Hopkins students celebrated the first annual HOPtoberfest last week, which is comprised of a series of events and festivities extending from Tuesday, Oct. 1 through Sunday, Oct. 6.
HOPtoberfest was sponsored by the Hopkins Parents Fund and directed through the Office of the Dean of Student Life.
The executive board was comprised of eight student leaders from different groups, including the Student Government Association (SGA), the Hopkins Organization for Programming (HOP), the Resident Advisory Board (RAB), Greek Life and Orientation, along with Coordinator of Campus Programs Janet Kirsch.
“First, we were interested in rebranding what was formerly known as Fall Fest into something that was more unique to Hopkins,” Brandie Morris, the executive chair of HOPtoberfest, wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “We wanted to give students something different than the norm to look forward to.”
The change in name was well received.
“HOPtoberfest is a better name than Fall Fest,” junior Jocelyn Hwang said. “It has so much more school spirit associated with it.”
Freshman Sami Lindgren agreed.
“HOPtoberfest sounds like Octoberfest, where everyone’s excited about October and fall,” she said.
HOPtoberfest activities kicked off on Tuesday with free coffee in the Breezeway and a pumpkin patch on the Freshman Quad.
Other events included Battle of the Classes, Junior Class BBQ, Dessert Happy Hour and Freshman Pumpkin Carving Picnic, sponsored by the Senior, Junior and Sophomore Student Councils and the RAB, respectively. HOPtoberfest shirts with class years printed on the back were handed out during the events.
“The class events were extremely popular, and the shirts disappeared from each class in less than half an hour,” Kyra Toomre, executive secretary of the SGA, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
“I liked that there were class events,” junior Woojin Kim said. “But I think they should’ve changed the color of the shirt if they were making it distinct by class, so blue for seniors, black for juniors, white for sophomores and gold for freshmen.”
Toomre hoped that HOPtoberfest would increase school spirit.
“[HOPtoberfest] is meant to create a sense of Hopkins pride and class togetherness while providing fun fall activities for students,” Toomre said.
Relieving the stress of midterms was one of the main goals of the initiative.
“I believe that it’s important that come this time of year, students still feel Hopkins pride in the midst of midterms, so we wanted to provide an atmosphere that offered stress relief and a celebration of fall,” Morris wrote.
Freshman Philip Lin agreed with Morris.
“It was good opportunity for Johns Hopkins students, who are generally stressed about academics, to relax and hang out with their friends with distracting activities,” Lin said.
Midnight Breakfast and Sunday Sundaes were Fall Fest traditions; however, HOPtoberfest also introduced new events, such the zip-line, Battle of the Classes, Johnny’s Orchard, the Baltimore’s Best pizza party and individual class events — all planned and sponsored by different student groups and organizations.
“The turnout was much higher than it was last year for Fall Fest. Both the pizza party and Johnny’s Orchard ran out of food and giveaways much faster than expected,” Toomre said, referring to Baltimore’s Best pizza party, which featured free pizza from all over the city, and the event in Levering Courtyard consisting of making caramel apples and Build-a-Bear.
Though many Hopkins students enjoyed HOPtoberfest and believed it was a good way of promoting school spirit, one problem students pointed out was the lack of advertisements for specific events.
“I wish I had a schedule of all the events,” freshman Michael Mow said. “I didn’t know about events, like Midnight Breakfast, until they were happening, or until they were over.”
However, students’ reception of HOPtoberfest was positive overall.
“It was great and raised our morale, especially with the freebies, ” freshman Lani Chung said.
Morris also viewed the event as a success.
“People seemed enthusiastic about our new events as well as the more traditional ones,” Morris wrote.
Toomre hopes to build on this success for future HOPtoberfest events.
“Next year, people will know what to expect and hopefully there will be more buzz leading up to the week,” Toomre said.
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