BY SUSAN WANG
Cherry blossoms sprouting all over Nanjing signal the departure of the dreary winter and cheerful arrival of spring.
In the student lounge of Hopkins Nanjing Center, students clamour into a crowded corner for a meeting. The enthusiasm is overwhelming. A strong sense of determination is fueling this group which will participate in the annual Dragon Boat Festival in Nanjing.
Organizers Theo Robie, Dereck Lammers, Matt Gandolfo and Quinn Campbell have taken the initiative, determined to bring HNC into the limelight and, with cautious optimism, succeed in the competition.
To kick off the season on a high note, Lammers ended the meeting with some inspiring words. This is the “Golden Age,” he said, as the crowd applauded and cheered.
The class of 2016 represents the 30th anniversary of the Hopkins-Nanjing University partnership and this group of motivated individuals seeks to make that legacy known.
Speaking to The Observer, Lammers shared the reasons for his motivation and enthusiasm.
Lammers wants to leave a legacy within HNC that will help future students during their time in Nanjing.
“All of us (at HNC) can create something great, I noticed a lot of people are motivated, and very determined to leave a great legacy at HNC. Let’s not only take advantage of this opportunity, but give back to HNC, and what better way to do it, than to put up a great performance in the Dragon Boat Festival.”
Hopkins-Nanjing students have participated in the annual event before, but have not perform particularly well. The “Golden Age” generation hopes to change that record. While getting Hopkins to the podium sounds appealing, leaders of the effort want to emphasize the importance of this to students.
For Campbell, the Dragon Boat Race is not just about winning.
“This is a great way to build camaraderie, especially at a center of 150 people. Plus it’s a great workout regimen for everyone to try,” said Campbell.
According to Lammers, “Even if we don’t get to the podium, we’ll all be proud.”
So far certificate students have arranged a core focused workout and schedule workouts at least 4 times a week.
Dry practices in the gym and wet practices on Xuanwu Lake are also scheduled to take place.
This collective effort has created a lot of enthusiasm around campus, with more students enlisting to help out with the cause. Many have shared their insights and experiences to help coordinate workout schedules, find coaches, and even decide on jersey design.
With the ball rolling, the Hopkins team has got the starting push and hopefully the initial momentum can help with achieving their goal in eight weeks from now.
The 16th annual Dragon Boat Race will be hosted by the Sheraton Kingsley Hotel. Since the inaugural race in 2001, the event has helped in bring the community and businesses together to foster a greater understanding of Chinese culture and tradition.
The competition will take place on June 9 at Mochou Lake.
For more up to date news about the HNC Dragon Boat team, follow Susan Wang at The Observer or follow her on twitter @oh_susieq89.