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College Park residents coexist with University of Maryland ‘partiers’

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Published on: Wednesday, August 18, 2010

By Chris Grady

Mary Lew Miller is far from the typical College Park resident. The 84-year-old alumna of the University of Maryland has more than 60 years on most of her neighbors, who are predominantly students at her alma mater.

Despite the fact that the Princeton Review ranked the University of Maryland nineteenth on its list of party schools in the 2011 edition of the annual “373 Best Colleges” survey, Miller said she enjoys living around the students.

“I wouldn’t have stayed here for 60 years if it had been an issue,” she said.

This is the first year the university has been on the list of top party schools since its inclusion as the 14th ranked party school in the 2008 edition.

 “The biggest thing that bothers me is that they leave their beer cups and cans in my yard,” Miller said.

Miller, who lives within two blocks of five fraternity and sorority chapter houses and next door to a group of university students, has lived in College Park since 1944.

And the co-eds’ neighbor said she has had a good relationship over the years with the tenants next door, who have been a revolving door of students at the university.

“If they get too loud I go outside and say, ‘Please move to the front.’ and they do,” said Miller. 

However, not all residents share the positive feelings towards the students and their behavior.

A resident of College Park’s Old Town section — and an alumna of the university who wished to remain anonymous — said the issues with students moving off campus arose due to restrictions such as the university’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association’s Alcohol Management & Social Event Monitoring Policy, which was written in 2006.

Currently, the policy states that parties at the chapter house must be registered with the university. There must be someone checking IDs at the door of the house and there must be a guest list established before the party is scheduled to begin.

Additionally, common sources of alcohol such as kegs are prohibited. Guests must bring their own alcohol, but they are limited to six beers per person.

This consequently has led to a rise in consumption of alcohol off campus, according to the Old Town section resident, who has lived in her  home for 26 years.

Consequently, there are now loud parties, intoxicated students shouting as they come home from the bars at 2 a.m. and debris around the town, according to the Old Town section resident.

The resident also said that the trash in the streets has also led to the emergence of a rat problem in the city over the past five years. 

“Nobody likes to pick up their trash and beer cans,” she said.

During one incident, the resident said her neighbors had asked her not to call the police on a party they were hosting. The student neighbors promised the party would end by 5 p.m., but she said there were still several hundred people at the party after 5 p.m.

“The more alcohol you consume, the larger the decibel factor of the music, the louder people have to yell to hear each other,” she said.

The resident also said members of fraternities and sororities create the most problems because of the large parties they hold at their houses off campus.

“It’s not a casual party where they are having over 20 people,” she said.

University of Maryland junior Benji Weistrop said he definitely thinks the university is a “party school.”

“Anywhere you walk there are people walking around who are walking to a bar or from a bar or a party,” said Weistrop, who lives off campus on Knox Road.

While there are parties in the houses off campus, a lot of the activity at nights is concentrated at the bars on U.S. Route 1, according to Weistrop.

However, Weistrop said, he understands the non-student residents’ frustrations with having boisterous college students as neighbors. Residents of College Park perceive students at the university to be young people who do not understand the value of hard work and are taking their freedom as college students for granted, said Weistrop.

“I would hate us, if I were them,” he said. “A lot of them are hardworking people. I’m sure they are working a lot of hours, and then they come home and the house next door is having a rager.”

The University of Maryland was not available for comment.

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