Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
September 25, 2022

How you can get involved in Baltimore

By GRETA MARAS | September 1, 2022

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When you enroll as a Hopkins student, you don’t just happen to live in the city of Baltimore. You are now a resident of Baltimore. Your main focus is to earn that degree, of course, but hopefully you have aspirations to engage with others both on and off campus. In the same way you devote attention to the happenings in your home’s community, you have a responsibility to be respectful and attentive to the city that you will call home for the next four years. This is not only a responsibility; it is also a privilege. 

To get to know Baltimore, you should start with reading and subscribing to local newspapers. While we surely hope you will stay tuned to The News-Letter for information on campus and around the city, it is crucial to get a broad perspective on the news throughout the entire city. The Baltimore Beat is a newly renewed Black-led newspaper exclusively funded by donations that is free to read, and The Baltimore Sun and The Baltimore Banner offer some free content without a subscription needed. 

Baltimore is a city with a rich arts and culinary scene, beautiful recreation spots and a thriving sense of community. There is no better way to get to know the city than by going out and exploring new places. Not to be too shameless, but you can stay tuned to The News-Letter’s Leisure section for plenty of reviews and recommendations on where to eat and what museums and shows to check out. For unparalleled restaurant reviews, follow @CharmCityTable on Instagram or Twitter

We’re blessed with two annual Restaurant Weeks, one in the summer and one in the winter, during which restaurants all across the city offer menus for fixed and usually reduced prices. They’re the best weeks of the whole year to be a Baltimore resident. Check out my past Restaurant Week favorites to get some inspiration.

In the same vein, there are a plethora of exciting city-wide events to look forward to each year. The Baltimore Running Festival will occur on Oct. 15, 2023. If you’re not a fan of running for fun, you can cheer on the half marathon and marathon runners as they pass by our campus. In the spring you can romp around Mount Vernon at the Flower Mart, which is one of many street vendor-style events throughout the year. The Baltimore Banner’s Events Calendar is an immensely helpful resource to find new events.

While you should absolutely be excited to explore the city, your presence as a Hopkins student in Baltimore is complicated by a long history of institutional exploitation by Hopkins, which you can read more about in our paper and others. You should be mindful of this not just as a student but as a person who should get to know the city outside of the Hopkins context. Regardless of your major or curricular interests, I believe that every student should be civically engaged in Baltimore in any way that suits you. 

There are endless opportunities to plug into the city’s vast landscape of nonprofits and community organizations. For emphasis, you should be integrating yourself, not inserting yourself. Listen to the people in the community who are already doing the work you admire and determine how you can best apply yourself to further their missions. One of the best places a first year can start is Baltimore First, which offers a variety of service sites, including local schools, community gardens and resource shelters. 

If you enjoy tutoring or working with kids, volunteer through the Center for Social Concern’s Tutorial Project or Charm City Science League. If you want to assist with food insecurity, sign up to serve meals at Manna House or Paul’s Place, two of the many charities in the city. You can also volunteer to restock the B’more Community Fridge, a completely free fridge and pantry that is stocked entirely by donations. 

However you choose to engage with Baltimore, being a respectful representative of Hopkins should always be at the front of your mind. Class of 2026, I hope you have an incredible Hopkins experience and that your time in Baltimore is a wonderful chapter in your story.

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