QUEST’s Homecoming Fun

UMD’s football games are best known for the tailgates that precede them – grilling, cornhole, and hanging out with friends while countless Maryland flags blow in the wind. One tailgate a season, in particular, gets all Terps to unite across campus: Homecoming.

Thousands of Terps walked our campus on November 2nd as alumni returned for the annual homecoming game. With an intense match against the University of Michigan, everyone got ready with their Bagel Place breakfast, red and yellow apparel, and school spirit! 

QUEST Social hosted its annual Homecoming tailgate and welcomed many QUEST alumni back for the day. Sasha Miller, a senior in Cohort 29 said, “I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Saturday morning! It was a great time connecting with older cohorts and seeing where they are now. I hope I can come back in a couple years and visit the QUEST community.”

A group of QUEST students and alumni at this year’s Homecoming Tailgate

Stationed outside Mowatt garage, our tailgate could be noted with our amazing grill master and Cohort 5 alumnus, Brian Bender, and our QUEST cornhole set. I felt so lucky to see some of the QUEST alumni that I looked up to when I first entered the program. Eleanna Makris from Cohort 25 said, “It’s always so great coming back to campus and seeing everyone that made my undergrad experience so amazing in the same place! From current students that used to be my mentees, to professors, to people in my cohort (go Q25!), I had such a great time.” 

Amongst the recent grads who returned was Zach Azrael, a Q27 alumnus and 2019 Smith grad who now lives in DC. He expressed, “The only word to describe the QUEST tailgate is unreal. It felt so comfortable being with old friends, and even though the time was short, I can’t imagine a Saturday better spent. The worst part is going back into the office on Monday morning and knowing that I may need to wait quite a while until this group of alumni is able to get together again!”

Rachel DiDonna, our program coordinator, enjoyed the tailgate as well, noting, “As a newer staff member, it was really nice to connect with both current students and alumni.” Charles Grody of Cohort 29, who spent the majority of his time taking on different people in cornhole, said, “Rachel walked up to cornhole saying she hadn’t played in ‘years’ but sank her first shot and scored nine total to win the game. Either she tricked us or the game was rigged.”

QUEST Executive Director Dr. Bailey with Q30 students Nikhil Modi and Gina Wingate.

All in all, Homecoming was a time well spent! QUEST prides itself on not just being an academic program but also a program that fosters an amazing community and the tailgate showcased this perfectly. Although it was a bittersweet tailgate for myself, knowing that it was my last homecoming as a student, I am looking forward to joining the QUEST alumni community and returning to future tailgates!

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