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Campus & Community

Ready to Roll

New Terps Arrive Prepared and Pumped at Move-in, Weekend Events

By Karen Shih ’09 and Lucy Hubbard ’24

Two young women push a yellow moving cart

Lianna Gargano, left, steers a yellow move-in cart with big sister Danielle Gargano '27, an environmental engineering major from Millersville, Maryland, moving into Johnson-Whittle Hall on Thursday. Nearly 10,000 Terps made campus home during the windup to the Fall 2023 semester.

Photo by John T. Consoli

Mid-Atlantic mugginess was no match for Fall Welcome 2023.

Undeterred by sticky shirts, the heft of overstuffed suitcases and the complex science of properly loading a dolly, more than 9,600 Terps moved into residence halls from Thursday through Sunday with patience and eagerness.

A variety of University of Maryland offices and units then drew them out of their new rooms with a weekend packed with games, Do Good activities, giveaways and other gatherings, all aimed at acclimating them to campus—and each other—before the semester officially starts on Monday.

“Everyone—students, families and staff—came with excitement and positive energy, making for one of the smoothest, most successful openings yet,” said Dennis Passarella-George, director of the Department of Resident Life. “Thousands of students joined us for the Fall Welcome events, too—a great, engaging, connecting kickoff to what we know will be a wonderful year ahead for our Terps.”

Thursday and Friday saw the biggest numbers of arrivals, including aspiring sports journalist Trevor Gomes ’27, who had big plans for his Centreville Hall room’s decor. “It took some convincing,” he said, but his parents allowed him to bring the family’s sports pennants commemorating the Terps, the Nationals’ inaugural season and three Washington Super Bowl wins. Paired with his baseball signed by Cal Ripken Jr., he was certain they’d be great icebreakers with potential new buddies down the hall.

Government and politics major Ishika Reddy ’27 wasn’t sure she brought enough fans for her Ellicott Hall room, but she was excited about the blue and green earth tones she and her roommate had agreed upon for the theme—and to finally read the letters her late grandparents had written for her to open once she moved to college.

Once she’s settled in, the Burlington, New Jersey native looks forward to learning about Maryland’s vibe. “I don’t get why everything is the Maryland flag. It’s everywhere!”

She surely saw more of the flag in the swag at a bustling FreeFest on McKeldin Mall on Saturday afternoon, a 19-foot inflatable IKEA bag towering over all. Despite temps that climbed into the 90s, New Terps chatted in circles on the grass or lined up for flash tattoos or at stands for every type of local business—from grocer Lidl to College Park Bicycles.

Freshman public health science major Olivia Scuteri enjoyed a free ice pop as she walked around the stands. She said the event was the perfect cure for the freshman jitters.

“This morning I was a little nervous and scared,” Scuteri said. “But everyone here is all so nice.”

Up at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, the Student Success Leadership Council, the UMD Black Alumni Network and the Division of Student Affairs hosted FreshCon, where Black student organizations and clubs welcomed new students.

The event started with tabling in the Grand Ballroom, with participants ranging from the Black Pre-Law Association to Prima Dolls Dance Team. Later, students took the stage with performances from campus dance groups and advice sessions with upperclassmen.

Cassie Agyeman-Duah '05, Black Alumni Network president, urged freshmen in the crowd to make the most of their time on campus: “While you’re here, do all the things.”

They could try at least some of those things throughout the weekend, whether joining a game of cosmic bowling at Terp Zone, watching a concert or movie at the Stamp, or cannonballing into the outdoor pool on Sunday evening at RecWellcome.

Risa Eshaghian, who attended UMD for a semester in 1984, drove with the family from New York to move son Ben ’27 into Pyon-Chen Hall, feeling good about his future at UMD. 

“He chose the right school,” she said. “He’s got this.”

UMD marching band practices outside jones-hill house

The Mighty Sound of Maryland rehearses outside Jones-Hill House under a blazing August sun during Early Week, a band camp for members to get intensive practice in music and marching before the start of the academic year. (Photo by John T. Consoli)

father and daughter stand near giant pile of possessions, preparing to move into a dorm

Ishika Reddy ’27 of Burlington, New Jersey, prepares to transfer a pile of belongings waiting in the shade of SECU Stadium into Ellicott Hall, with help from her father, Vivek, left. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

pile of flags on ground

Trevor Gomes ’27, who plans to become a sports journalist, had colorful pennants commemorating the Terps and area pro teams prepped and ready to hang as he moved into his Centreville Hall room on Friday. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

move-in panorama outside easton hall

Outside Easton Hall on Thursday, a panorama that encompassed piles of belongings, more than a little perspiration–and perhaps a bit of parental panic at saying goodbye–unfolded during move-in. (Photo by John T. Consoli)

student pulls a giant pile of belongings under the sign above the door of pyon-chen hall

Business major Ben Eshaghian ‘27, and younger sister Rachel, right, wheel his belongings toward his room in Pyon-Chen Hall on Friday after a six-hour journey (because dad Behzad wanted to avoid the toll roads) from his home on Long Island, New York. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

student pulls weeds

Nicholas Patterson '27, an aerospace engineering major from Olney, Md., tears weeds from chicken wire at Eco City Farms in Bladensburg, Md., on Friday. It was the College Park Scholars’ Service Day activity for freshmen in the Science, Technology, and Society program; Service Day is an annual tradition in Scholars that helps freshmen build a sense of community while doing good beyond campus. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

two students hand out school supplies

Kyleigh Klingler '27 (left), a government and politics major from Ellicott City, Md., and Sydney Allen '27, a government and politics major from Bel Air, Md., hand out school supplies during the College Park Scholars’ Justice and Social Thought program Service Day. It was a collaboration with Solutions in Hometown Connections, which provides mentoring and community programs to refugee and immigrant families. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

students walk in heritage plaza

Students fill Heritage Plaza on Friday evening; the annual picnic and “M Book” distribution were moved inside Yahentamitsi and South Campus dining halls in advance of accurate predictions of a downpour. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

two students hand out books

Zoe Nicholson '24, center, and Kaitlyn Zhou '25, right, of the Student Alumni Leadership Council, hand out copies of the 2023-24 “M Book” to incoming students at Yahentamitsi Dining Hall on Friday. The “M Book” is a lighthearted guide to the history, traditions and student experience at UMD. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

two students play mini golf in stamp student union

Zoe Mace '27, left, and Daniel Gregory '27 play mini golf on Friday at the Retro RHArcade event in the Grand Ballroom and Grand Ballroom Lounge at the Stamp, presented by the Residence Hall Association and Terps After Dark. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

students shoot baskets

Celeste Mondragon '27, left, of Rockville, Maryland, and Areana Holder '27 and Alina D'Andrade '27, both of Bowie, Maryland, compete to make baskets at the Retro RHArcade event. (Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle)

students crowd mckeldin mall

A giant IKEA FRAKTA bag, a staple of college move-ins, set the tone at Saturday’s FreeFest, where Terps could fill up their own bags of goodies from the event featuring booths from units across campus as well as local merchants and restaurants. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

three students dance on stage

From left, Omega Psi Phi members Langston Beverly ’24, a supply chain management major from Prince George’s County; Damon Edwards II ’24, a political science major from Prince George’s County; and DuVal Harrell ’23, a finance major from Bowie, Maryland; show off their footwork during FreshCon at the Stamp Student Union. (Photo by Riley Sims Ph.D. ’23)

three women chat with smiles

Special education major Paulina Martinez ’24 (center) talks with English/pre-law major Vy Thompson (left) and Xandie Iti Lusakbi (right), graduate coordinator for Native and Indigenous student involvement and community advocacy, during a roundtable discussion on Sunday during the Native and Indigenous Terps Welcome event at the Stamp. (Photo by Hong H. Huynh)

students play spikeball on LaPlata Beach

Terps gather on LaPlata Beach for a game of spikeball on Sunday as part of RecWellcome, an evening sponsored by University Recreation and Wellness to encourage Terps to get active. Other activities included sand volleyball, kan jam, games at the Outdoor Aquatic Center, and barre and yoga. (Photo courtesy of RecWell)

students form giant M on football field

The Class of 2027 donned red and yellow for the annual class “M” photo taken at the B1G Show, a pep rally on Saturday sponsored by Maryland Athletics, the Department of Resident Life, the Residence Hall Association, The Pride and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. It also featured learning the Maryland Victory Song and alma mater and the Maryland flag drop down the student section at games. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/Maryland Terrapins)

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.