More than 1,000 new Johns Hopkins students convened Sunday for a picnic of local fare—including crabcakes, Utz potato chips, Berger cookies, and Taharka Bros. ice cream—after embarking on a daylong excursion into Baltimore to learn about the communities and the people who live here.
As if their first weekend of college weren't busy enough already.
"There is so much to discover and so much going on in this city, and we really want students to feel like this is their home," said Tiffany Sanchez, associate dean of student engagement. "We started Baltimore Day as a way to introduce students in just a tiny way—just a little snippet that shows them Baltimore from the perspective of someone who lives here as a resident, but also as someone who really enjoys being here. As we've grown through the program, we're really starting to take students more into neighborhoods to visit with locals and folks who are invested in the local community. And that's when things change, when the students start to see Baltimore as a place they can really feel comfortable in."
The immersive, city-wide tours included popular tourist attractions such as Camden Yards, the Bromo Seltzer Tower, Federal Hill Park, and Fort McHenry. The groups also toured the Station North Arts District; Mount Vernon and the Walters Art Museum; the Shot Tower, Little Italy, the Flag House, and Mustang Alley's Bowling; Fell's Point; Druid Hill Park and Hampden; the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture; and the Jewish Museum and Civil War Museum.
The students finished the day with a picnic on the university's Homewood campus while speakers from Stoop Storytelling talked about making Baltimore home.
"I am super excited to be in Baltimore," said Sharon Truong, a freshman from California who wants to study molecular and cellular biology. "I'm a lover of museums, so I'm very attracted to all the art museums near Hopkins and around Baltimore. And you can see such a blend of cultures in Baltimore—I love how the city is a melting pot."
Added Advika Rajapakse, a new student from Dartmouth, Massachusetts: "Getting to know the areas around Johns Hopkins makes me feel more a part of the atmosphere here."