Hopkins has a reputation, deserved or not (I think not) as an apathetic school, where students are far more likely to be cramming for Orgo till the wee hours of the morning, than advocating for causes in which they believe. While campus climate certainly can’t be compared to that of a school like Berkeley, Hopkins students do have interests outside the library, and advocacy certainly has a role on campus. One advocacy group about which I know quite a bit -brace yourselves for some shameless self-promotion- is the Hopkins American Partnership for Israel (HAPI). HAPI is a non-partisan group dedicated to promoting and raising awareness about the US-Israel relationship. In the past HAPI has hosted student leadership receptions featuring members of Congress, held panels with notable academics and gone to lobby our elected officials.
While it may not seem like much, HAPI has provided a forum in which I can tangibly contribute to something about which I am very passionate. Luckily, HAPI isn’t the outlier at Hopkins, it’s the norm. From the direct opposite end of the political spectrum-Students for Justice in Palestine, to Hopkins Feminists, Hopkins Republicans, and even organizations fighting for a greener campus (among many other incredible organizations), there are many ways to pursue your non-academic passions at Hopkins. The myth that the Hopkins student spends 22 hours in class/the library, and the other two sleeping couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps what’s most inspiring, is that if you have a passion, something you really care about, you can start your own organization pretty easily. HAPI was founded only a couple of years ago by a group of students who felt passionate about US-Israel relations, and wanted to do something to promote that. Organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine were brought to Hopkins only 2/3 years ago, because people cared about the issues and decided to do something to channel their passion. The New Political Society, a group who’ve brought some incredible speakers to campus, were founded last year!
That’s the real benefit of going to a school where you’re surrounded by brilliant, passionate, minds. People here are driven, if they care about something, they pursue it. If they see a change needs to be made, they work for it. Hopkins students are go-getters, and bring far more to the table than good grades and a love of organic chemistry. Hopkins may not be a traditionally activist campus, but rest assured people care here, and that comes through most of all in our actions.