Hopkins’s annual Step Up Week returned to the Homewood campus this week to commemorate and inspire philanthropy.
The week is coordinated by the the Step Up Committee, which consists of both students and faculty members in the Office of Alumni Relations. Seniors Louisa Drake and Marni Aronson stood as this year’s co-chairs of the committee.
“The mission of Step Up is to educate students about how philanthropy impacts student life at Johns Hopkins. We are trying to teach students to appreciate philanthropy and giving back to your school and appreciate what the alumni have done for our students by giving back to the school and how it can enrich the student experience here,” Drake said.
Step Up defines philanthropy at Johns Hopkins as the desire to promote the welfare of the Johns Hopkins community, expressed especially by the generous donation of time, talent and money to a good cause.
Step Up Week’s events this year were filled with free giveaways and service opportunities. The week was kicked off Saturday with a Homecoming Barbecue and Pre-Game rally on the Freshmen Quad. The following day, students gathered on the Beach to celebrate with the Step Up Launch Party.
On “Meaningful Monday,” students came together on the Decker Quad to write personalized thank you cards to people who donated money to Johns Hopkins while enjoying burritos from Chipotle.
Tuesday’s event allowed for students to learn about the history of philanthropy at Johns Hopkins through a Step Up board game set up in the Levering Courtyard.
Step Up Week continued on Wednesday with an MSE study break on the Brody Learning Commons Tyler Terrace. While learning about the history of the Sheridan Libraries, students were able to enjoy free snacks, coffee and massages from the Stressbusters, an organization run through the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Education and Wellness.
To celebrate the 80,245 recorded hours of community service performed by Johns Hopkins undergraduate students during the fall semester, Step Up plans to provide free smoothies and an opportunity to create comfort bags for young patients at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center on the Beach today at noon.
And to celebrate the final event of the week, Step Up will be hosting Penny Wars this Friday in the Levering Courtyard, where the different classes will compete among themselves as to which class can donate the most change.
“Hopkins was founded on a $7 million gift. Most students don’t know that, and they don’t understand that without philanthropy, there wouldn’t even be a Johns Hopkins today,” Aronson said.
Aronson went on to elaborate that much of the benefits that students enjoy here on campus, whether they are student life programs or the new Brody Learning Commons, are direct results of philanthropy.
“We have unique opportunities here that not many people in the world get. We are privileged to get this great education. So it is only fair that we recognize how lucky we are to be here and appreciate the gifts that allowed for this school to happen,” freshmen Sally Minn, who attended Monday’s event, said.
This year marks the Step Up Week’s third year of existence. However, according to Drake, while Step Up Week is relatively new, it has already garnered a significant presence on campus that is only growing over time.
“As the years have gone on, people have recognized it more, and they understand our events more. And now they have heard of our events and they come to them more than they had come in the beginning,” Drake said. “So it has definitely gotten more popular over time.”