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A retriever tea party

Tea Empire’s first meeting of the semester

Jamie Heathcote

Staff Writer

Summary: Though not a university-recognized group, Tea Empire attracts a crowd of warm beverage enthusiasts for their first meeting.

While not having a table to proudly stand behind at the Fall Involvement Fest, a potential club is hoping to become official. Unfortunately, Tea Empire is currently not regarded as a university-recognized group at UMBC, but it is fighting to be deemed as a club that offers a chance to unwind over a cup of tea while in the company of fellow Retrievers.

Maxwell Weinberg, a senior computer science major and the current “Tea Emperor,” arranged the first meeting of the semester in the hopes of a good turnout. With no specific room reserved, he began setting up by the couches on the third floor of the Commons by the Skylight room at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17.

Weinberg said “It was an official organization about four or five years ago and they actually discussed the cultural significance of tea and it was more educational. Soon it just turned into more of a social-gathering.” Since then, due to some difficulties and the dwindling in members here and there, it has become hard to maintain a strong reputation on campus.

Luckily, the lack of members may soon be put to rest seeing as how just minutes into the first meeting, the group of about eight doubled. More couches were added to the circle in order to accommodate the crowd and soon, teas such as hazelnut truffle and sweet orange spice filled the air with an appetizing aroma.

Roy Anderson, a junior mechanical engineering major and attendee said, “I was just looking for a good club to join and I chose this one. I also really enjoy tea.” It doesn’t take much to join Tea Empire. Members need only be willing to relax with a warm refreshment in hand.

Still, Weinberg would like to see more members who are willing to take on a leadership position. With four members holding down specific positions other than Weinberg, the club could possibly become official once again.

When asked about the goals, other than gaining more recognition, Weinberg said “Joining helped me break out of my shell and I would like to help someone else to do that. That’s one of the main goals so far.” It seemed that that goal was being fulfilled as the majority of the crowd were newbies to the occasion and the conversation was flowing.

Of course, suggestions for new flavors are always welcomed and encouraged. As of right now, since Tea Empire is trying to get back on its feet, there is no set time or day for the meetings. It does remain flexible considering some members could possibly be commuters and students’ schedules can be quite hectic.

Even though just one meeting has taken place this semester, the chances at becoming a campus-recognized group look promising. Tea Empire invites UMBC students to a group that offers an opportunity to lounge around and socialize over a variety of delicious teas.