The Hopkins Alumni Association held the annual Young Alumni Weekend (YAW) from Friday, Oct. 6 to Saturday, Oct. 7. Throughout the weekend, alumni returned to Hopkins to reconnect with friends and meet with current Hopkins students.
Events included hangouts at local bars, a tent party and the football game on Saturday. Other alumni groups, such as the Pride Affinity Group and International Studies Affinity Group, held their own gatherings.
Pat Conklin, senior associate director at the Office of Alumni Relations, said the weekend was extremely successful, particularly the Blue Jay Takeover at the Pratt Street Ale House.
“It was packed, and it was a great location to host the event,” she said.
The first YAW, which took place in 2006, drew 500 participants. This year’s YAW drew as many as 2500.
Since its inception, the program has grown to include a luncheon, a tailgate and networking programs. However, Conklin explained that things were scaled back slightly this year to make space for the coinciding Parent’s Weekend.
“We wanted to be thoughtful and not use a lot of space on campus,” Conklin said.
This year, networking events took place in off-campus venues. For example, the Pride Affinity Group decided to move their gathering to the Flavor Lounge.
Another event that took place off-campus was the International Studies (IS) happy hour, which took place at Maxie’s Pizza & Bar. It was organized by the International Studies Leadership Council (ISLC) and the International Studies Affinity Group.
Senior Serena Frechter, co-director of ISLC, explained that the event was intended to help both current IS majors and recent alums.
“Since IS such an ambiguous major, [the purpose was] to learn what young alums can do with their major,” Frechter said.
Andrew Austin, a member of the Class of 2015, participated in YAW for the first time to reunite with friends. He added that he never noticed that ISLC planned activities in previous years.
“Maybe this year the marketing was better,” he said. “I’ve never come to an event for IS young alumni, so it was a fun time.”
Some alums found the overlap between YAW and Family Weekend inconvenient. Philip Lin, who graduated last semester, often confused the events for Parents Weekend with those of YAW.
Jared Beekman, member of the Class of 2014, has attended YAW every year, mainly to support Hopkins athletics.
“I haven’t made it around campus much. It’s just good to see friends,” he said.