TerpsChoice - Help the Band Get New Uniforms

Help the Mighty Sound of Maryland get new band uniforms by participating in TerpsChoice, the university's new social giving effort that seeks to make a big impact through small contributions.  

Go to http://terpschoice.umd.edu to make your gift in any amount from $10 to $250.  You can vote/donate as many times as you'd like between Feb. 1 and April 30, but only once per day.  All of the money donated by the end of the campaign will go to the cause that receives the most votes.

The minimum donation amount per vote is $10.  If you'd like to donate more than $10, we recommend you make the minimum donation once per day, so you can cast several votes over several days.  

If you're a Tweeter or Facebooker, please help spread the word to family and friends to get us over the top.  

Remember - your vote won't count unless you make a donation at the same time.  There isn't much time left, so make your TerpsChoice today. 


I can't believe that the University of Maryland Bands are involved in a contest that pits the needs of the band for new informs against the needs of emotionally challenged veterans to receive care? Only one organization wins $$$$$$ in this contest. Have you guys actually read the small print in this contest. This may be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in print. I called the university public relations office today to complain, and I suggest you do the same. In fact, you should insist that the band be removed from this contest. I tried to contact Dr. Sparks today but received no reply.

Please remove me from your mailing list and never contact me again.

Dick Taylor

SUBJECT LINE: Is the TerpsChoice program fraudulent?


Chancellor William E. Kerwan – University Systems of Maryland, webnotes@usmd.edu
Joseph Vivona,COO/Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, jvivona@usmd.edu
Office of the President, president@umd.edu
University of Maryland Bands, Dr. L. Richmond Sparks, lrsparks@umd.edu
Brodie Remington, Vice President for University Relations, bremingt@umd.edu,
Jim Rychner, Office of development & External Relations, Veterans Initiative Program, jjR@umd.edu
David Mosca, Office of Internal Audit Staff,, Director, dmosca@usmd.edu
Millree Williams, Executive Director of Public Affairs Strategy, millree@umd.edu

Richard W. Taylor, class of 1972

I can't believe that the University of Maryland Bands are involved in a contest that pits the needs of the band for “uniform replacements” against the needs of veterans attending the university who “may face physical, emotional, financial and other challenges.”

I am referring to a program called TerpsChoice (http://www.terpschoice.umd.edu/)
now being publicized by the University of Maryland Public Relations Office. As a Maryland alumnus I have received e-mail fliers about this program from the “Flagship Institution of the University System.” The flier that outlines the program at first appears to be another approach to make alumni aware of several groups on campus that need support, and offers alumni the opportunity to vote for their favorite organization. Each vote requires a donation, presumably to the organization of the donor's choice from a group of five needy campus organizations.

But, reading further you find that “All of the money donated by the end of the campaign will go to the cause that receives the most votes.” It seems obvious to me that alumni are being asked to choose between new uniforms for the band, assistance to veterans with emotional needs, and assistance to students who can not go to college without financial aid.

The notion of placing these groups in competition is highly offensive. Since the link provided on the flier, “Contact us with comments, questions and feedback,” did not work, I am sending my comments in this e-mail. I first called the public affairs office to express my concerns. They explained that the program was in fact a contest in which only one group would get money. They point out that I can, of course, give to any of the organizations I want to.

Sorry! Nowhere in the promotional e-mail flier that I have received is there an option for contributing directly to my choice of organizations in this contest. In fact, the very small print links, “Give to TerpsChoice right now!” and “Give Now,” take you to another page where you are asked to give to other general funds--University-wide Priorities, Schools and Colleges, Campus Programs—not connected to the TerpsChoice contest groups (Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, Keep Me Maryland, Mighty Sound of Maryland, Solar Decathlete, and Veterans Initiative).

It only took me one reading to be appalled at the idea of grouping the need for new band uniforms with the need for support of emotionally-disturbed veterans.

I am both a Viet Nam era veteran and a band alumnus. I am, in fact, the author of “Musical Ambassadors of Maryland, A Centennial History” and “The Maryland Song Book, A Centennial Edition,” published in 2009. I would be the first to contribute to a fund for new uniforms, but not at the expense of emotionally-disturbed veterans.

Recent personal events make me additionally sensitive to the idea of putting these groups in competition. A close friend has been visiting with me for the last two weeks. He returned from Afghanistan to escort the body of his platoon leader who was killed by a road-side device. This friend immediately came to mind when I read that veterans with emotional needs were part of your contest. My friend may be one of those veterans in need, in the near future.

It is clear to me that the groups pitted in competition in this fund-raising campaign are simply not comparable, and that this entire program was ill-conceived at best.

The university and the office that initiated this program need to acknowledge this mistake publicly, and apologize to all the organizations involved. This sort of ineptitude should have been caught by the professionals who created the program before it was widely distributed and had a chance to offend people. I think that funds collected should be divided proportionally among all of the groups in the contest. As promoted, the TerpsChoice program is nothing less than fraudulent!

At this point, I am simply disgusted with the University of Maryland!

Richard Taylor,