From welcoming incoming freshmen to rubbing the Remsen plaque for good luck before chemistry exams, Hopkins has its fair share of traditions.
First Night. The First Night is an Orientation event that showcases the University’s A Capella, Dance, and Theater groups. First Night serves as an induction ceremony where the freshmen are officially inducted into the Johns Hopkins student body as the newest members of the Homewood community.
This year, incoming students wrote an S-word on the side of a white paper bag to describe what makes them unique—like the “s” at the end of Johns (#EmbraceTheS). Candle-lit paper bags lined the Keyser Quad leading all the way up to Gilman Hall, which was illuminated in blue. Then the clock tower bell rang 18 times, welcoming the new class.
Convocation. While first night serves as a welcome to freshmen from upperclassmen, convocation is the official ceremony hosted by the University officially inducting the freshman class into the Homewood community. It marks the end of Orientation events and the beginning of the freshman Blue Jay experience. During the ceremony, President Ron Daniels and other esteemed faculty members speak about the wonderful experiences that await our eager undergrads. The formal ceremony concludes with a reception, an opportunity to meet professors, the deans, and other members of the faculty.
University Seal. Campus lore dictates that the university seal located in the foyer of Gilman Hall holds the fate of those who step on it. As the legend goes, students who step on the seal will not graduate, prospective applicants who step on the seal will not be admitted, parents who step on the seal will not receive financial aid, and professors who step on the seal will not be granted tenure. I guess you could say stepping on the seal AFTER graduation has become somewhat of a tradition.
President’s Day of Service. Every October, students, faculty, and staff, (yes, including the University’s president!) take part in a day of university-wide community service across Baltimore. Projects range from constructing homes and planting gardens to distributing food to volunteering to work with elementary school students. The President’s Day of Service is the ideal opportunity to give back to what will be your community for the next four years. Since over a thousand students take part each year, it’s also a great way to meet new people!
Watch a video of last year’s PDOS here: http://hub.jhu.edu/2013/10/21/presidents-day-of-service
Hoptoberfest. Also held every October, Hoptoberfest is intended to celebrate the Homewood community. Students, faculty, and staff gather for a weekend of traditional fall activities, including pumpkin painting, pie-eating contests, a free outdoor screening of Halloween movies, a haunted house, and a game of Laser Tag. The scavenger hunt pits teams of students, faculty, and staff against one another to solve a series of more than twenty riddles that lead them around the campus and surrounding community.
Check out what’s in store for this year: http://web.jhu.edu/studentlife/involved/HOPtoberfest.
Lighting of the Quads.
This event kicks off the holiday season at Homewood as President Daniels flicks the switch for the lights on each quad in early December. Gingerbread house competitions, a cappella performances, hot chocolate, and a humorous speech by President Daniels make this annual tradition a memorable one. In conjunction with the festivities on campus, just a few blocks away is Miracle on 34th Street, an incredibly decorated row of homes lit up in spirit of the holiday season!
Watch this student-produced video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-EmLYRK4dQ. Warning: It will put you in the holiday mood.
Held annually on Feb. 22 to celebrate the University’s founding (and the installation of President Daniel Coit Gilman on Feb. 22, 1876) students gather in the Glass Pavilion to eat and mingle with the President, the Deans, the faculty, and their peers.
Symposium Series. The Milton S. Eisenhower and Foreign Affairs Symposiums run in the fall and spring, respectively, and bring speakers to campus once a week. Each event is free and open to the public. In the past, we’ve brought in a huge range of speakers, from political figures such as Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, David Axelrod, and Rick Santorum to actors and comedians such as Aziz Ansari, Will Ferrell, and Seth Meyers. We’ve also had Bill Nye the Science Guy as well as Jerry from Ben & Jerry’s who brought free ice cream for everyone in the audience.
Click here to see who’s coming to campus this fall as part of the 2014 MSE Symposium series.
A Cappella. A Cappella is extremely popular at Hopkins…extremely popular. Most groups hold free fall and spring concerts on campus and these events are often packed out to standing-room only. The Quarterfinals of the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella are hosted yearly at Homewood in Shriver Hall. It is not uncommon for the ICCAs to have an attendance upwards of 1,200. In the last ten years or so, groups from Hopkins have not failed to win or place in the top three of the quarterfinal. The JHU Octopodes won the 2011, 2012, and 2013 quarterfinals, and the AllNighters have won several times in the last fifteen years. While they do not compete in such competitions, the JHU Mental Notes—Hopkins’ only comedy a cappella group—are also extremely highly regarded.
Flamingos. Each year hundreds of pink (plastic) flamingos mysteriously appear on Keyser Quad. No one is exactly sure why. Read more: http://hub.jhu.edu/2014/05/07/great-flamingo-migration.
Image: Will Kirk / Homewoodphoto.jhu.edu
Homecoming. Homecoming weekend at Hopkins is unique as it takes place in the spring, during our ever-popular lacrosse season. Each year, Alumni come back to campus to relive it all again. Every lacrosse ticket is free for students, and the HOP, Student Life, and Alumni Relations host tailgates on the freshman quad before every game with free food, t-shirts, foam fingers, face painting, and giveaways.
Spring Fair. Perhaps the most widely-loved Hopkins tradition, Spring Fair is a student-run fair hosted on the Homewood campus and bringing together members of the Hopkins community and Baltimore neighborhood for full of food, drinks, carnival rides, live concerts, shopping, art, and more.
Watch our student-produced Spring Fair 2014 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGQ6b5Wi6nc&list=UUxq4UvYtD8r8gDN-eMJxn0A.
Senior Week. Taking place in the week after finals and before graduation, the Senior Class Council plans a “reverse orientation” to celebrate the end of their four years at Hopkins. Some events include the Preakness Stakes, a barbeque on the quad, an ice cream social, an overnight trip to Atlantic City, a cocktail party in the library, and Senior Prom.
These are the ways we honor the university’s history, welcome new students, and celebrate the Hopkins community at large.