Students Forming Fun, Flashy and Funky Groupsby Natalie Koltun ’16 | illustrations by Kelsey Marotta ’14 and Hailey Hwa Shin
When UMD says it takes only eight interested students to form a club, we’re not kidding. Maryland has more than 800 clubs and organizations, making it easy for students to connect and explore their interests, whether academic, multicultural, religious, social, sports or service. The groups are as diverse as the students who join them, with many chapters of national groups (like our dental advocacy group, part of Students United for America’s ToothFairy) or those that are uniquely Maryland (such as astronomy-focused AstroTerps). Here are a few you might not know about—and might be sorry you missed out on.
For four seasons, students have played and filmed a Terp version of reality show pioneer “Survivor.” The semester-long game includes puzzles, physical challenges, tests of willpower (Who can keep their hand on McKeldin Mall’s sundial the longest?) and a semiweekly elimination vote from “McKeldin Island” until only the winner remains, taking home a $100 prize.
“Most of them forget it’s for money. It’s all about the pride and the title of Sole Survivor. There’s a community here now, so people who have won are pretty respected,” says Austin Trupp ’16, club president.
The Spring 2015 season finale netted more than 2,000 views. Watch the episodes at youtube.com/user/austintrupp.
THRILL DESIGN CLUB
From design competitions to trips to local amusement parks, this club gives students a first look at theme park engineering. The new club is designing a tabletop model built from Coaster Dynamix for Maryland Day, and is planning a PVC-pipe coaster large enough for a person to ride at next fall’s First Look Fair.
UMD’s only singing group for non-singers unites students with a love of music—not necessarily with talent. The club, which began in 2013, puts on karaoke-style sing-alongs every week, with playlists of oldies, songs from musicals and current radio hits.
EXPERIMENTAL FLYING CLUB
Whoever said humans can’t fly? Now in its fifth year, this club attracts students interested in designing, building and flying hang gliders. Last year the club built a glider based on one of the Wright brothers’ designs. Members test and ride their creations off and on campus, including McKeldin Mall.
LUMBERJACKS, LANDSCAPERS AND LANDGINEERS
What began as a small group renovating the back yard of Maryland Hillel in 2012 has grown to more than 100 members interested in hiking and completing outdoor campus projects. These include maintaining fire pits and forest trails and repurposing wood from fallen trees to build birdhouses and bookcases.
NERF ACTIVITY SOCIETY
It’s exactly what it sounds like. More than 200 Terps come together once a month to blast each other with foam darts (and to duck and run like mad) in competitive games similar to capture the flag and freeze tag. The club battles on McKeldin Mall and in the Stamp, Armory and Cole Field House.
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