Each semester, the time comes when fraternity members at the University of Maryland seek to escape College Park for the weekend along with their “dates” for the occasion.
These “away weekends” typically occur in November in the fall semester and April in the spring. While the fraternity members are not obligated to bring someone with them, they are often accompanied by their girlfriends or their girl friends, typically members of sororities.
Destinations include various enjoyable locations across the East Coast, with popular spots being Virginia Beach, the Poconos, and Ocean City.
A prime time for Greek life and beyond, here’s what you need to bring with you:
Firstly, sleeping arrangements vary depending on the housing situation, so plan accordingly. You will likely have a bed but might need to pack a pillow and blanket on the off chance you end up on a couch or air mattress.
“Something people always seem to forget about is sleeping,” said junior management and finance major Brody Funk, whose fraternity routinely hosts away weekends. “It’s important to bring stuff for sleeping — you’d be surprised.”
Another essential item to have with you is a bathing suit. Fall away weekends are cooler and swimming is less likely, but you never know when your house might have a hot tub or a nearby lake isn’t too cold.
Sophomore public health major Haylie Morris recommends girls bring a small bag.
“You need a mini purse because you’re not in CP… you can’t just bring a phone wallet,” she said. “You need more items [at away weekends] than here.”
Indeed, you’ll likely want to carry more than just your phone and cash on you; lip balm, sunglasses and Advil are among a plethora of other small items you might need on your person.
It is also important that you remember to bring a phone charger, something easily forgotten but crucial. Your phone’s full charge will definitely not last you the weekend.
Now onto the shower situation: you will probably remember your toiletries, but a common oversight is your way of drying off.
“Don’t forget a shower towel, and if it’s a spring away weekend, bring a beach towel,” said junior kinesiology major and fraternity member Brian Popeck.
Away weekend attendees will typically see familiar faces there, but an exciting part of attending these trips is meeting new people. Steering away from the practical aspects of the list, bring items that will allow you to take advantage of the free time you have and bond with others whom you might not have met before.
“I brought a volleyball and it was a big hit,” said junior finance major Emily Lim. “It was a way to bring the community together, especially for people who didn’t really know each other.”
Plan your clothing according to the time of year and weather, but don’t forget to bring a getup for certain themed nights, a regular occurrence at away weekends. This November, expect to be faced with either an ugly holiday sweater party or a formal night.
All in all, whatever items will make you feel the most comfortable, confident, safe and prepared should be in your bag. Remember to soak up the scenery, explore your social butterfly capabilities, look out for yourself, and take a real break for a few days.