More than 280 juniors attended the luau-themed Junior Class Inner Harbor Boat Cruise on Thursday night, hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) Junior Class Council.
The event took place on a ship provided by Spirit Cruises, with SGA providing free shuttle transportation to and from campus. The evening included a full dinner buffet and two open dance floors, each with its own DJ.
Junior Class President Syed Hossain commended the joint efforts of the Junior Class Council’s senators Matthew Brown, Liam Haviv, Andrew Phipps, Nick McCormack, Michael Korn and Adelaide Morphett in making the event successful.
“The class council worked hard for this event, which was definitely a success in terms of turnout,” Hossain said. “We capped ticket sales at 300 and sold out. Some students made last-minute decisions not to attend, but we provided them the opportunity to sell their tickets through the event’s Facebook page or the ‘Free and For Sale’ group. The weather also cleared up, making it possible for people to go out on top of the boat and enjoy the view.”
Hossain outlined the main goals of the event, highlighting the importance of promoting class unity and ensuring that classmates have a meaningful connection with Hopkins.
“We had a very diverse group of students attend — people from all different backgrounds, majors — and they got to interact with their peers. It was therefore a successful event in terms of class unity and bonding,” Hossain said. “Our goal as the SGA is to bring students together and make them feel tied to the school. We want them to have a strong sense of identity with Hopkins and not to see it as just an institution they pass through. We want them to be able to make meaningful relationships and have great experiences, and I think having these types of events really helps achieve that.”
Students who attended praised the event for creating a space to mingle with fellow classmates.
“It was great to see friends from the junior class outside of classes and the library,” junior Veronica Kim said. “I think it was a good event to build closer ties with our class — I got to see people I hadn’t seen in a while, had some time to hang out with friends I only saw in classes, and got introduced to some people I hadn’t gotten the chance to meet yet as well.”
Students also emphasized the ability to rekindle ties with other class members.
“I really enjoyed the event more than I thought I would because I got to see a lot of people that I lost contact with over the past two years,” Sara Kang said. “The cruise did make me feel closer to the junior class as a whole.”
However, some felt there was still minimal interaction between groups of students who did not already know each another.
“I don’t think the event helped create a space for inter-class socializing because most people went with their friends and stayed with their friends,” Ashley Lee said. “I don’t think I know of anyone who went outside their friend group. I do think events like these are nice anyway, and I’m glad I attended. My favorite part was definitely the all-you-can-eat food.”
Some students debated the importance of having alcohol at the event. In prior years, the boat cruise included a bar open to students of drinking age. This was the second year the event did not provide alcohol.
Hossain discussed the reasoning behind the council’s decision to hold a non-alcoholic event, explaining it could have a divisive effect, separating those older from those younger than 21.
“We had a lengthy discussion with the school administration,” Hossain said. “Ultimately we decided it would be best to not have alcohol at the event because essentially it would divide students into two layers: those under 21 who were not drinking and those over 21 who were…
So, we decided it would be better to have a dinner buffet. It was definitely a team effort, a team decision between the class council and the administrators — we agreed on it together.”
Another point of concern raised by students was the date of the event.
“I think more of these events would definitely be nice,” Diana Lee said. “It would’ve been nicer if it was on a Friday, though. I had a midterm the next day, but I still went, and I’m glad I did.”
In response, Hossain explained the details of scheduling for the event, emphasizing the fact that a survey to choose the date had been sent out to students beforehand.
“The survey was sent out on Feb. 24, and the boat cruise event itself was announced to students on March 30,” he said. “The date (April 7) was finalized soon after we stopped receiving survey results at which point there were more votes for April 7.”
The boat cruise also doubled as a charity event by partnering with Change for Children, a nonprofit that provides access to clean drinking water wells in the Dominican Republic. There were two ticket options available for the event: one for general admission sold at $15 per person and another for general admission plus a $2 donation to Change for Children sold at $17 per person. In total, the event raised $132 for the organization. In addition to fundraising, by partnering with Change for Children, it helped raise awareness for the issue.
Addressing areas of improvement for future years as well as future events, Hossain stressed the need to try and accommodate a larger portion of the junior class.
“Unfortunately, tickets for the boat cruise sell out every year,” Hossain said. “It is a small ship, and it can’t fit 500 or 600 people. 300 is approximately a fourth of our entire class. Ideally, we would want to do an event where we can get at least 50 percent or more of the class to come together. For next year, I think it would be ideal if we could host a larger event, even just by having a bigger ship to accommodate more students.”