Moving on won't be easy for the Shush Lady.
While sitting on the porch of a house on East University Parkway Tuesday night, Johns Hopkins University’s outgoing community liaison Carrie Bennett couldn’t help herself when she heard a party down the street get a little too loud.
Bennett is currently on family leave, and isn’t regularly performing her duties as she prepares to leave the university for good. But the loud voices and thumping bass were too much for her to ignore.
"I still felt I needed to go tell these kids 'look this is the wrong street, and it’s Tuesday night,' and so we started teaching them what I would normally teach them during the school year," Bennett said.
Since 2005, Bennett has been keeping the peace between undergrads and neighbors in surrounding communities. But after the death of her mother this summer, she decided to move to Carlisle, PA to be closer to her father.
"There wasn’t a decision to it. My mother passed away unexpectedly in June and my father has some beginning dementia issues, so that’s the way it was going to be. I was going to move up and take care of my dad," Bennett said.
But she admitted that leaving the university she has worked at for 20 years is going to be a challenge.
"I had to clean out my office yesterday. I joked that it was the first time I’ve ever had a real office, so it was the first time I ever got to have an ego wall, you know, with my awards and my diploma and everything. So that was sad to tear down your first ego wall," Bennett said.
Bennett said she would be leaving more than just the university. She has also lived in Charles Village while working as the liaison—the first time she has ever lived in a city.
"I’m glad that it worked out that way because it does give you the perspective of 'This is my neighborhood. These are my neighbors,'" Bennett said. "Their concerns and complaints matter more to me than somebody who is trotting in [from] five counties over."
Bennett’s contributions, which go beyond keeping parties quiet, include creating events such as the JHU Turn, and keeping alleys clean after students moved out in the spring. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed by community leaders.
Mark Counselman, an Oakenshawe resident, said Bennett’s efforts have made a big difference in keeping peace in the neighborhood.
"My impression was that her work made all the difference," Counselman said.
In fact, the Oakenshawe Improvement Association sent a letter to university President Ron Daniels thanking Bennett for her efforts, such as breaking up a party at 3 a.m. and returning the next morning to "lead lawn mowing and red Solo cup collection."
"She’s the perfect person for [the job]. People respect her on both sides," Counselman said.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke also praised Bennett and the job she had done, a position neighborhoods began demanding after residents said student partying and behavior was getting out of hand.
"Carrie is irreplaceable," Clarke said. "Her email address is HopCop, she is the Hop Cop we know the best and appreciate the most."
Bennett said she doesn’t know what she will do yet in Carlisle. She said she might reach out to Dickinson College, or pursue a civilian community relation’s position with the town’s police department.
She admitted that she doesn’t know that she wants to do a similar job to the one she performs at Hopkins, but said she will be back and forth until at least November to help train a replacement once someone is hired.
But in the meantime, she will enjoy riding her 2005 Kawaski Vulcan 500 on country roads, the view from her father’s back porch and watching her beloved Washington Redskins.
"I really like being able to step outside and see stars," Bennett said.