The Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its first-ever Blue Jay Pride Week from Nov. 13-15 in an effort to encourage school spirit among undergraduates.
The week’s events concluded on Saturday with a tailgate at the Athletic Center, preceding the Hopkins football team’s last home game of the season. Syed Hossain, sophomore class president, said the tailgate was a success, noting that it had between four and five hundred attendees.
“We really wanted the Hopkins students to develop a sort of identity towards Hopkins and to be really excited that they go here,” Hossain said. “Compared to other, state schools who have a lot of school spirit, where a lot of people go to the games — we want to have something similar.”
Many students responded favorably to Blue Jay Pride Week.
“Just having a day for Hopkins gear to build solidarity seems like a good idea,” senior Dongju Lee said, in response to Thursday’s “Rep Your Club Day.” “You get to see who’s in what clubs and what clubs are even out there.”
On “Rep Your Club Day,” the first day of Blue Jay Pride Week, students were encouraged to wear student group apparel in exchange for free donuts, hot chocolate and coffee. Over 250 students participated in the event, according to Hossain.
Following “Rep Your Club Day,” Friday’s “Hopkins Day” asked students to represent the school by wearing Hopkins apparel. That afternoon, SGA handed out Insomnia Cookies and Blue Jay Pride buttons and stickers by Q Level.
“I think it’s great that people are trying to increase spirit at school. We really need that,” sophomore Anna Hasche said. “People are so busy here, it’s nice to have something to encourage you to leave the library and enjoy the full college experience.”
SGA’s Sophomore Class Council started planning Blue Jay Pride Week in early October.
“We wanted to focus on students and really get everyone out to a game together,” Ale Saichin, a sophomore class senator, wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “As a council, we were tired of hearing that Hopkins had no spirit, so we wanted to show every Hopkins student just how much spirit was waiting to be shown.”
Following the Sophomore Class Council’s proposal for Blue Jay Pride Week, the SGA formed an ad hoc Blue Jay Pride Committee to plan future events that promote school spirit.
“That’s just kind of the mission of the SGA,” Hossain said. “The fact that we represent the student body, it’s kind of our implied duty that we have to unite the student body together.”
Some students commented on the timing of the event in light of allegations of a lack of administrative transparency. Saichin noted that this might have affected the event’s attendance.
“I think the student body was feeling a bit raw after the unfolding of events in the past couple of weeks,” Saichin wrote. “[S]o the events like giving away coffee and donuts on a cold November morning was a gesture that many students weren’t expecting, and they were thrilled.”
Saichin also wrote that it was difficult to promote the events on social media because students were posting about their thoughts on the administration and the moratorium on Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) social events.
“I think the event definitely had received less attention than we had anticipated in the months of planning leading up to the game, but it was definitely hard to break through a lot of the social media postings happening in the past few weeks, including the push SGA was making for the successful community forum held on Thursday night,” Saichin wrote.
Many students also said that they were too busy with exams to attend Blue Jay Pride Week events.
“It is difficult to have a time for it, because once midterms start in the semester, they never really let up,” junior Randy Cruz said. “Most students will be busy studying or too exhausted to go to the events. I don’t know if it is possible, but having no major exams, for at least core classes, would make things better and give people more time to consider going.”
Some students said they wished Blue Jay Pride Week had spanned an actual week, rather than only three days.
“It would be cool to have at least some little thing happen every day of the week,” junior Katie Chang said. “Keep reminding the student body the entire week about it, so that even if you miss the first day or two, you still have time to join in on the fun. But that’d be a lot of work on SGA.”
Overall, the organizers were pleased with Blue Jay Pride Week’s turnout, especially considering it was their first time holding the event.
“Our main goal was to have this become a huge event down the road, in three or four years,” Hossain said. “We just wanted to start the tradition.”