By James Consoli

For The Diamondback

The University of Maryland’s first in-person Maryland Day since 2019 took place last weekend, garnering attention from 65,000 people. 

Despite two long years of closures and virtual events, the university was finally able to bring its community together in person, and people were not shy to show up. 

On the last Saturday in April — the day always reserved for the campus-wide celebration — the sun was out and so were university supporters. Attendees were able to enjoy showcases from the university’s different academic departments as well as food, games and prizes.

From the animal sciences department showcasing its farm animals, to the public safety office allowing people to explore the inside of a police car — the day provided activities for people of all ages. 

Kenny Jean-Pierre, a university employee of 10 years, enjoyed Maryland Day with his younger cousins. 

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“Last year wasn’t the same,” Jean-Pierre said, referring to last year’s strictly virtual festivities.

With the return of in-person activities, Jean-Pierre was ready to get back outside.

“I’m so happy that we could all be here,” said Jean-Pierre. “It’s good to see a lot of people here celebrating.”

Katie Sullivan, a cadet with Army ROTC and a sophomore government and politics major at the university, taught kids some of the training she and her fellow cadets are required to complete in the university’s program.

“It gets us out in the community, seeing people, having them come to our campus, so I think it’s really special,” Sullivan said. “We all have been having a lot of fun today.”

Cynthia Martínez, the senior director of brand marketing for the Office of Marketing and Communications, could not have been any happier about the number of students that were able to experience the event.

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“It was very important for us in our planning [of Maryland Day] to make sure that events did have that angle where our students could participate,” Martínez said. “I also saw many current students enjoying the event and that just brought a smile to my face.” 

Although 86,000 people attended Maryland Day in 2019, a year before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was still a huge success in Martínez’s eyes. 

“For us, it was not necessarily about the sheer numbers of people that were on campus,” Martínez said. “It was just the opportunity to be able to welcome our community, our students, our faculty and staff [and] the surrounding community members to the events to really experience and learn and have fun.”