Freshman feet will still be wet. A chill could be in
the air. Still, no reason not to throw a big party. While
details will be forthcoming, the date is set for the
university's inaugural Fall Festival, a three-day
celebratory event to which the entire Johns Hopkins
community is invited.
The fledgling event's steering committee, a group that
formed this past fall, envisions a carnival-like atmosphere
on the Homewood campus featuring games, activities and
The festival will kick off on Friday, Oct. 1, with an
afternoon cookout and culminate on Sunday, Oct. 3, with a
large breakfast held in the Glass Pavilion of Levering
Ralph Johnson, associate dean of student life and
chair of the event's steering committee, said that the
Commission on Undergraduate Education's final report
detailed the need for more community-oriented events, so
the timing seemed right to institute this festival. The
idea is to create an occasion that will enhance school
spirit, help build a sense of community and become a
Members of the Fall Festival
steering committee, from the left: Eric Beatty, Oluwakemi
Ajide, James Almond, Ralph Johnson, Ira Young, Kristin
McJenkins and Leo Weil. All faculty, staff and students
interested in helping to plan activities for the event are
invited to an open meeting that will be held at 4:30 p.m.
on Wednesday in the Glass Pavilion.
PHOTO BY HPS/WILL KIRK
While the event will share some traits with the
Fair, the Fall Festival will be smaller in scale and
targeted to just the university population.
"We want to build a sense of pride in Johns Hopkins at
the beginning of the academic year," Johnson said. "The
main focus is enhancing the sense of community here. Many
of the activities and games will be centered around
bringing students, faculty and staff together."
Susan Boswell, dean of students, said that Fall
Festival is part of the university's effort to build on the
fun and excitement that students have during
"Too often in the past we have heard from students
that there is so much packed into
that it's a real letdown when it's over," Boswell said.
"Having a campuswide event just a few weeks into the
semester is a great way to give the freshmen an opportunity
to get to know lots of other students early on. We have
high hopes that the Fallnighter will become a
The featured stretch of the festival has been dubbed
the Fallnighter to encompass all activities scheduled
between Saturday afternoon and into early Sunday
Johnson said that the bookends of the event, the
cookout and breakfast, are set in stone. The task of the
committee for the remainder of the spring term is to
brainstorm ideas and nail down the full spate of
To that end, the committee will hold an open meeting
at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, in the Glass Pavilion.
Johnson said that anyone who wants to learn more about the
festival or join one of the planning group's subcommittees
is encouraged to attend. The subcommittees are publicity,
logistics, student organization involvement, faculty/staff
involvement, special events and fund raising.
A list of activities already being considered includes
a campuswide scavenger hunt, sack races, an outdoor movie,
open mic night, a headliner comedy act and television game
show parodies. Many of the activities will take place in
and around Levering Plaza, Johnson said.
"The idea is to have as many sequential and
simultaneous activities going as we can to attract the
largest number of people," Johnson said. "We will also have
team-oriented competitions and events in which the teams
need to have student, faculty and staff representation. We
want people to come away saying they had a lot of fun, but
also that they got to know people in our community and
maybe broke down a barrier or two. And we certainly want
students to feel really good about their choice to come to
A varsity football game and men's and women's soccer
matches are scheduled for that weekend, and Johnson said
the committee is trying to tie the games into the
The committee hopes to decide on a tentative schedule
of events by the end of the current term, with Aug. 1 as
the target date for finalizing them.
Johnson, who attended the University of Alabama as an
undergraduate, said he fondly recalls his school's fall
festival, the Red Eye, and wants Hopkins students to share
"I can tell you that the students we are already
working with are very excited about this festival," he
said. "They can't wait."
To join the Fall Festival planning committee, contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-516-2224.