At the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Tuesday, the group outlined the last two weeks before winter break and new ideas for the spring semester, in addition to discussing the potential implications of adding more NCAA Division I athletic teams.
Officers discussed the prospect of Hopkins moving some of its athletic teams, such as men’s soccer, up to Division I. Freshman Class President Alex Koren spoke with Associate Director of Athletics Mike Mattia this week about the possibility.
Koren explained in the meeting that Mattia said the University is interested in moving soccer up to Division I, but that it is not currently financially viable.
“If there is a men’s D1 soccer team, there has to be a correlating women’s team,” Koren said.
Many members of the SGA felt that moving more sports up to Division I would help increase school spirit in the fall.
“Having more Division I games would increase school spirit,” Koren said. “If there were more spirit in the fall, it would give the freshmen a greater connection to athletics and the school. Lacrosse occurs too late in the year for freshmen to feel that connection.”
“Having a D1 sport would get the students more excited during the fall. If you make a habit of going to games on Saturday on campus you will keep that tradition going for years to come,” Executive President Moses Song said.
Junior Class Senator Zoe Cohen agreed that having more Division I teams would increase school spirit.
“As sophomores and juniors know, the fall is not as cool or as fun as the spring. Perhaps bringing fall athletics up to Division I would change that,” Cohen said.
Having more Division I teams would also remove some of the pressure from the lacrosse team.
“The lacrosse team is its own unit, and by even increasing one more team [to Division I], it would alleviate some of the pressure of the lacrosse team,” sophomore Class President, Destiny Bailey, said. “I think it is a great idea.”
One problem that could hinder Hopkins from bringing more teams up to Division I is lack of student attendance at sporting events.
“The biggest problem is that no one wants to attend games, so from an institutional viewpoint, why put money into [having more Division I teams] if no one will attend games,” Senior Class Senator Hassan Yasin said.
Various SGA members expressed their concern about creating a Division I environment at Hopkins.
“We could never be a Division I team if we only have 50 people attending a soccer game,” Schupper said.
Additionally, having more Division I teams could change the reputation of the school. “When we think of Hopkins, we think of research and medicine,” Schupper said. “If we put a lot of money into athletics, it might take something away from academics; they’ll have to be some budget cuts.”
They also continued last week’s discussion on Project Chi.
Executive Vice President Alex Schupper spoke to the group about recent changes and updates regarding Project Chi, a spring event that will bring a musical performer to campus. The HOP has decided to co-sponsor the event, along with SGA and the Interfraternity Council (IFC), and will allocate $5,000 of its money towards the event.
“The HOP has more concert experience because they are the ones who put on the big concerts, so they are really good about contracting artists, setting up the stage and production,” Schupper said.
The SGA also discussed new initiatives for the upcoming semester. This week Cohen met with the Director of Student Health and Wellness, Alain Joffe, about increasing student accessibility to condoms and STI testing.
“We are trying to increase access to free condoms on campus, and to increase the percentage of students who get STI testing in addition to the percentage of students getting the flu shot,” Cohen said.
One idea the group came up with during the meeting was to have SGA members get tested for STIs at a Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) event.
“Having SGA lead by example by lining up to get tested will make people feel more comfortable about getting tested,” Cohen said.
The SGA also addressed a new tumblr page: “Johns Hopkins is the Worst”, that has seen a recent increase in interest by many students. Senior Class Senator Jeremy Orloff had the idea to make another tumblr, which could be called “Johns Hopkins is the Best”, to create a more positive energy on campus. The group wants to attract students to the site by creating humorous memes to promote more school spirit and unity at a very stressful time of the year.
They also discussed the potential approval of two student groups on campus: College Suds and Magical Arts Initiative. College Suds would pick up and deliver students’ laundry to their dorm rooms, but give the laundry to a third party cleaners to do the actual washing. One concern for the group is that it will compete with the already existing Blue Jay Cleaners. The other group, Magical Arts Initiative, would teach members magic tricks, and put on performances for campus.