Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

Spring Fair will be held via Zoom

By KAY ZÜMMER | April 1, 2020



Who needs to drink on the actual Beach when you can just change your background on Zoom?

APRIL FOOL’S: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fool’s edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious about its reporting.

The month of March was pretty bad for Hopkins students, from campus closing to commencement being cancelled, but there has emerged a singular bright spot in the darkness of COVID-19. It was announced today, April 1, that Spring Fair will take place this year via Zoom. Students will be able to access the only event that makes Hopkins worth attending via a link sent to their student emails.

The Spring Fair Zoom session will run continuously from Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19, and will feature modified versions of its classic activities, like the Beer Garden and headliner concert. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, Dean of Student Life Smita Ruzicka noted that the skeleton of Spring Fair will still be there.

“Students will have just as much fun this year as usual,” Ruzicka said. “Heck, it might even be more fun since you’re all addicted to technology anyways.”

The event will be organized using the Breakout Room feature of Zoom, with each different meeting room containing one classic Spring Fair location. 

Organizers explained how they plan to help students feel like they’re attending in Baltimore. Thea Sims described how the group was innovating to improve the Zoom experience.

“In each Breakout Room, students will be able to select from various Spring Fair themed zoom backgrounds to help them feel like they’re on campus. We’re planning to have the beach, the President’s Garden, Rams Head Live! and the alley between Phi Psi and what was formerly known as Wawa,” Sims said in a Zoom interview with The News-Letter. 

There will be modifications to some of the most popular parts of Spring Fair, including the Beer Garden and headliner concert. Instead of the typical selection of a variety of beers, the Beer Garden will serve only Corona this year. 

Chief Beer-Buyer for Spring Fair Sam Adams explained the reason for this change.

“Due to my expert negotiation skills as an entrepreneurship and management minor and the fact that my dad owns the company, I was able to secure a sick discount on Corona beer,” Adams said in an interview with The News-Letter

Students will be able to order beer through the Zoom platform by raising their hand and typing their credit card numbers into the public chat. The beer will be sanitized and shipped to their residences, so they can enjoy an authentic Spring Fair beer. 

“We’re going to be selling the Corona at the great price of one dollar per can, plus $21.95 shipping and handling for it to be delivered to students' homes,” Adams said. “We know there is a demand for verified Beer Garden drinks, so we will be putting the blue check mark from Twitter on each can we ship.”

There will also be a concert that students can attend via Zoom, but due to short notice scheduling, this year’s headliners will be the University’s own student a cappella groups. A junior involved in Spring Fair, Chayse Clowdt, explained that one member of their staff would be in charge of ensuring that all student microphones remained on mute, except the various a capella singers. 

“Yeah, we just gave a freshman the credentials to run that room. They’ll be in charge of muting the five attendees of the concert to ensure all 50 a cappella performers are able to break the microphones on their laptops,” Clowdt said in an interview with The News-Letter. 

Unlike in past years, attendance for Spring Fair will be recorded and GPA boosts will be awarded for participation. Provost Sunil Kumar explained the reasoning behind this decision.

“This experience will be graded for participation. We are hoping that digital Spring Fair can continue as a tradition that Hopkins students cherish as much as they did when it was just an excuse to get drunk on the beach,” Kumar said.

Most student feedback has been positive. Senior and D-level resident Anta Socielle expressed support for the change in an interview with The News-Letter

“This will be the first time I’m able to experience Spring Fair, since I really don’t ever leave my cubicle in MSE (Milton S. Eisenhower Library). I’m happy that the University is finally thinking about the needs of hardworking students like me,” Socielle said.

Junior Mary Jane Kuschner explained that she did not see the changes as fundamentally altering the experience of the campus tradition.

“As long as I can get high and not do my homework, that counts as Spring Fair for me,” Kush said in an interview with The News-Letter.

Aside from the inevitable technical difficulties that will result from the entire student body joining a single Zoom meeting, the organizers of Spring Fair and the University are confident that the event will be a success. 

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