Calendar Romp! Our intrepid young reporter takes in the diversity of activities across the campuses "The calendar listing has been a central feature of the Gazette since it first hit the street in 1971. Each week, lectures, meetings, concerts, gatherings get entered in our calendars, and most go unattended. So, we jumped on an idea from our intrepid young reporter--a solidly humanities-type fellow, Mike Gluck--to be our eyes and ears on the campuses for one week and report back just what's going on across the university. He attended at least one activity each day for seven days, trying to be as representative as possible. And here's what he found out." By Mike Gluck Once I planned my week so that I wouldn't miss any classes, I was ready to start. I went to 11 events, taking enough notes to write an article that would fill this entire paper. Needless to say, there's a lot I didn't get to, and not everything I got to is reported here. One thing I can tell you is that I was surprised at how many different kinds of fun you can have at Hopkins, national surveys to the contrary. My week began with a rather embarrassing moment. For my first event, I went to the Medical School to check out one of the Dean's Lecture series talks. When it was over, I wanted to know more about the program (since I understood next to nothing in the lecture). So I decided to approach the man who had given the introduction, which was about all I understood. He looked like a nice man, and I thought he would be a good source for my article. "Excuse me," I said, "are you in charge of running this program?" He got a puzzled look on his face and turned to a colleague, then slowly back to me. "I guess you could say that," he replied. I guess you could. Turns out I was speaking with Michael Johns, who happens to be dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. I'm a Writing Sems major. Who knew? Was I embarrassed? Sure. But he wasn't. In fact, Dr. Johns was more than willing to share information, an attitude that exemplified one of the most interesting things I would learn during my romp through the calendar. Monday "Immunologic Mechanisms of Organ Transplant Rejection and Acceptance," a Dean's Lecture by Fred Sanfilippo; Hurd Hall, School of Medicine My mother always said that if I couldn't pronounce something that was on the menu, I probably shouldn't order it. That was good advice then, and it still works today. The slides that the lecturer used had titles such as "F1 and BACKCROSS RATS" and "RENAL ALLOGRAFT SURVIVAL AND IgG RESPONSES TO CLASS I MHC." The television show ER looked like Sesame Street compared to what this guy was talking about. My technical ignorance notwithstanding, I honestly had fun. I saw lots of people in white lab coats and listened to the mechanical chirping of their beepers, neither of which I can do on a regular basis at Homewood. One of the two pianos in the room was being used to support a metal tripod that held one of the projection screens. I wasn't sure what this image said about the relationship between science and the arts, but it gave me something to think about as I pressed on. Tuesday Homewood Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Discussion and Social Group; 18 Gilman, Homewood "You're going where?" "Are you, um..." "Why are you going to that?" These were just some of the responses I got when I told my friends about my plans to attend the weekly gay/lesbian/bisexual discussion group meeting. I guess you could say this was the one event where I was truly out of place, since I didn't fit into any of the categories in the program's title. I learned that the meetings usually attract approximately 20 graduate students, young professionals and (occasionally) faculty. When I was there, discussion topics included the treatment of gays in the U.S. military vs. foreign militaries and the role of same-sex companions at corporate retreats and company picnics. My advice? If you're gay, lesbian or bisexual and you want to talk about related issues, then go to these meetings. Go even if you're just interested in these issues. The members are courteous and intelligent, and a moderator keeps the conversation flowing efficiently. Plus they had cookies. Wednesday The Sidney W. Mintz Lecture, "The Sadness of Sweetness, or the Native Anthropology of Western Cosmology" by Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago; Mudd Hall Auditorium, Homewood I went to this lecture thinking that I'd be able to understand most of it. After all, the main topic dealt with anthropology, which is one of your basic humanities-type subjects. I'm a humanities type of guy. No problem, right? Not quite. About halfway through the speech, the speaker said something about Foucault, and everyone in the room laughed. Except me. I'd like to tell you what the lecture was about, but all I understood was that man is a slave to his needs, which has something to do with Adam's fall from grace. Speaking of man's needs, there was a reception following the talk. It was here that I spoke with History Professor Robert Forster and his wife, Elborg. Professor Forster enjoyed the lecture because it touched upon one of his areas of interest_the Enlightenment. My only enlightenment was that I knew as little about anthropology as I did about the immunological whatevers that I heard about over at the Medical School. But everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves. They probably were enlightened. Thursday Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Symphony Orchestra Series Concert by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra; Friedberg Concert Hall, Peabody Free. Free. Free. Free. Free. Get the point? Most Peabody concerts are, well, you know, free for Hopkins students with ID, according to Peabody director of public information Anne Garside. Even alumni get in for half price, provided they show their Alumni Association membership card. I won't try to critique the actual performance, since I don't know much about classical music (it usually takes me two tries to spell Tchaikovsky correctly). But I will say that if you've never been to a Peabody concert, you should go. The Friedberg Hall is beautiful, and the sound is good. And these guys are serious; they have harps. The composer of the evening's first symphony was actually at the performance, so I figured everyone was on top of their game, or music. Peabody concerts are perfect for an upscale (but cheap) date. You can get dressed up and pretend that you're cultured. Even if you can't tell Mahler from Mozart, the Mount Vernon area offers a huge variety of local landmarks and trendy restaurants, most within walking distance. But you'll have to pay for those, unless you can convince your date that walking around is actually more fun than going into one of the trendy spots. Good luck on that one. Friday Astronomy Open House, Bloomberg Center Observatory, Homewood Imagine a slumber party in your backyard, only with a really big telescope inside your tent. That's what it was like under the dome of the Bloomberg Center observatory on a Friday night. A few red bulbs were the only source of light (other than the stars, of course), and whispers were the preferred method of communication, I don't know why. I half expected someone to putt through. The constantly changing crowd, which usually hovered at 10 or so people, studied star charts and posters on the walls and waited their turn to look through the telescope. Each person got about a minute or so to look at each object. Ryan Newcomer, a first-year astrophysics graduate student, works in the observatory, answering questions and operating the telescope. He has even fixed the motor that rotates the overhead dome. He seemed to enjoy pointing out constellations, double stars and craters to the undergraduates and retirees who filled the dome. But while he tried his best to please everyone, he acknowledged that there are times when he just can't. He told me a story about one young boy who came to see Mars. The kid looked through the telescope for a minute, then stepped away. "I'm not impressed," he said. But that's OK. I sure was. Saturday Chamber Music Marathon; Friedberg Concert Hall, Peabody While this event lasted 12 hours, I wanted to get there fairly early because one of the first acts featured a guy playing the euphonium. What's a euphonium? Well, since you asked, a euphonium is, as the gentleman sitting next to me wrote in his program, a "big horn!" The program, which, like many Peabody events, was the subject of a complimentary article in The Sun, attracted a fair number of students, scholars and others who wanted to hear works by Brahms, Beethoven and other, lesser-known, composers. Kinnery Ardeshna, a Peabody Preparatory student and 11th-grader at McDonogh High School, went to the concert with her mother. "I've never really been to anything like this," said Kinnery, who is studying to be a pianist. She wanted to learn more about chamber music, and added that one of the reasons she came was because "I haven't seen some of these instruments." That's funny. Neither had I. There was even an open house (with cookies!) in the breathtaking Peabody Library. If you love books, you have to hop the shuttle one day and see this place. Sunday "A First Glimpse at the Petra Scrolls," A Near Eastern Studies lecture by Ludwig Koenen, University of Michigan; Mudd Hall Auditorium, Homewood As accurate as the calendar is (I was asked to get that in somehow), the one thing it can't account for is acts of God. On a beautiful spring Sunday, I got to the Mudd Hall auditorium exactly on time for a talk on a topic that seemed pretty interesting. But the speaker didn't show. While I was lamenting the fact that I was stuck inside on an 85-degree afternoon, Dr. Koenen was stuck in a sudden ice storm that hit Detroit that morning. The lecture had to be postponed. I was disappointed to miss my last calendar event, and thought about it and the week as I tried to decide where to buy sunblock. This situation made me realize that no matter how technical our lives become, no matter how many computers, fax machines and electronic mail accounts we have, we still depend on people for information. And Hopkins does have and does attract an abundance of talented people. From everywhere in the world doing and talking about anything in the world. Were it not for one man named Johns Hopkins, we wouldn't have a past. Were it not for the thousands of individuals who have upheld his legacy over the years, we wouldn't have a future. But perhaps we should focus on the present. After all, there are a tremendous number of events happening right now, and we're invited to many of them. Musicians are thrilled to have an audience for their performances. Scientists are eager to speak about their latest discoveries. Scholars, who have devoted decades to research, are excited to share their findings with others. And not just people in the know or people like themselves, but anyone who has an interest in learning. The fun for me was realizing that I could walk into any of the events in the calendar and be welcomed. I might sit there and not know exactly what was going on, but in all cases I came out a little more well-rounded. But maybe that was just because of the free cookies.
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