Over 300 sophomores turned out for an upscale Spring Garden Party at Gertrude’s Restaurant at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Thursday night. The event was hosted by the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Sophomore Class Council.
The party, which was held both inside the restaurant and in the outdoor statue garden, featured an assortment of free appetizers, entrees, desserts, a DJ and non-alcoholic drinks. In a cocktail party-esque fashion, waiters carried trays of food and drinks around the venue throughout the night.
Sophomore Class President Anna Du explained the purpose of the event.
“Every class council on SGA gets an allocated amount of funding every year to put on a big event that essentially facilitates class interaction, class dynamic and class cohesion,” Du said. “And for the freshmen, that event is essentially High Table, but for sophomores, juniors and seniors, they have a little bit more room to plan and organize and decide what they want to do for the class.”
Both this year’s and last year’s Sophomore Class Councils decided to use the funding to hold an event at Gertrude’s. Du said while that fact made the planning process easier it also led to some unforeseen complications.
“We didn’t expect so many people to show up. We budgeted and planned for maximum 300 people,” Du said.
Du said the council thought budgeting for 300 people was actually a generous estimate.
“That’s one of [SGA’s] higher standards I would say because it’s not easy to get 300 people to come out to any event,” she said. “Last year, they didn’t have 300 people show up… We set the bar high for ourselves and were able to surpass that mark.”
Du estimated that about 350-370 students attended throughout the night. No one was admitted after 9:30 p.m. since the event was already at maximum capacity, so Du said the turnout could have been even higher had there been more space.
The main complication of having such a high turnout was a shortage of food and drinks and limited wait staff. Du said that she will advise future Sophomore Class Councils to make the event a buffet-style dinner.
Du said she was pleased by the high turnabout.
“I was really excited that so many people came,” Du said. “It was great to see people take a break from studying… Obviously we made the dress code like dressy-casual, but I saw people there that came straight from athletic practices in their gym clothes and whatnot. But it was just so great to see them, that they made the effort to come.”
Du said the Sophomore Class Council had considered other locations for the party such as the National Aquarium, where the 2013-14 Sophomore Class Council hosted its event, but ultimately decided it would be more convenient for students if the party were held closer to campus.
Sophomore Julia Wargo enjoyed the party.
“The atmosphere was really lovely: there were strings of lights and water features outside near the sculpture garden. The food was also delicious, and it was a welcome opportunity to get to see such a large portion of the sophomore class at one time,” Wargo wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
However, Wargo did think there was room for improvement.
“The food distribution system could have been handled better and many people weren’t able to sample the full menu, and the music could have been slightly more upbeat,” she said.
Sophomore Sandra Gomez Romero echoed the sentiment.
“I thought the decoration was beautiful; most people agreed on that. The place was nice and had a classy atmosphere,” she wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “The only problem was that there were very few waiters and waitresses, so most people started to complain that they weren’t able to get any bite from the food offered, so people started leaving pretty early.”