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Campus & Community

First-Timers at First Look Fair

Over 30 New Clubs Join 600+ Others at Annual Festival

By Maggie Haslam

students gather on McKeldin Mall for First Look Fair

The First Look Fair takes place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8 on McKeldin Mall. For a list of participating organizations and tips for making the most out of the event, visit

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

From a harmony of a cappella groups, to latte artists-in-training and a home for rollercoaster enthusiasts, it’s hard to imagine there’s a hobby, interest or passion not featured at the University of Maryland’s First Look Fair.

But wait, there’s more—around 30 more student clubs and organizations, in fact—that were established this past year and are debuting today at the annual expo of all things extracurricular. It’s not just the best chance for students hitting McKeldin Mall to “find their thing” among the 650 groups represented there; it’s also the new groups’ big chance to get exposure and recruits.

“We have a lot of great ideas and opportunities to get involved, but we’ll need more people to do that,” said Chiamaka Iheoma ’25, whose advocacy organization, Reentry Redefined, is new to First Look this year. She hopes to bolster the number of members interested in volunteering to help individuals recently released from the prison system with the intricacies of re-entry.

Hosted by the Stamp Student Union Center for Campus Life, First Look Fair is a longstanding tradition at UMD, with McKeldin Mall transformed into a tightly packed maze of tables featuring hundreds of social, cultural, athletic, pre-professional, academic, religious, ethnic, political and creative organizations. There is swag to be had and swagger to see, with many clubs offering demonstrations and on-site activities.

The growing list of opportunities to make new friends, pursue an interest and do something fun outside of the classroom aren’t just appealing to new students, said William Post, manager of student organization development—they’re for everyone.

Older students often think they’ve missed their opportunity to get involved on campus; that’s not always the case,” he said. “We’ve got a wealth of hobbies, personal interests and identities that they can still dive into.”

Here’s a first look at some of UMD’s newest groups to explore on Friday:

Queer Crafting, which is open to all skill levels, emphasizes the therapeutic benefits of crafting (think: knitting and decoupage) to reduce stress and anxiety and aims to promote inclusivity and acceptance through events, workshops, and collaborations with other LGBTQ+ organizations.

Girl Gains promotes female weightlifting while empowering women (from curious beginners and to dedicated gym goers) to feel strong and beautiful in a judgment-free community.

Venus’ Bookclub is dedicated to celebrating the creativity and experiences of people of color through literature by prioritizing works by authors from marginalized communities as well as thoughtful and meaningful discussions.

Pop Musica UMD is a vibrant and inclusive community of pop music enthusiasts on campus that offers a platform for students to showcase their musical talents and participate in concerts, workshops and jam sessions.

Maryland Club Cheer promotes the sport of cheerleading, provides opportunities for members to develop skills, build friendships and compete at a high level.

MasTERPiece! targets fashion entrepreneurs and other artists interested in pursuing a career in the retail industry and offers a vehicle for professional development, networking and honing creative skills.

NextGenPM offers opportunities to students interested in project management to connect with professionals, develop leadership skills and volunteer on projects that support local causes.

Reentry Redefined engages with government agencies and nonprofits on community work to make formerly incarcerated individuals’ reentry into society easier and lower recidivism rates.

Competitive Programming Club aims to create a place for people who enjoy coding and problem solving at UMD through programming contests, learning about algorithms and more.

Dynamic Dance is dedicated to supporting artistic excellence through hip-hop, teamwork, stamina and dedication.

Maryland Ghostlight Company provides a place for all UMD students to produce, perform and design published contemporary plays, from independent shows to cabarets.

Schools & Departments:

Division of Student Affairs

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