College Park campus not as Olesker recalls it
It is clear from the tone of Michael Olesker's column ("College Park needs lesson from N.Y. on community," Sept. 27) that he has not set foot on the campus in some time. Mr. Olesker spends a great deal of time describing the campus as he remembers it from sometime in the long past, but he shows no understanding of the changes and improvements that have occurred there since.
Like Mr. Olesker, I was at Maryland when every state graduate could attend with a "C" average and most of the student body commuted from off campus because there was a lack of available housing on campus. Then, the campus was aloof and the only communities that existed were the fraternities and sororities. However, today's campus is alive with activities. Programs like the College Park Scholars, Honors and Gemstone have added to the sense of community. Admissions, once so easy, have become selective and with each passing year, the quality of the incoming freshman class has improved.
Most students share a sense of belonging. After graduating, each alumnus is encouraged to become a member of the Alumni Association. Grads are presented with a key chain upon which is inscribed "Terp for Life."
But all this is nothing compared to the spirit and unity shown by the campus community. In the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, thousands of students, faculty and staff attended a multi-cultural service of remembrance on the mall on a day when there were no classes. Campus students, faculty and staff who are eligible to donate blood have done so.
The tornado which ripped apart the campus, killing two students and causing numerous injuries, has not dampened the spirit of the students. Instead, the common experiences have increased the bonds of an already cemented community. Mr. Olesker, the Maryland community stands tall, proud even in these times of injury and death. Your article did not do them justice.