by AMBER EBANKS
Terps After Dark is a new programming initiative designed by the University of Maryland to keep new freshmen on campus with “engaging programming on weekends and holidays during the first six weeks of school,” according to the University of Maryland website.
The campus-sponsored tailgates, which took place from Aug. 28 through Oct.10, were especially successful in the College Park, Maryland and Old Town College Park community, according to senior government and politics major Cole Holocker, the Student Liaison for the College Park City Council.
“We can see that it’s working and I’m proud of our students, that they’re being respectful of our community,” Holocker said. “I’m proud that they generated this idea in conjunction with other community partners.”
Though the program aims to provide students an alternative to drinking, it is partly paid for by the revenue generated from the one-year pilot alcohol sales at athletic events. Those programs were held each Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
If alcohol is no longer sold at the university after this year, Terps After Dark will have to find a new source of funding.
“Terps After Dark was a new initiative that we started this fall because this fall we also started selling alcohol in the stadiums and we got some concerned feedback about that – why are we promoting alcohol use by selling alcohol in the stadiums,” said Dr. Brooke Supple, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
“So in an effort to counterbalance that, we decided to invest some of the money that we anticipate making, by selling alcohol at sporting events back into alcohol prevention and alcohol education,” he said.
Research shows that the behaviors and habits of college students are largely set within the first six weeks of their first year on campus, according to Supple. “During this time when students are exploring the campus, they may also be experimenting with alcohol. The first six weeks of the school year is when the most hospital transports occur,” Supple said.
The Terps After Dark program was set from 9 or 10 p.m. to 1 or 2 a.m. to provide fun alternatives during prime drinking hours.
This semester’s events included movie nights at the Hoff Theater in Stamp, cosmic bowling in Terp Zone, a Trevor Noah comedy show, outdoor dive-in movie at the Outdoor Aquatic Center and Bubble Ball on Fraternity Row. The university also offered two-day trips to HersheyPark and Ocean City, Maryland. The events were planned by a committee composed of staff and students that helped find programs for students.
“At almost every event, we exceeded our expectations, which is great,” Supple said. “If we expected just 50 or 100 students to come, we would have 300 students come,” he said. “If we expected 100 or 200 students to come, we had 500 students come.”
Approximately 500 students attended the Silent Disc-Glo at Nyumburu Amphitheater and 5,000 tickets were sold to the Trevor Noah comedy show.
Another popular event hosted by the school was the university-sponsored flag football tournament.
Senior communications major Johanna DeGuzman, a player at the football tournament feels the university should publicize the events more around campus. “I liked the intention behind putting the event on because it gets students to do something else other than drinking. I also enjoyed just getting the chance to play football in a competitive atmosphere,” DeGuzman said.
As the city of College Park has a strong noise ordinance and noise enforcement program to handle loud students in the surrounding university community, members of the Noise Control Board worked with the University of Maryland programming committee to promote various Terps After Dark events.
According to the College Park City Council website,“Unless it is for the purpose of necessary property maintenance during the day, it is unlawful for any owner or occupant of real property located within the City to make or generate loud or raucous sound on said property.”
The board advises the city council about the level of noise in the College Park community. The board’s main goal is to control noise under City Code, Chapter 138. The code states that allowable noise is limited to 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night.
College Park residents that are dealing with rowdy neighbors are encouraged to contact the Code/Noise Enforcement Hotline at 240-487-3588. Residents can also file a written complaint with the city’s Noise Control Board. After a resident files a formal complaint, the board will hold a hearing and can issue fines if the members find a violation.