What can we do to improve Hopkins culture? It is a constant question in the minds of the Hopkins administration as well as the Student Government Association (SGA). College is supposed to be about having fun and making friends, even if we are here mainly to get a degree.
The Flock is our student section at sports games, and it now has an Instagram run by seniors Danielle Bejar and Elise Ederle. They started this account because they wanted to have bigger crowds at home games. In an interview with The News-Letter, Bejar and Ederle explained their vision for the account.
“It's not for the athletes... It's really for the regular college kid [looking] to have a nice college experience. I come from South Florida, and the University of Florida is huge there. We were trying to think about who is really proud of their school and where that pride comes from. A lot of the time it comes from football or basketball. People come together over sports,” Bejar said.
“[Our goal is to have] all 6,000 undergraduates at games meet people and have a fun community outside of the academics at Hopkins,” Ederle said.
Going to games also benefits your mental health. There are the obvious benefits of taking a break from staring at calculus homework, but you also get to meet people you have not seen before and see sports you may have not heard of before. Just this past weekend there were people at a water polo game who, I assume, have never seen that sport played in person before.
The Flock’s Instagram consistently advertises every home game we have. Yes, that seems like the bare minimum, but I honestly never knew when home games were happening, even though I cover them for The News-Letter. Just letting people know that there’s something happening is always a great first step, and on top of that, they advertise all the giveaways that athletics has but no one really knows about.
In the first football game of the year, Hopkins Athletics gave out 200 shirts. Typically when there are giveaways there are usually leftovers. This time they ran out.
We as a community at Hopkins are at a shifting point. The only people who have experienced a full year of being at Hopkins are seniors. The Flock is one step to helping shift the culture around sports and hopefully Hopkins at large.
Typically, there’s a lot of attendance at the first few home games because freshmen pack the stands right after Orientation Week. With the leaves changing colors and exams coming, I believe that this will finally be the year there will still be packed stands thanks to The Flock.