May 8, 2024 - Looking Back

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The University of Maryland’s


Independent Student Newspaper

Founded 1910, independent since 1971.

APURVA MAHAJAN Editor in chief

3150 S. Campus Dining Hall, College Park, Md., 20742 (301) 314-8200


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Adam Hudacek

Tolu Talabi

Nur Yavuz

Irit Skulnik

Natalie Weger


Apurva Mahajan

Lizzy Alspach

Olivia Borgula

Zachary Intrater

Chelsea Collier


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Sydney Theis

Rebecca Safra FRONT COVER PHOTO BY: Adelia McGuire


Neelay Sachdeva BACK COVER PHOTO BY: Giueseppe LoPiccolo

Table of contents 2 CONTENTS
9 Grad Info 10 Stamp panera opening 11 commencement information
5 Poll: Seniors’ Best Memories 6 Terpoets Comeback 7 Senior artist Profile

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poll: Seniors’ Best Memories

Storming the court after our win against Purdue - malekshedid

First concert, sporting events, hanging out with friends - jill_fashion_star

Storming the court after beating Purdue - andy_grutowski

Advice for Underclassmen

Live in the moment, nothing lasts forever so don’t stress about what will or won’t happen -malekshedid

Step outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your college experience - jill_fashion_star

Find an organization for friends, don’t pay for friends with a frat (I did at first and it was lame) - j_hawkins

Senior memories Poll

Terpoets, English department honor National Poetry Month

Two years ago, the University of Maryland’s poetry community was on its last legs.

Virtual classes during the pandemic wiped out the membership of Terpoets, this university’s poetry club, diminishing their numbers to two. By 2021, the number of English majors had nationally reduced by a third compared to 10 years prior.

Poetry’s popularity at this university seemed to be waning. Time would prove that wrong.

“Interest in poetry, once we came back in person, has steadily increased in a way that I hadn’t seen before COVID,” Lindsay Bernal, this university’s graduate creative writing program’s academic coordinator, said.

Rue Campion, one of Terpoets’ vice presidents, was a part of that new wave of interest. The senior English major joined the club in her first semester during fall 2022, when membership sat at about eight students. Today, the club boasts 40, according to club president Caleigh Larkin.

“It was a very unexpected increase, but not unwelcome,” the senior criminology and criminal justice major said. “COVID inspired a lot of people to try to process their feelings in new and different ways, especially in terms of the solo processing that poetry does.”

April marks National Poetry Month, and the impact of this university’s post-pandemic poetry boom can be seen in both academia and extracurriculars.

Campion, who is also Terpoets’ outreach chair, said an open mic event with the English Undergraduate Association is being planned for the month, which may feature guest speakers.

Nikki Giovanni, a renowned poet and civil rights activist, will visit this university on April 24. Giovanni will join the university’s new Frederick Douglass Center for Leadership Through the Humanities’ inauguration ceremony. The center aims to make leaders who embody values in the humanities.

This university also has consistent poetry programming from both Terpoets and the English department. Terpoets meets every Tuesday evening and hosts monthly open mics as well as free writing sessions. Meeting topics range from discussions on

poetry form to deep dives exploring the life and work of legendary writers such as Mary Oliver.

For students looking to work poetry into their academic coursework, the English department offers a variety of courses on the subject — some taught by Bernal. But her work primarily focuses on graduate students in the creative writing program who are working toward finishing their first collection of work, a process that can take two to three years.

Some of that work has been highlighted by the department in celebration of National Poetry Month, Bernal said. The English department’s social media channels have spent April celebrating and promoting alumni, faculty and current students’s work.

As Terpoets continues to draw new members, Campion and Larkin credit pandemic-era lockdowns for driving student interest in the medium. Larkin found poetry while battling depression their freshman year of high school.

“Poetry has grown with me,” Larkin said. “It’s just been such a present force in my life because it is the tool I use best to describe myself and emote myself and connect with people.”

Campion’s pandemic-era entry into poetry was an escape from the isolation that came with lockdown, among other hobbies such as online role-playing games and chess.

“When we get into this place of loneliness, you find yourself wanting to learn and to create in ways that maybe a lot of us didn’t have time or the mental and physical energy to do before,” Campion said.

Some people turned to poets for comfort, a move born out of the innate desire to be seen and understood in an era of uncertainty, Campion said. Now, that desire has blossomed into a space for shared passion and renewed community.

Although Larkin and Campion’s time in Terpoets is coming to an end, the club’s future is promising. New events, such as open mics in Washington, D.C., and a slam poetry team’s establishment are on the horizon. As National Poetry Month highlights the work of Terpoets on campus, Larkin can spend their final months at the university enjoying the club they rebuilt.

Terpoets 6

UMD student’s digital art celebrates icons, animated characters

On a canvas-like gold-illuminated surface, LeBron James takes three forms: a knight donning No. 6 going up for a dunk with laser focus, a stoic warrior in a No. 23 cape and a power-driven king covered in purple hues and royal garments.

Celebrities immersed in the symbology of their respective worlds is digital artist Ed-Lamarr Petion’s signature style. Not only does Petion — a University of Maryland senior — draw public figures, he also does characters from comic books, TV shows and movies as well as his own creations.

“Any fandom you can think of, any TV show, musician, artist, athlete, I’ve probably drawn them before,” Petion, a marketing and supply chain management major, said.

Petion traces his love for art back to his childhood, which was filled with frequent visits to the library. He read a plethora of fantasy and comic books and played video games such as Naruto and Dragon Ball Z.

Much of his childhood was spent crafting fictional worlds and characters from scratch in his class journals or with his five siblings.

They would spend all day drawing to entertain themselves. Seeing these creations encouraged his imagination, which is reflected in his current art.

In February, Petion produced a Black History Month series celebrating Black culture by highlighting 12 icons — real and fictional — including Bob Marley, Muhammad Ali, Afro Samurai and Toussaint Louverture. He asked his

over 2,000 Instagram followers to help him pick who to draw, an approach he regularly takes.

Petion said the series allowed him to represent people of color in animation, which he was not used to seeing as a child.

“It means so much to people just seeing representation,” Petion said. “I could remember seeing my first Black character on TV. I think it was Cyborg from Teen Titans, and I was like, ‘that’s the coolest guy ever because he looks like me.’”

In 2023, Petion challenged himself to draw every day for five months straight. He created multiple series during this period, including one surrounding the seven deadly sins. He completed many other series — one highlighting cartoon shows he and his peers grew up on, one celebrating famous athletes and one taking inspiration from the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

Drawing consistently made Petion more efficient. He’s reduced his average time per piece from seven or eight hours to two or three hours.

Petion faced every day with determination and was motivated by the positive reactions he received from his followers, he said.

“I can’t say that I’ve seen a style similar to his anywhere else,” Alim Smith, Petion’s friend and customer, said. “He really seems to use color in a way that makes you want to keep looking at the art.”

Petion approaches every art piece with intentionality.

For example, when drawing a musician, he assigns colors to different sounds in their music and includes hidden symbols that capture his subject’s identity.

In a Bob Marley piece he created, every detail was thought out and symbolic. It was important to Petion that he stay true to Marley, which he did in part by including flowers native to Jamaica in his work.

To expand his art to other demographics, Petion makes posters and T-shirts featuring his graphic art. He also takes commissions, attends art conventions and participates in pop-up events at this university.

Justín Reyna, Petion’s career mentor and a professor at this university’s business school, has purchased clothing from Petion. He wears it when he wants to represent Petion at art events.

“I wear it with pride,” Reyna said. “They’re very highly stylized; these are statement pieces. You’re saying something to the world.”

Petion is currently working on comic books that represent his identity and blend his passions for fiction and art. He hopes to pursue art for the rest of his life.

“At the end of the day, it’s my first love and I’ll always love it,” Petion said. “It’s like how people can get lost in piano or play an instrument where they can express themselves. My words don’t do justice as much as my art does.”

7 senior artist profile

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UMD sees about 26 percent increase in Black faculty from 2021 to 2023

The number of Black faculty members at the University of Maryland increased by about 26 percent from 2021 to 2023, according to data from the institutional research, planning and assessment office.

Several university community members commended this increase in Black faculty and highlighted the need for inclusive hiring and retention processes. Offices at this university, such as faculty affairs and diversity, equity and inclusion have attempted to increase diversity in recent years, but progress varies largely by academic colleges and departments.

This university has also seen Hispanic faculty increase by about 12 percent and Asian faculty increase by about 4 percent during the same timeframe, according to IRPA. The number of Black faculty members at this university has increased about 50 percent since 2016, according to IRPA.

“We’re always proud of our focus to improve the makeup of our institution based on excellence and on diversity and inclusion at all levels,” university president Darryll Pines told The Diamondback.

Sharon Harley, an African American studies professor, said she has noticed the number of Black faculty members increase at this university in her 30 years working here.

Although this university is not a “complete utopia” in terms of faculty diversity, she said, the support for Black faculty members through grants or collaboration with other faculty is encouraging.

“The numbers have grown so incrementally, I don’t even know many of the new faculty,” she said. “I think it’s quite impressive.”

Despite the recent increases in Black faculty, there are still disparities between faculty and student populations at this university. In 2023, the Black students made up nearly 13 percent of this university’s student body, while the Black faculty population was less than seven percent, according to IRPA.

There were 12 Black students for every one Black faculty member at this university in 2023. For every one white faculty member, there were five white students, according to IRPA.

Some departments at this university, such as computer science, did not have any Black faculty members in 2023, according to IRPA.

A factor that might cause these differences is that the number of Black faculty receiving doctoral degrees in recent years has not seen a large increase, according to Georgina Dodge, this university’s diversity and inclusion office vice president.

Steps to recruit and support doctoral students include initiatives by the graduate diversity and inclusion office and a president’s fellowship, according to the diversity and inclusion office’s 25 demands dashboard.

The dashboard was born in 2021 after five Black student leaders collaborated with this university’s administration to create a list of 25 demands that aimed to address an-

ti-Black racism. The first demand listed was to “increase the number of Black faculty, staff, teaching assistants, administrators and advisors at the university.”

The diversity and inclusion office is still looking to make this university a “welcoming environment for faculty of color,” Dodge said. In addition to creating training programs around hiring, the office is in the process of hiring an equal employment opportunity officer who will work with different departments to increase diversity, she said.

This university saw increased retirement and a hiring freeze during the pandemic, John Bertot, the associate provost for faculty affairs, said. As the pandemic subsided, this university increased hiring.

That increase coincided with the announcement of programs intended to increase diversity among faculty, he added.

One of the programs — the Faculty Advance at Maryland for Inclusive Learning and Excellence initiative — started in spring 2021 under the faculty affairs office and has recruited more than 32 faculty members as of November, Bertot said.

“I’m very, very pleased with the progress we’ve been making even over the last few years, but there’s more that could be done,” Bertot said.

The program’s main components include a fellowship for postdoctoral scholars and targeted hiring for assistant professors and senior tenured faculty.

example of what you could become and what you could amount to,” Minus said. “On top of that, it helps boost confidence in the classroom.”

Solomon Comissiong, Nyumburu Cultural Center’s assistant director of student involvement and the president of this university’s Black Faculty and Staff Association chapter, said some Prince George’s County natives have not seen this university as a “warm and welcoming place for folks of color.”

There are many Black scholars who research topics such as mass incarceration, the war on drugs and structural racism that could play a significant role in creating equitable policies, Comissiong said. But this university needs stronger retention strategies for Black faculty who pursue these areas of study, he said.

Welcoming faculty who study these topics will make this university “fearless when it comes to supporting the scholars that are lending their scholarship towards dismantling a range of social justice and race-based inequities,” he said.

Junior government and politics major Mason Minus, this university’s Black Student Union president, said he has had five Black professors over his last two semesters at this university. His Black professors have taught “color-based classes” such as women of color in politics or Black politics, he said, while some of his white professors have taught other grassroots government and policy courses.

Minus has observed the increase of Black faculty at this university but said there is a small divide in the classes taught.

“It’s nice to have a Black professor to show you an

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9 increase in black faculty

Freshly baked: Stamp Panera officially opens

The Panera Bread at Stamp Student Union opened May 2 after more than a year of delays.

The fast-casual restaurant, which was originally scheduled to open in fall 2022, is now open for customers on the first floor of Stamp in the space previously occupied by Adele’s restaurant.

Panera was most recently scheduled to open Wednesday but equipment issues led to the opening being pushed back another day, according to Dining Services spokesperson Bart Hipple. While preparing for the opening earlier this week, staff discovered some of the equipment — including an oven and coffee maker — were not working properly, Hipple told The Diamondback Tuesday.

“We had some equipment issues,” Hipple said. “Our maintenance crew and the Stamp team all got together and worked things out and got it working properly, and we’re open and serving. It looks beautiful in there.”

According to Hipple, the restaurant had already served 65 customers by 9 a.m.

Freshman Caitlyn Kelly got to Panera early to try to

avoid a long wait time, she said. She used the self-order kiosks which she said was “really easy” and got her food about 10 minutes later.

Kelly, who is enrolled in letters and sciences, said she had “slight doubts” that Panera would actually open today because of the numerous delays.

Delays over the past two years have been due to challenges with equipment sourcing, permits and other operational issues, The Diamondback previously reported.

Construction delays partially stemmed from difficulties in obtaining certain pieces of equipment, such as large ovens, after the COVID-19 pandemic, Stamp director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens told The Diamondback in February.

Sophomore Erin Kaczor also doubted that Panera would open Thursday.

“I had no hope that it was going to open today at all,” the public health major said. “I was like ‘this is just a hoax. It’s never gonna open.’”

She said she was happy when she saw it open Thurs-

day and appreciated the restaurant’s quick service during her visit.

By noon on Thursday, a line had developed outside Panera to enter the restaurant and order.

According to Hipple, other Panera “experts” from different locations and additional Dining Services staff members are on standby to help out.

“[They’re] ready to hop in and make sure things come out as quickly as they can,” Hipple said.

Junior elementary education major Lili Adolph arrived at Panera at 11:15 a.m. and waited over 15 minutes to get inside the restaurant, she said. Adolph said she thought it would be worth the wait though.

“I’m really excited. I love Panera and I’m glad that it’s here,” Adolph said.

The restaurant will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, according to Dining Services’ website.

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The University of Maryland’s main commencement ceremony will be held on Monday, May 20, 2024 in SECU stadium and will feature President Darryll Pines and other guests. The student processional will start at 6 p.m.

Each graduating student can claim six guest tickets and one personal ticket to the main ceremony. Tickets on the app may list a section and seat number but all seating is open and unassigned.

Leading up to and during commencement, graduates are encouraged to share their memories on social media using #UMDgrad.

Specific colleges and schools will be hosting their own ceremonies on Monday, May, 20, Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22.

Find more information on the 2024 commencement on, and claim your tickets!

Employers for our 2023 & 2024 graduates include: Cambridge Associates, Defense Intelligence Agency, Deloitte, Econ One Research, FI Consulting, Freddie Mac, International Monetary Fund, JP Morgan, Pinterest, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census Bureau, US Export-Import Bank, US Department of Agriculture, World Bank

Congratulations to our May 2024 grads!
Accepting online applications for Fall enrollment until June 12th. 11 Commencement Information
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