Last Saturday I went to the campus of my old alma mater. Even though I live relatively close to that campus, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually visited that campus in the last five years. I know that the main reason is because free parking is extremely difficult to find during the week and it can be impossible on certain weekends if there is a major Terps football or basketball game being held at home. I ventured on campus because I wanted to check out this Barnstorming Rally for the Bernie Sanders campaign and I decided to arrive a bit early so I could walk around the campus.

After enduring weeks of below freezing temperatures (including a major blizzard that had shut down much of the Baltimore-Washington, DC area) the weather was sunny and the temperature reached a high in the 50’s. It was a lovely day to walk around campus and taking photos with my smartphone while reminiscing about my years there.

The next two photos show Cole Field House. During my student years it was the place where all of the Terrapin basketball games were held. (These days the basketball games are held at the newer XFINITY Center that’s located nearby.)

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The coolest thing that this campus has undergone in recent years is its commitment to sustainability. Not only are there recycling bins everywhere but there are also composting bins where you can place things like banana peels, paper, and other waste that can be easily converted to soil. The St. Mary’s dormitory is experimenting with sustainable agriculture with this house garden that uses composted soil and rainwater that’s collected in barrels. Right now the garden is empty mainly because I took these pictures in February.

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The building in the next photograph is Jimenez Hall where many of the foreign language classes are held. (I remember taking three semesters of Spanish in that building during my time there.) This building was also where the Bernie Sanders Barnstorming Rally took place.

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The next photos show the main center of the campus. Its official name is McKeldin Mall but most people simply call it the Mall. In nice weather you can frequently see people throwing footballs and frisbees on the grass. It is such a lovely area to walk around in no matter what season it happens to be. (Although my favorite times to walk there were in the spring and fall.)

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McKeldin Mall has a lot of walking paths. During my time there the center of the Mall was an area where the walking paths intersected one another. Since my time this fountain has been erected by the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society.

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There are five libraries on campus but I was most familiar with the two biggest ones. One is Hornbake Library, which is for undergraduates. The other one, which is shown in the next photo, is McKeldin Library, which caters to graduate students. I used to use McKeldin Library a lot for studying mainly because there were too many people who treated Hornbake as some sort of a social party zone where people frequently talked loudly. It was such a major distraction when I was trying to get actual studying done. At least the people who used McKeldin tended to be older, more mature, and they actually obeyed the “No Talking” signs that were posted throughout the library.

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Outside of McKeldin Library is the statue of the school’s mascot, Testudo the Terrapin.

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The turtle’s nose is shiny because many students have this ritual where they rub it for good luck.

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There is also an urban legend about this statue as well, which goes like this: When a virgin graduates from the University of Maryland, this statue will magically sprout wings and fly away.

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The next building is the one where I probably took the most classes in mainly because I was a Journalism major. During my time it was known simply as the Journalism Building. It’s now known as Chincoteague Hall for reasons that I literally can’t fathom. A lot of the buildings on campus are named after towns and counties in Maryland. But the Chincoteague I know of is Chincoteague Island and that one is located in Virginia. (Chincoteague Island’s biggest claim to fame is that it’s the site of the annual Pony Swim. It is also the setting for the classic children’s book Misty of Chincoteague.)

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Yet the building’s original name still remains on this plaque along with another one certifying the building as an LEED building.

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I attempted to go inside for old time’s sake only to find the building locked. I think it’s because I came to campus on a Saturday when many of the classroom buildings tend to be locked on the weekends. I took this shot of the foyer through a window. The interior of the building looks way more fancy than my time there.

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I continued to walk around the campus where I saw these “Fear the Turtle” banners.

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The next photo shows the Memorial Chapel, which is an interfaith chapel and it’s also a place where special events are held. Not too many regular worship services are held there because many of the religious student groups tend to hold their worship services elsewhere on campus. (Some of these groups, like the ones that cater to Catholics and Jews, have their own separate buildings located on the perimeter of the campus where they hold worship services. Others tend to reserve rooms in other campus buildings for their services.) Many people have held their weddings there because the Memorial Chapel makes such a lovely backdrop in photographs. As a University of Maryland graduate, I was eligible to hold my own wedding there. I ended up not doing it because my fiancee and I wanted a June wedding and June is the worst month to reserve the chapel because so many other people book their weddings there. In addition we were hewing to all the traditions of a wedding, including the tradition of holding it in the bride’s hometown. For me my hometown was Glen Burnie and not College Park. (For all of my effort to hew to all of the standards of a traditional wedding, I ended up divorced. Oh well.)

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One of the grandest buildings on campus is the Administration Building.

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When I was on campus that day I noticed that there is a whole lot of construction that is currently going on, such as this building in the next photograph.

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Here’s a funky painted recycling bin that also has the names of the various fraternities and sororities that are on campus.

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The building in the next photograph is the one I spent the most time in during my student years. When I first started attending this school, the building was simply known as the Student Union. I remember when controversy erupted a couple of years later when the Board of Regents voted to change the name to the Adele H. Stamp Student Union. I’ll never forget a classmate who said, “What are we, a union of stamps?” The controversy died down and the name stuck. This building is one where many of the campus groups have their offices and there are plenty of amenities that are designed for both studying and socializing.

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Outside the building is this memorial that was erected long after I graduated. It’s dedicated to the University of Maryland’s most famous alumni, Muppets creator Jim Henson. Sitting next to Henson is the Muppets’ most famous character, Kermit the Frog. The details on this memorial are astounding (including the frog belt buckle) and they show a very loving tribute to such a unique and creative individual.

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During my time at the University of Maryland there were parts of the building that were under renovation because, at the time, the university was in the process of removing asbestos from that building. I remember the beaten-up furniture and the dingy paint. But, to me, the Student Union was a home away from home and I found it pretty cozy. Since my time the building had undergone extensive remodeling that is so total that I literally had a hard time recognizing the inside of the place. When I entered I saw these two terrapin statues, one of them an obvious nod to Kermit the Frog.

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In my time there was only one Testudo the Terrapin statue and that one was located outside of the McKeldin Library. I was surprised to see another Testudo statue inside of the Student Union.

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There’s a wing that’s now dedicated to Adele H. Stamp, whom the building is named after. (She served as the university’s Dean of Women from 1922 to 1960.)

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This building has totally changed. The beaten up furniture has been replaced with nicer furniture. The dingy carpets have been replaced and the dingy walls have been given new coats of paint. There are even nice works of art on the walls. The one thing that hasn’t changed is seeing students studying for upcoming exams or doing their homework. I used to do it myself in the Stamp Student Union.

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The University Book Center is still there but it was closed when I was there. There is still a convenience store and a place where students can ship packages but they definitely look fancier than my time there.

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During my student days there was only one fast food place in the Stamp Student Union. It was a Roy Rogers and that one left a few years after I graduated. Now there is this area that resembles a mall food court and there are more fast food places in that building. Half of the fast food restaurants were closed when I was there.

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I ended up eating my dinner at a Panda Express, which was giving out these special Chinese New Year’s cups.

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Despite all the renovations that went on in that building since I graduated, I noticed that there are parts of the building that were still under construction.

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I went up on one of the upper floors, where I continued to notice how fancy everything was since my student days.

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The next photo shows the Colony Ballroom, where many larger events are held.

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Some of the smaller events are held in the Atrium, which was locked when I was there.

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During my time there was a fancy restaurant on campus called the Tortuga Room and a bar known as the Hole in the Wall because it was a bit cramped. Both places are long gone. I noticed The Coffee Bar, which I suspect has replaced the Hole in the Wall.

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I saw this sign promoting the Adele H. Stamp Student Union as the ideal place to hold a wedding. Such an idea would’ve been laughable in my time because the building was a bit on the rundown side. Having seen the renovations, I can see where it would be a nice place to hold a wedding.

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In my time the Maryland Dairy (featuring ice cream that’s made on campus) was located at the Rossborough Inn, which was located on the edge of campus near Route 1. Nowadays it’s located in the Stamp Student Union, which makes it easier for students to access. (The place was closed when I was there last Saturday.)

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I went to the basement where I noticed a major difference. While there were always pool tables and a bowling alley, the furniture was nowhere near as plush and fancy as they are now.

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The pool tables look newer and less beat-up than I remembered from my student days.

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The bowling alley looks pretty much the same as I remembered it.

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The biggest change I noticed on the basement level is that there are now television screens with plush chairs everywhere. The TV sets were all tuned to a sports channel when I was there.

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During my time there was one place located in the basement where students can grab a quick meal. It’s known as the Maryland Food Co-op and it serves vegetarian meals. The Food Co-op was closed when I was there but I noticed that the place had added a nice stained glass window since my student days.

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The basement now has another food establishment that’s located near the bowling alley—Subway.

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The basement also has a gender neutral restroom, which is perfect not only for transgender people but also parents who have kids of the opposite sex with them.

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The campus newspaper The Diamondback is printed five times a week during the regular semesters and once a week during the summer. They are distributed all over campus in kiosks like the one in the next picture.

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The last photos are scenes from the Bernie Sanders Barnstorming Rally, which was held in the basement of Jimenez Hall. The crowd was a mix of students and older people who lived nearby and I met plenty of new people that night. The Barnstorming Rally was basically an informational event that promoted upcoming events where people can do things like take part in phone banks and go to Virginia where volunteers can go door to door providing information about Bernie Sanders.

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