College presents a difficult transition period in every student’s life, and you can make all the difference by finding friends to navigate it with. Student events provide one of the most accessible ways that students can congregate and make connections based on shared experiences and hobbies. If you consider yourself an introvert, student events enable all of us to experience all your university has to offer without committing to something that might drain you. I have asked some students and the directors of the Student Entertainment Events about their favorites and conjured a list of the top student events at the University of Maryland to share some highlights here in College Park, as well as the experience of the SEE directors who so tediously construct most of these events.
Read on for the top 10 popular student events at UMD.
1. Art Attack
Art Attack, an arts festival constructed by SEE, is dedicated to showcasing local talents. This tradition began in 1984 and has evolved from an outdoor arts-focused festival to an outdoor concert. Art Attack has previously featured artists like Polo G, Flo Milli, and A$AP Ferg.
Abby Calas, a UMD alumna from the class of 2022, described her experience as the SEE Program Coordinator during the concert. She shared that it was her “first time working a SEE event [and she] got to apply [her] new interest in photography for an actual [project while being right there in front of the artists. She] couldn’t wrap [her] head around students being the ones that planned it all,” Calas said.
Just as students who attend the concert can get an opportunity to embark on a shared experience with fellow audience members, the SEE community unifies to create the experience. Seeing an idea come to fruition empowers creative minds in their pursuit for future projects and SEE is no exception.
2. Terp Carnival
Terp Carnival is an iconic Homecoming Weekend SEE event that features music, a beer garden, games, and fair food.
“Terp Carnival is a cool blend of rides and activities for both the UMD community and people from College Park. Also, who doesn’t like fireworks?” University of Maryland senior Alyssa Pryputniewicz, SEE Special Events Director, said.
On the way to class, Terp Carnival is viewed anticipatorily, urging a visit from each observer. Tents and games scatter the lawn providing the quintessential midday break for all students. Terp Carnival also allows each student to tap into their inner child again, as the carnival and circus were both pivotal childhood experiences, allowing each person a temporary escape from adult responsibility.
3. Spring Drag Show
Drag shows have been iconic in LGBTQ+ communities everywhere including UMD. UMD and SEE annually put on a Drag Show ranging from famous queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race to local talents, reinforcing gender exploration should be accessible for all, not just famous talents.
Junior Divija Sadula described what it was like to work the event as the SEE Hospitality Director. “It is such an iconic event and being part of bringing it back as an annual tradition after COVID was everything. I knew so many people who were going and whose first drag show it was and how much it meant to them as part of the LGBTQ+ community. It was my first drag show too, although I was backstage, so it was amazing to see the joy and pride on the faces of the performers and the audience.” Sadula said.
By putting on inclusive events like the Spring Drag show, SEE and UMD encourages students to step into their identity by creating a safe space for students to firsthand explore gender identity and fluidity.
Drag allows all who engage with it the opportunity to step into their identity and feel comfortable in how they choose to express themselves.
4. Homecoming Comedy Show
Each year during homecoming weekend, UMD and SEE put on a Homecoming Comedy Show featuring a popular comedian. In years past comedians such as Jimmy O. Yang and John Mulaney were featured. This past year SNL’s Colin Jost headlined. Fans and SEE members alike felt star-struck when they could see such an iconic TV comedian perform live and in person.
“Since it was my first big [event] as an actual member of the board it was really rewarding to see such a huge event come to life and know that we planned it all on our own. It made me proud to see everyone stepping into their roles!” The Funding Director for SEE at University of Maryland sophomore Helen Wang said.
UMD and SEE turn basketball courts into a huge stage for the stand-up performance, and people from the UMD community and the greater College Park area come together in shared laughter.
Lines poured out from the arena as people waited to get seats, proving that the Homecoming Comedy Show turns into one of the peak homecoming weekend moments.
5. Back to School Lecture ft. Jennette McCurdy
The Back to School Lecture with Jennette McCurdy, another SEE organized event, may have been one of the most highly anticipated events I personally had the pleasure of going to. The show my friends and I went to began at 8 p.m. I sat in my 5 p.m. class, and I received texts from my friend that people already lined up for the lecture.
The UMD community so highly anticipated Jennette McCurdy’s discussion of her smashing literary debut, they lined up hours before the event.
Brooke Gordan, Public Relations Director for SEE, shared what it was like to experience this event from the Student Entertainment Events perspective. “It was so exciting releasing Jennette as our Back to School lecturer and watching the excitement build up around campus, both on and offline. The day the tickets became available was so exhilarating. We were sold out for both shows after two hours. At the lecture itself, Jennette was even more amazing. She really connected with the students in the audience and was able to share her experiences in a really powerful way.” Gordan said.
Students from both sides of the event felt equally inspired and supported by the wisdom Jennette McCurdy shared. Hearing her discuss and share her enthusiasm for writing reminded students to stay focused on their own passions and continue resiliently despite obstacles that present themselves.
6. Midnight Mile with UMD Basketball
The Midnight Mile began as a way for the UMD Basketball team to get an extra bit of cardio to get ahead of training. When fans heard of the extra work the team has put in, they began to show up to accompany them.
As the season began, they quickly climbed the leaderboard, and the Midnight Mile developed into a good luck charm. As a result, fans have joined the UMD basketball team for the annual Midnight Mile in hopes of a fantastic season.
7. Movie Showings at Hoff Theatre
Who doesn’t love a good movie night? The SEE team produces seasonal movie series, enabling students to see new hit movies accessibly and for free on campus. SEE currently shows American Psycho, Top Gun: Maverick, Bullet Train, and Don’t Worry Darling. Don’t mind if I do. Movie showings typically occur on Wednesdays and Thursdays, providing the perfect, cozy midweek treat.
8. Performing Arts Events
UMD and SEE continuously provide space for the display of new voices, thoughts, and talents. Performing arts has taken all forms at UMD, including poetry slams, discussions on art and activism, and even a live paranormal and true crime podcast. The performing arts sector of student events has a place suited to each student’s interests.
9. UMD football
UMD sports and gamedays consume a huge portion of the fall. Students sacrifice entire days for football watching, especially home games. You can tell game day has arrived just by walking outside, by 10 a.m. students cram the sidewalks dressed in UMD colors, ready for their gameday plans. Even on away gamedays, I can hear groans and shouts from my studio apartment as my neighbors watch from their homes.
10. Music Concerts
SEE continuously puts on fall music festivals in the form of Fallapalooza, All Niter, or Moonlit Music.
Some of these musicians have included Chelsea Cutler, Cautious Clay, Quinn XCII, Snakehips, and others. Who doesn’t love a concert study break? The fall music concerts kick the semester off with a bang, transporting students to the summer festival scene. I still hear stories told of previous years’ concerts that live in students’ memories.