Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 16, 2024

Dialogue necessary to realize ideas

February 7, 2013

During an Intersession class last month, a group of students had the chance to study Baltimore and propose solutions to pressing issues in the community. The class, entitled “B’More: Studying Innovation and Change Through Charm City,” introduced students to recent developments in Baltimore and encouraged them to apply citywide innovation to Homewood. Some of the ideas proposed included a free hugs program, a bike share program and a “Mobile Maintenance” smartphone application.

This page believes that this type of class is beneficial to Hopkins and the Baltimore community, but encourages University administrators to pay more heed to student suggestions.

An active discourse on the problems plaguing the Hopkins community is a welcome and much-needed development. The task of fixing what’s broken on campus often falls to University administrators and outside contractors. Students don’t always have a say in what needs to be fixed and don’t usually know how to fix what’s broken.

Educating students in the process of tackling urban issues and allowing them to localize such knowledge to a college campus will allow them to take a leading role in improving campus life. Such classes create a lens through which to view pressing issues, and provide students with the skills to fix them. Active student reformers have been noticeably absent among undergraduates at Hopkins. Cultivating a breed of young people with ideas and practical solutions can go a long way in bridging the knowledge gap amongst University administrators.

But for these ideas to matter, the University must make an effort to listen to them. In his Ten by Twenty program, President Daniels encourages students to voice their opinions. For those who do have opinions, though, a rare town hall meeting in a crowded lecture hall is hardly the place to share them.

For those who do have ideas, getting in touch with administrators to actually make those ideas reality is often a feat in itself. The administration must create a centralized and streamlined process by which students cannot only voice their opinions, but can also receive a response.

Classes such as this Intersession course are a move in the right direction and would be even more effective if they were offered during the regular semester. This would allow more people to take these classes, creating more solutions to the problems around campus and in Baltimore.

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