseum.


Metal Club
If you thought that the heavy metal rock era was dead, then meet the members of UMD’s Metal Club. Meeting weekly to listen to and discuss iconic bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, in addition to contemporary and local metal bands, they’re sure to make the parents of any millennial proud.




Gamer Symphony Orchestra
Imagine stepping into a concert hall to listen to a performance of classical music. That’s exactly what Gamer Symphony Orchestra does—except the arrangements are of classic video game theme songs. Accompanied by a chorus of 30 singers, the 120-member ensemble has played at venues ranging from the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the nation’s capital.


Terrapin Beats Society
Some of the DMV’s biggest rappers, like Wale and Logic, honed their skills during early performances on campus. Terrapin Beats Society fosters the music industry’s next hitmakers, serving as a forum for creatives to connect, collaborate and even play their hip hop, house, electronic and EDM music at venues and festivals around the region.


College Park Tuning
The table for College Park Tuning stood out with a display of three high-performance cars, including a BMW M3, and looked like a scene from “The Fast and the Furious”—at least one where the cars are parked. College Park Tuning, UMD’s car club, brings aficionados together and showcases some of the innovative vehicle mods to eke out more horsepower and speed. After tuning their cars, the group cruises through the DMV area and as far as Philadelphia.


Maryland Quidditch
With the commercial success of J.K. Rowlings’ “Harry Potter” book series came the rise of the fan-favorite game Quidditch. There’s no actual wizardry involved here; players place a broomstick between their legs and race around a grass field, scoring points by throwing a ball through their team’s respective hoop and capturing the “snitch,” a designated player who runs to avoid the opposing team’s clutches. The game has infiltrated campuses across the nation, with UMD starting its team in 2010. Maryland Quidditch competes against teams from universities like Syracuse, Duke and Baylor in a quest to “achieve eternal glory.” 

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.