One of the last obstacles Ray Ash has to face before earning the Traditions Keeper medallion is a feat that he was theoretically supposed to accomplish first in his college journey: learning the words to the Maryland Victory Song.
“Orientation is supposed to be a time to learn the [Victory] Song,” Ash, a senior cell biology and molecular genetics major who had a virtual orientation, said. “We never had that.”
Outside of learning those spirited lyrics, Ash only has about four items to complete on the Alumni Association’s Bucket List, designed to celebrate this university’s many unique traditions.
The idea of a bucket list, with 20 must-do items on campus, spawned from a modern revamp of the M Book, according to Jessica Lee, the engagement and outreach director at the Alumni Association. Every time students complete five items, they receive a commemorative pin. Those who complete all traditions get to wear a Traditions Keeper medallion at graduation.
Other than the incentive of having more swag to wear on graduation day, Lee appreciates the list because it helps connect students beyond campus and promote Maryland spirit outside of game days.
Ash has compiled many fond memories surrounded by Terp traditions. He recalled the first time he went into the fountain on McKeldin Mall during his training for Maryland Images, the tour guide organization. It was a chilly October day and the last day the fountain had water, but Ash confirmed braving the cold was worth it.
Sophomore biology major Jonathan Zhang isn’t actively striving to earn the Traditions Keeper medallion, but he did receive a few pins for completing bucket list items. Other traditions, like giving Testudo sacrifices during exam season, should also be on the bucket list, Zhang said.
While the set list the Alumni Association provides does include a solid selection of tasks, there are unofficial, sillier traditions that students partake in, such as leaving exam sacrifices to Testudo, eating Marathon Deli fries at 2 a.m. or getting kicked out of a reserved McKeldin Library study room.
For Ash, these unofficial traditions are truly what brings this university’s students together.
“We’re trying to get those tests over with but seeing people gather at Testudo to leave offerings, and rub her nose, it’s fun, and it sort of takes our mind off of things,” Ash said.
The bucket list has been ever so slightly changed over the years, according to Lee. Having received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees at this university, she understands that what it means to be a Terp is evolving and encourages students to provide insight on traditions to add to the bucket list. Students can submit proof of completing bucket list items to the Alumni Association through Portfolium on ELMS, according to Lee.