Nestled next to the Sculpture Gardens of the Baltimore Museum of Art—fit with servers holding trays of fizzy drinks, tables made with white linens, and a heated tent draped with strings of soft lights—members of the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2019 mingled, chatted about politics or their futures, and listened to a mix of Top 40 and tropical house music.
Friday night's Spring Garden Party is a sophomore tradition that has no formal program. It is simply a night for sophomores to celebrate their class and connect with fellow Blue Jays.
"It's just a time for us to get the entire class together," said Ash Panakam, a public health studies major and sophomore class senator. "[To] talk to each other, have a good time, create connections, re-kindle old friendships."
The chilly weather put a damper on the outdoor portion of the event, but students gathered in Gertrude's to eat a variety of gourmet foods and watch a light performance by Johns Hopkins Entertainers Club. Music was provided by HopJays.
"I always think having conversations over food is a good way to enjoy the night and meet new people," Panakam said.
The menu included pulled pork and beef sliders; macaroni and cheese; chicken tacos; veggie dumplings; a fig, onion jam, goat cheese, and arugula flatbread; roasted garlic hummus with grilled pita; and more. The signature drink was a grapefruit ginger spritzer garnished with lime.
Aaron Rutledge, JHU's assistant director of Second Year Experience, said that the Spring Garden Party offers a chance for students to feel connected, especially before beginning finals.
"I think a time for them to just decompress, be together with their peers, relax, and be social, is for me … what I want them to get out of it," Rutledge said.