Saturday, April 29th was the 19th annual Maryland Day! Each year, the University of Maryland (UMD) invites families, alumni, faculty, staff, students, and prospective students to “Explore [Their] World of Fearless Ideas.” Maryland Day 2017 offered over 400 events all around campus and had 75,000 visitors!
This year’s Maryland Day featured events at multiple different “learning neighborhoods”:
- Art & Design Place – The Art & Design place offered theater, music, and dance events, many of which involved getting the whole family up and moving!
- Biz & Society Hall – Events in this neighborhood helped prepare you for the professional world! The Department of Communication offered events to conquer speech anxiety and improve writing.
- Science & Tech Way – Learn food safety 101 and the importance of hand washing in this neighborhood!
- Sports & Rec Row - This neighborhood was all about games, physical activity, and living a healthy lifestyle. It featured a rock wall, family yoga and dance sessions, sand volleyball, gymnastics and acrobatics, elements of a challenge course, and some free health screenings. Since a good diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, the UMD School of Nursing at Shady Grove shared dietary guidance related to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
- Terp Town Center – Everything you can imagine happened in the middle of Maryland’s campus. BikeUMD offered free bike valet for all attendees, there were 1-hour campus walking tours, the Counseling Center offered mental health and wellness sessions, and UMD chefs discussed initiatives to support food security for everyone.
- Ag Day Avenue – This is where our booth was. Located in the courtyard of the Animal Sciences Building, our table featured information about portion sizes, sugar sweetened beverages, and how to build a healthy plate. We had information for everyone - from preschoolers to adults!
We also had a corn hole game for kids! Instead of a traditional corn hole game where the two boards are placed across from each other, our boards were placed next to each other to make it easier for kids to get their bean bags in the holes. When placed next to each other, our boards illustrated a healthy plate! The kids had a lot of fun with the game, most of them wanting to play multiple times. Their prizes were a MyPlate coloring book with a word-search and crossword puzzle, and a pack of crayons.
People of all ages were interested in our table! My fellow interns and I greeted visitors to our table and answered their questions on nutrition. People asked about food myths (i.e. “I heard pineapple was bad for you”) and for more information on how to build a healthy plate. Many were shocked at the amount of sugar in sodas and sports drinks. We helped them see why water and unsweetened beverages are a better choice. Our table also featured three examples of healthy plates, complete with food models. One kid even showed off his food knowledge by naming all the foods on the plates! We gave our visitors handouts to take home and hopefully inspired them to eat a healthier diet.
I really enjoyed my time at Maryland Day. I had fun playing with the kids and teaching people about nutrition. As a bonus, I even got to take home an herb plant which I’ll use in cooking endeavors! For more information about Maryland Day or to see the hundreds of events you might be able to expect next year, visit: https://marylandday.umd.edu/index.html.