On Monday, Oct. 15th, the Hopkins Organization for Programming (the HOP), held its first annual Casino Night, complete with blackjack, roulette, poker, official tablecloths, T-Shirts, raffles and unlimited mocktails.
The idea was conceived of by junior and HOP member John Hunt during the spring of last year.
“We’d never done this exact event before, but we just had Oceans 11 as one of our films and [Hunt] thought it would be cool if we could do something along the lines of a casino,” senior and HOP co-chair Randy Callen said.
Entrance to Casino Night was completely free.
“We keep our events free so students will better attend them,” senior and HOP member Randy Bell said. “We get the money from the SGA and they get their money through other channels. [They give us] a budget every fall, and at the beginning of the year we organize how much is going to each individual event for things like props and drinks...It’s a pretty good budget and I think it’s spent wisely.”
In lieu of money, goods at the event were paid for via poker chips.
Raffle tickets were sold for twenty chips each and iconic HOP club T-shirts were sold for thirty. The winner of the raffle received a $150 gift certificate to Le Petit Louis, a high-end French restaurant about 10 minutes north of Homewood campus.
Because the HOP is granted such a lofty budget, they feel more obliged to provide students with quality entertainment and provide an alternative to both studying and partying hard. With thier events, they hope to strike a happy medium.
“There are a lot of organizations with big budgets like [the HOP] and I think the responsibility falls on us to ensure that our image is well spent extraneous to academic circumstances...I feel like Hopkins is very lackluster in terms of non-academic extracurricular involvement and I feel like we can always have more basic fun events like a casino night,” Bell said. “Our mission is to get people out of the library after a hard days work give them something to do and something they can enjoy, and show them that they can have fun in moderation...you don’t have to go to Greek Life, but you don’t have to stay in and cram either.”
While Casino Night was a low-key event, drawing only a couple of hundred students total to the MPR Monday night, executive members of the club were nonetheless impressed.
“[Low turnouts] are something we have to deal with sometimes because we are sometimes seen as an alternative club,” Bell said. “We don’t expect to have tons of people at small events but at fall concerts and co-sponsored events like Seth Myers and Aziz Ansari with the MSE Symposium we’ll draw a full house...We didn’t expect 6000 people with everyone coming back from Fall Break, but the people here were truly fantastic.”
The HOP encourages all students to attend all of the free events that they put on throughout the year, such as the Friday Night Films and concerts, as well as those that they co-sponsor, like Seth Meyers.
“We offer friendly, sober activities; very diverse events all year round, and we strongly encourage students to check us out,” Bell said.
Their next event is a Pep Rally tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. at the Athletic Circle in front of the Rec Center.