Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
January 26, 2023

University to offer extra credit for help building student center

By FAE LING | April 1, 2022

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COURTESY OF CLAIRE BADREAU

Failing your classes? The University has the solution for you!

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. 

In an email to the student body, University President Ronald J. Daniels announced that the University will be hiring students to assist in the construction of the student center on campus. In exchange, these students will be compensated with extra credit points for their classes.

The administration made this decision after many upperclassmen voiced their frustrations on not being able to enjoy the student center, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2024 after current juniors graduate.

“We want to show our students that we are listening to their concerns,” the administrators wrote. “This is our way of including students more in the ongoing work on campus.”

Before starting work, students must apply and be screened by the construction team. Those who are interested must complete a physical examination to ensure that they have the means to participate in the construction work.

According to Head of Clark Construction Bob Builder, students must be able to lift at least 50 pounds and attain a license to work with hazardous materials before being considered for work. 

“We are grateful that the administration is increasing our team numbers to finish this project as efficiently as possible,” he said in an interview with The News-Letter. “We are a bit apprehensive that there will not be enough Hopkins students that can meet our physical requirements. Hopefully, the athletes come through.”

Because students have classes and extracurricular activities during the day, only night shifts will be made available to them. Builder highlighted that this will greatly speed up the process since the construction team stops work at night.

Applications will open on April 15, and students who are hired have the option to start during the summer or fall semester. 

Administrators from the Office of Miscommunications explained why the University is only allowing students to work at night in an email to The News-Letter.

“We are well aware of the grind culture here at Hopkins,” they wrote. “We figured that since students were up late studying at Brody Learning Commons anyway and clearly care about their grades, we could give them the option to get some fresh night air while earning extra credit. Really, it’s a double win for them.”

They also emphasized that the administration wanted to ensure that this new work opportunity would not distract students from their academics during the day.

Ophelia Payne, a psychology professor who specializes in social interactions, shared the faculty’s initial apprehensions about agreeing to provide extra credit points for manual labor. According to her, professors are concerned that the construction work would be considered a free pass for students.

Despite this, after several faculty members went on a field trip through Brody and saw the disheartening state of the students’ late-night grind, they all agreed that the student center is necessary.

Payne discussed this realization.

“We realized that Brody is definitely not the student center that Hopkins students need to rejuvenate and enjoy life,” she said. “We did not realize the students’ dire need for one until now, and we lend our support toward finishing the construction faster.”

However, in an interview with The News-Letter, junior Heather Fones, who lives at Nine East 33rd, stressed that continuing construction into the night is not ideal.

“There are already so many sounds that keep me up every night, from ambulance and firetruck sirens to dogs barking,” she said. “Plus, the walls in my apartment are too thin, and we directly face the construction site. The additional work hours are just going to add even more noise pollution in this area.”

Senior Whitney Lyfting, president of the bodybuilding club, is disheartened that Hopkins did not offer this sooner. Since she is graduating, she does not feel compelled to apply for this project.

“I would have loved to help out and put my muscles to good use. Almost every college in the U.S. has a student center, so it’s about time that Hopkins has one too,” she said. “But I’m leaving, so this still does not benefit me. But whatever... Peace out, Hopkins!”

According to her, members of the bodybuilding club are looking forward to taking part in this endeavor, though they are a bit concerned about the late working hours.

Sophomore Albert Newton is excited by this new opportunity, citing his failing grades in Physics as a reason in an interview with The News-Letter.

“I’m not going to lie; this semester has been tough on my physics grades with exams being in person again,” he said. "I really do need the extra credit, and I’ve also been meaning to go to the [Ralph S. O’ Connor Center for Recreation and Well-Being] since bulking season is approaching. This work seems like the perfect way for me to achieve both goals.”

He also expressed his eagerness to use the different construction equipment, such as operating the forklift and drilling with the jackhammer.

Newton’s mother, however, reached out to The News-Letter separately to voice her concerns on the University’s decision. Before her son applies, she wants to ensure that the administration will remain liable for any accidents that may occur. 

“I do not know why Hopkins would allow such a thing. It just seems very irresponsible of them. As a parent, my number one priority is making sure that my son is safe,” she said. “Unfortunately, my son is 19 and does not need my consent to engage in such reckless behavior.”

She threatened to sue Hopkins in case any harm comes to her son.

The administrators assured that all students will remain supervised when they are on the construction site. According to them, the University has made arrangements with Clark Construction to send a few additional project managers at night.

“God forbid an accident happens, Hopkins will be in hot water. The last thing we would want is a lawsuit,” they wrote. “This is a situation that we will definitely be avoiding by implementing additional safety measures and precautions during the night shifts.”

Despite the safety issues, the administrators remained adamant that this decision was made for the benefit of the Hopkins community in order to promote a healthier work-life balance.

“Our vision is for the new student center to be a social place for all members of our community to interact and relax together outside of academia,” they wrote. “By engaging students in the construction project and getting them out of Brody, we are merely setting the tone for a new campus culture that we hope to create.”


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