Annual Traditions

Scholars boasts a number of annual traditions that help round out the student experience and deepen the program's sense of community. These events–many of which were founded by our own students–underscore the spirit and care found in College Park Scholars.

Please note that our traditional events may be significantly altered in form, or not held, during the 2020–2021 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Fall Traditions

PlayfairSmiling female students sit in a circle

Usually taking place on the night of move-in, Playfair is a guided program-wide activity that provides first-year Scholars a high-energy way to unwind and meet other Scholars students. Students are advised to wear comfortable clothing (ideally with pockets, to keep hands free) and closed-toe shoes for Playfair.

Service Day

Scholars' first full day as college students begins with a day of service in communities surrounding the University of Maryland—a tradition that is 25 years old! Students get to know others in their Scholars program and build relationships with faculty while making a difference in  neighboring communities.

As of 2019, Scholars Service Days have involved 22,264 students, faculty and team leaders serving 689 community partners, providing an estimated 78,368 hours of service.

Students stand and cheer in auditoriumConvocation

Convocation takes place during the first week of classes, after students have attended their first colloquium. First-year Scholars are officially welcomed to the Scholars community by Executive Director Marilee Lindemann and the Scholars faculty and staff, and learn more about what it means to be a College Park Scholar.

Block Party

Learn about ways to get involved in the Scholars community, or just come for the party. Scholars Block Party features games, food and music, and showcases student organizations and involvement opportunities throughout the  community. 

Organizations wanting to participate in Scholars Block Party, please contact Jeany Cadet.

Citation Awards CeremonyAward recipients line up in front of Centreville Hall

Each fall, we celebrate the accomplishments of Scholars in our recent citation class. Each program recognizes students for outstanding achievement and outstanding citizenship. In addition, six students are honored for exemplifying the founding ideals and values of College Park Scholars.


Spring Traditions

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Awards

Scholars faculty and staff frequently go above and beyond for their students. Every spring, students have an opportunity to recognize and thank them, by nominating them for a Faculty and Staff Appreciation Award. Nominations open in April, and awards are presented during a ceremony in May.

For more information or to nominate a member of the Scholars faculty or staff, please contact Jeany Cadet.

Academic Showcase

An opportunity for second-year Scholars students to present their capstone projects to the University of Maryland (UMD) community, Academic Showcase completes a student's Scholars experience. 

Academic Showcase is the largest exhibition of undergraduate student learning each year on the UMD campus. More than 600 sophomores share insights from their research, internship, service-learning, global learning and leadership experiences each year, through academic posters, presentations, facilitated discussions and interactive experiences.

Annual Kickball Tournament

Scholars' annual kickball tournament offers a program-wide bonding experience—as well as a fun way for students to blow off steam ahead of their final exams. The kickball tournament, which takes place on a Saturday in May each year, pits Scholars programs against one another in round-robin tournament play. The competition culminates in one Scholars program being named kickball champions—bragging rights that they hold until the next year's tournament!

First- and second-year Scholars students, as well as undergraduate Scholars alumni, may participate.

Video by Kate DeBlasis

Ongoing Events and Traditions

Annual Theme

The College Park Scholars annual theme brings our community together to engage in a shared intellectual experience. We take on a complex, multifaceted problem that demands thoughtful, creative, hands-on solutions.