Move-in 2012 Builds Sense of Community for New and Returning Students

Monday, August 27, 2012

With help and high spirits from family, friends and campus volunteers, about 3,700 new and returning students moved into St. John’s University’s residence halls on August 23 – 26.

At each of St. John’s three, residential New York City campuses — in Queens, on Staten Island and in Manhattan — the fall Move-In Days marked the unofficial start of the 2012-13 academic year.

On Thursday, August 23, more than 1,500 new freshmen arrived at St. Vincent Hall and the Residential Village on the Queens campus. Continuing, transfer and graduate students moved into the Residential Village, Founder’s Village Townhouses and nearby off-campus housing on Sunday, August 26.

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“Move-in Day is always exciting,” said Eric Finkelstein, Director of Residence Life. “Every year is the start of a new cycle — the smiles you see on the faces of our new resident students are the same smiles you see at Commencement Exercises four years later. There’s a sense of accomplishment on every face.”

“This is great,” said Luke DaMommio ’16TCB, who comes to St. John’s from Richardson, TX. “You’re in the big city, but there are a lot of trees and open, grassy spaces, so you can escape from the pace whenever you want.” Luke was impressed by DaSilva Hall, one of six ultramodern buildings in the Residence Village. “The rooms have a big common area, which is really neat — when you want to relax, you can be near your room but not actually in it.”

Savannah Robertson ’16SJC, who comes from New Brunswick, NJ, was all smiles as she approached her new “home” at Hollis Hall. “I’m very excited to begin this new chapter in my life,” she said. “The campus is perfect — lots of things to do but not overwhelming. I knew right away this is where I wanted to be.”

Aisha Quinones ’16CPS, of Manhattan, felt much the same way. “I’m totally exhausted,” she said as she wheeled her bulging suitcase. “But I feel comfortable here. Everyone’s friendly, and Hollis is so convenient.”

After settling into their new homes, the freshmen met with Residence Life staff and enjoyed a barbecue. Then they spent the evening at a local Target department store that St. John’s rented entirely for students. Greeted by Johnny Thunderbird, the University mascot, they shopped at discounted prices while a D.J. played.

The evening launched St. John’s annual “Week of Wow,” a wide range of events welcoming students to campus. Activities include a Freshman Service Experience, an ice cream social, a Twilight Carnival, a “slip-and-slide,” a New York City-themed “DAC After Dark” at the D’Angelo Center and a “street fair” in Carnesecca Plaza.

At Staten Island, approximately 200 residents moved into the apartment-style housing adjacent to campus. They were greeted by administrators and volunteers in tents on the facility’s grassy courtyard. Welcoming activities include performances in a new black-box theater constructed over the summer in Spellman Hall.

“We’re a close-knit campus,” said Anilsa Nunez, Assistant Dean of Student Life and Director of Residence Life at Staten Island. “So for us, Move-In Day and the week that follows become a true community event.”

In addition, more than 150 resident students — including continuing undergraduate and graduate students — moved into the 10-story Manhattan campus, said David N. Gachigo, Associate Director of Student Life.

Students come to St. John’s University from 46 states and 110 countries. In addition to New York City, St. John’s also has campuses in Oakdale, NY, and Rome, Italy, as well as a location in Paris, France.