Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 30, 2022

Step Up week, the University’s effort to encourage students to give back to Hopkins both now and after graduation, kicked off on Sunday. The weeklong series of events is being coordinated by JHU Step Up, the student-run group that tries to draw attention on campus to the impact of institutional philanthropy by alumni, parents, students, and other members of the Hopkins community.

“The purpose of the event is to raise awareness and celebrate philanthropy at Johns Hopkins. Not only in regard to money, but also the time that students spend at community service and giving back to Hopkins in other ways,” senior Carolina Hernandez, Step Up committee co-chair, said.

Thus far, the fifth annual Step Up week has offered a range of activities such as a breakfast, a study break and a community service project.

“[This year’s] kick-off is similar to previous years, though last year was the first time we used the photo booth,” Hernandez said. “People really seemed to enjoy it last year, so we brought it back. People can take print outs of their photos, but we also have copies that flash by on a screen throughout our following events.”

Sunday afternoon’s ‘Kick-Off’ on the Beach featured giveaways such as free t-shirts, snacks and ice cream courtesy of the Hopkins Organization for Programming (HOP).

“This is probably our most fun event of the week, since it’s a kick-off to get everyone excited for the week ahead,” Hernandez said. “We definitely expect a lot of students. I’m always surprised how we can come over with lots of boxes of giveaways and have them be gone only a few hours later.”

Most of the event’s attendees were passersby, who said they were glad to find a distraction near the library.

“I would even try advertising in the library in the future,” sophomore Nate Palmquist said. “Like many students, I don’t want to go to the library, so I was looking for an excuse to wait when I saw this event on my way over.”

Tuesday evening’s study break included an exhibit on the library’s Q-Level.

“The library is such a central location, so we tend to get a lot of participants. Through this event, we try to raise awareness for how alumni donations have impacted student lives, specifically focusing on the library. For instance, Brody is one of the biggest and most recent developments, and it’s due to alumni donations,” junior Michelle Edelson, Step Up committee member, said.

The exhibit on Q-Level included photographs and placards displaying information about different aspects of the University. Attendees received free headphones, pens and highlighters for correctly answering questions about the history of philanthropy at Hopkins.

“While this event did happen last year, we’ve tweaked it a bit,” Edelson said. “Last year it was outside on Tyler Terrace, so we had to bring out lights to light the signs up. However, it was still a bit dark, and the wind made them especially difficult to read. This year, since some of the event is in Q-Level, we hoped students would feel more comfortable looking around.”

Many students, especially those who had not seen the campus prior to the construction of landmarks such as the Brody Learning Commons, were surprised by the photographs. 

“The pictures are interesting, and looking back at how the MSE and Brody originally looked is surprising, especially since I’m a freshman. The Step Up members outside are also playing really good music,” freshman Natalie Lindo said.

Other events included Wednesday’s “Smoothies for Service & Totes for Tots,” a service project co-sponsored by the Alumni Association, and ‘Thankful Thursday,” where students had the opportunity to write thank-you notes to donors. According to Step Up, donations from alumni, parents and others support 28 percent of the cost of a Hopkins education.

“The ‘Thankful Thursday’ event, which includes Chipotle, is also more or less the same every year. There would be an outcry if we changed that,” Hernandez said.

New events this year included Monday’s “Rise and Shine Breakfast” and Friday’s “Pigs ‘N Blankets.” The event on Monday encouraged students to consider how Hopkins undergraduates are impacted by scholarships and fellowships from donors.

This year JHU Step Up debuted piggy banks at all of the week’s activities, with each representing an area of campus life that benefits undergraduates. Financial aid, athletics and research were among the areas featured. 

“We’re asking students to donate their change to whichever one they choose, and the one with the most change at the end of the week receives all of the money. The Alumni Association has also offered to match this. We’re using this as a way to show which aspect of Hopkins is most important to undergrads,” Assistant Director of Donor Relations Sarah May Campbell said.

Step Up week will conclude on Saturday with a barbecue before the Homecoming lacrosse matchup between Hopkins and the University of Maryland. 

“Though the week is not over, I think it has been going well. We want people to know about the impact of philanthropy on campus, and that JHU Step Up exists, so even if someone stops for just one minute, I consider it successful if they now know our message,” Edelson said. 

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