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Campus & Community

Second Chance for First Look

Rescheduled Annual Activities Fair to Connect Terps to Student Groups

By Shannon Clark M.Jour. ’22

Students at tables during First Look Fair

Student groups will pack McKeldin Mall today for the First Look Fair, all seeking to pull in new members for groups that cover a broad range of interests, from sports to religion to cultural activities.

Photo by John T. Consoli

The First Look Fair returns in person to McKeldin Mall today with a familiar promise to help new and returning students “find your thing”—and after more than a year of mostly online learning, an unusually large contingent of them is sure to be searching for just that.

With freshmen and many sophomores alike acclimating to campus and other Terps seeking to reconnect after a year of pandemic burrowing, the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, which is organizing the fair, quickly rescheduled last week’s event in the face of a windy, rainy forecast. Now it’s taking steps to reduce potential crowding and provide more space around the tables where student organizations and clubs make their best pitches for new members.

In a change from prior years, the fair will stretch out along much of the mall, both above and below ODK Fountain, to allow the 566 clubs that are expected to spread out and showcase their talents, said Foster McDaniel, coordinator for student organization development.

Those unable to attend in person can visit the First Look Fair virtual tabling website, which will feature club details.

The event will feature sponsors such as Xfinity, CheapTickets and Vera Bradley, and attendees are eligible to win a variety of prizes.

Read on to meet some of the groups that will be on hand:

Gamer Symphony Orchestra
Combining students’ love for video game soundtracks and music performance, the Gamer Symphony Orchestra has performed pieces from Animal Crossing, Battle Royale! and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, to name a few, inspiring similar ensembles at other universities around the country.

“The goal is to shine a spotlight on the artistry of gamer music,” said Quinn Dang ’22, the group’s president, who acknowledged the need to work out musical kinks from a year off. “I’m excited to be playing with people again, and not as concerned about the performance.”

The Gamer Symphony Orchestra will hold auditions for new members on Oct. 1 and 2.

Be the Match on Campus
After seeing the need for more diversity within the community of bone marrow donors, Jamal Masood ’22 and Kenechukwu Okafor ’22 founded UMD’s Be the Match Registry—the only college chapter to continue holding donation events during the COVID lockdown, they said.

“We founded the club to help bring more diversity to the platform by educating and registering students on bone marrow donation.”

Be the Match on Campus plans to hold registration events throughout the semester to bring more attention to the organization’s mission.

National Organization of Minority Architecture Students
Supporting the professional passions of future architects, the UMD chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students connects students representing a variety of cultures and experiences to the broader architectural community.

The organization has held resume-building workshops, drawing nights and Adobe Illustrator education events, as well as guest speakers from the architecture field.

“We try to make our space feel inclusive and like a family. Regardless if you are an architecture major or not, there is always space for you,” said the organization’s co-president, Rafael Sanabia ‘21, M.Arch. ’23.

Dabke Team
Bringing the traditional folk culture of the Arabic world to UMD, the Dabke Team was founded in the fall of 2019 with a goal of sharing the passion and excitement of Dabke dance, which punctuates weddings and other celebrations.

“I’m from Lebanon so I was looking for an organization that reminded me of home,” said President Jad Kfouri ’22. “The Dabke dance is a unique and integral part of Middle Eastern culture that brings out our passion and soul. It’s an extension of us.”

This semester, the team is focusing on recruiting new members, with the hope of forming a competition performance team in the future.

If you’ve ever wanted to spend an evening building origami stars or testing your space trivia knowledge—not to mention peering deep into the universe through a telescope—AstroTerps is the place for you.

“We are a club for anyone who is interested in astronomy,” said Lucy Wilkerson ‘22, Astroterps president. “We hold social meetings and lectures so students can come and take their passion for space and learn more about it.”

Psst—If the latest comet flyby isn’t enough to grab you, AstroTerps is also bringing back free pizza at its Monday night meetings this semester.

Schools & Departments:

Division of Student Affairs

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