Group Name: Blue Key Society
Category of Group: Admissions Volunteers
Name: Joshua Gleason
Hometown: Park Ridge, NJ
Position: Regular Tour Guide
As strange as it seems, I really liked the college search process. It was fun speculating where I would be for 4 years – the locations, the people, the campus. I liked going on the different college trips with my family and getting to see different places in the country. Visiting the colleges, anxiously waiting in admissions office lobbies, and getting to go on those tours wasn’t dreadful (for the most part). It was fun. You got to learn all about the history and trivia of these places. You got to hear the interesting little stories and traditions.
All of this made me want to help out in admissions when I finally got to college. I knew that part of what I would want to do it help out as a tour guide. I love getting people excited about Hopkins. I love helping out families who are going through the same thing my family did not too long ago. I love interacting with others. Most of all, I love having everyone’s attention, hearing my own voice, and knowing more than them. But last fact aside, I really love giving tours to prospective students and answering their questions and letting them know how great Hopkins really is.
That is how I found myself to be part of the Blue Key Society, Hopkins’ group for tour guides.
In the fall, the Admissions volunteer groups (Blue Key, Hopkins Hosting Society, Admissions Representatives) hold a meeting for interested students. For Blue Key, you apply towards the end of your first semester. You are interviewed in November and if selected, you must train in the early Spring semester. You obviously can’t be a tour guide right away, as you have to learn the route, learn all the f acts about Hopkins, and become acquainted with the campus, faculty, and events. You also need to build experiences. A key part of Blue Key is relating stories to the families about things that have happened to you or friends at Hopkins so they get an idea of what the students at the school are like.
- At least one semester at Hopkins
- Good speaking voice
- Ability to remember facts (however useless they may seem)
- Ability to deal with stressed students/parents
- Well-versed in the art of circumlocution (or the layman’s term, BSing)
- Expertise in walking backwards for long periods of time
You may wonder what some of the fun facts we learn for the tour are. Well, I’m here to share just a couple the secrets to give you a taste of what is to come on your tour:
- Hopkins has 2 sets of colors. Academic and Athletic. The academic colors are sable (or black) and gold, but the athletic colors are Blue, Black, and White. This was because when Princeton was a frequent opponent of Hopkins for many sports, the colors became confused due to Princeton’s orange and black.
- When constructed, the engineers for the MSE Library did not take into account the weight of the books (non-Hopkins engineers of course), so the library sank into the ground. This issue has since been fixed. – One parent once needed me to reassure her that the library is now structurally sound.
- Hopkins houses many artifacts including a mummy.
- Our homecoming is moved to the spring semester to coincide with the lacrosse season. Our lacrosse team has been one of the best in the country since its inception.
- Daniel Craig was on campus for the filming of the movie The Invasion and it’s rumored that he got the call that he would be the next James Bond while on the Hopkins campus.
If you ever get a chance to visit campus, make sure to hop on one of the great tours given by the Blue Key guides (typically at 11 AM and 2 PM on weekdays).