Garden party

Sophomore spring soirée: JHU Class of 2019 comes together for annual gathering

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.

Panakam thanked the Hopkins Parents Fund, the Student Government Association, and Second Year Experience for their generous support.