A Bucketload of Terp Traditions
The “M Book,” with its 20 don’t-miss Maryland milestones, is back. Join a super-spirited student on her journey to complete them all.
By Annie Krakower
Photos by John T. Consoli
AS NEW TERPS secure their student IDs, coordinate posters with roommates and begin making Maryland their home, a cute little volume might stick out among their hefty stack of textbooks.
Inside, amid colorful photos and cartoony illustrations, it presents an unusual kind of homework assignment: Rather than percentages or letter grades, points of pride are up for grabs.
This semester, the University of Maryland Alumni Association distributed to first-year students its fifth annual version of the revived “M Book.” From 1916 to 2001, the tidy, if dense book featured registration rules and codes of conduct. There’s the whole internet for that now, so the updated editions take a less formal tack and instead showcase university history, culture, famous alums, handy tips ... and the UMD Bucket List.
The compilation of 20 items dares Terps to get involved, explore the campus and give back before they graduate, while documenting their feats with selfies or videos. Every five tasks checked off earn them commemorative Alumni Association pins (like the ones seen here), and the complete list is good for a special medallion to wear at commencement.
Amy Eichhorst, associate vice president of alumni and donor relations and executive director of the Alumni Association, says bringing together all the traditions in one spot has been exciting. “Strong traditions of students really breed strong connections as alumni, and I think the Bucket List is a really powerful way to make those connections.”
So what does it take to reach the pin-nacle (heh, heh) of Maryland spirit? Follow along as Zoe Nicholson ’24, vice president of alumni programming for the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC), lets Terp join her on her journey to find out, re-creating her favorite moments along the way.
✓ GET YOUR M BOOK
Without even knowing it, I had already crossed my first item off the Bucket List when I received my “M Book” during orientation, before Fall 2020 move-in. Off to a great start!
✓ SIT AT THE JIM HENSON STATUE
COVID canceled a lot of in-person events during my first semester, but the Bucket List gave me plenty to do, either on my own or in small groups. I set out to score my first pin from the Alumni Association, and sitting with one of Maryland’s most famous alums (and his Muppet friend) seemed easy enough. I stopped by and snapped a pic after one of my first study sessions at the Stamp, sporting my TerrapinSTRONG mask as a reminder of what campus life was like at the time. Don’t we make a good trio?
✓ RUB TESTUDO’S NOSE FOR GOOD LUCK
Another simple item to check off the list! I started with the statue outside McKeldin Library, but to this day, I rub any Testudo nose that I encounter on campus—especially during finals. I pass that McKeldin one and the statue near the Riggs Alumni Center routinely on my running route, so I hit up those the most.
✓ FIND A CLUB TO JOIN AT THE FIRST LOOK FAIR
Maryland’s annual student org showcase was virtual my freshman year, but that didn’t stop me from finding a great group to join: UMD’s chapter of One Love. The national foundation had formed in response to the murder of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love, a victim of intimate partner violence. She and I grew up in the same area, so I knew her story well and had been involved in the organization as a high schooler. It was nice to find something on campus that I had some experience with and be able to continue promoting healthy relationships.
✓ WADE IN THE ODK FOUNTAIN
Finding a good time to take the plunge can be difficult—that water gets cold! You gotta have a lot of guts to jump in, or at least some good friends to go with you. Luckily, my buddies from Cumberland Hall joined me for this nighttime dip, and those first five items earned me a pin!
✓ CATCH SOME RAYS ON LA PLATA BEACH
Having somewhere to safely take my mask off was so nice during peak pandemic times, and La Plata Beach was an oasis. Besides playing volleyball and Spike Ball, throwing a Frisbee and trying out yoga, I even took some of my Zoom classes out on the grass.
✓ EAT MARYLAND DAIRY ICE CREAM
I snagged a free scoop with my friend and fellow SALC member Rowan Mohan ’24 during I <3 UMD Week, a lead-up to Maryland Day, in Spring 2021. I got mint chocolate chip—now my go-to flavor.
✓ GO TO A FOOTBALL TAILGATE
My roommate’s family always hosts a big Homecoming tailgate, so I got to join that last fall. And as a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, I also love mingling with other chapters at the big Greek life bashes near Lot 1 and the soccer field. The tailgates show why people love our school so much, and it’s definitely fun to see red everywhere you go and everyone packed with Maryland pride.
✓ SIT ON THE WALL AND WAVE THE MARYLAND FLAG AT A BASKETBALL GAME
As a marketing intern with Maryland Athletics, I helped with the flag drop at every football game, unrolling it and running it down the stairs next to the student crowd. (Folding it back up so the colors match up correctly definitely takes some strategy!) So I’m very involved with this flag, but I’ve actually only been underneath it at basketball games last season. It’s very fun—the flag is heavier than it looks, but it looks really cool when done properly.
✓ GET A TURTLE PIN FROM PRESIDENT PINES
You might not cross paths with President Pines if you only walk to and from class, but getting involved on campus helped me check this item off the list three times. The first time, I saw him at Pines on Parade, when the president greeted the campus community during his inauguration week and debuted a new Maryland Dairy ice cream flavor, TerraPines and Pralines. I picked up another pin at a basketball game, where he was adamant that recipients had to be wearing one of the team’s themed T-shirts. The third one came during the Alumni Association Leadership Conference dinner last fall. The mini turtles are all on my backpack—and they go nicely with the second Alumni Association pin I earned for five more Bucket List items completed!
✓ ATTEND AN EVENT AT THE SAMUEL RIGGS IV ALUMNI CENTER
I’ve attended quite a few Riggs events as a member of SALC—which works to connect students, alumni and donors to inspire a sense of community—but that Leadership Conference Dinner where I got a pin from Pines is one of the first that stands out. I’ve also planned a couple of events since then, including last spring’s Terps Under 30 program that allowed current students and young alums to network.
✓ SEE A PERFORMANCE AT THE CLARICE OR HOFF THEATER
While I haven’t made it to a show at The Clarice yet (I have been there to study, though!), I did get to see my sorority sister perform with her all-women a cappella group, the Treblemakers, at the Hoff last fall. They’re fantastic, really talented.
✓ MAKE A DONATION ON GIVING DAY
Last spring, I gave $20 to Maryland Smith, since I’m in the business school, and another $20 to the Alumni Association Student Engagement Fund, helping ensure Terp traditions—like the “M Book”!—can continue for years to come.
STILL TO DO
□ PICK UP YOUR FREE COPY OF THE FIRST YEAR BOOK
□ ATTEND THE SEE HOMECOMING COMEDY SHOW
□ BOWL AT TERPZONE
□ LEARN THE WORDS TO THE VICTORY SONG
□ VOLUNTEER DURING DO GOOD MONTH
□ HIT EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD AT MARYLAND DAY
□ TAKE YOUR GRADUATION PHOTO AT THE “M”
The Bucket List has evolved with each new edition of the “M Book,” but Nicholson was on top of it from the start. In addition to the items from the 2022-23 list, she’s also checked off:
• Get quoted in The Diamondback
• Make the dean’s list
• Participate in a basketball game flash mob
IF ONLY THEY’D KNOWN
Besides the don’t-miss Bucket List items, the “M Book” also highlights nuggets of UMD knowledge that every Terp should know: Don’t forget how close you are to D.C., La Plata Beach isn’t actually a beach, and of course, never skip an event that distributes free T-shirts.
RECENT GRADS: Got any other advice for new students? Let us know at email@example.com.
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