The View From Student Affairs
A Blog by Fr. James Maher, Vice President for Student
Posted by: Fr. James Maher | August 29, 2008
Welcome to a new school year at St. John’s University. During
the course of the school year we ask students to participate in
various surveys and focus groups so that we can learn how we can
serve you better. The feedback that we receive is used to
develop both immediate and long-term University plans. I would like
to use this blog today to highlight some of our recent efforts.
One of the most obvious changes you will see on the Queens
campus is the completion of some new housing options for
students. Our brand new Founder’s Village Student Townhouses
were built in direct response to students who asked us to increase
the availability of on-campus housing. These apartment
complexes house 289 upper-class students on the edge of the Great
Lawn. An additional 200 beds were added to a transformed St. Vincent Hall which became
a vibrant learning community focusing on poverty and social justice
with the Ozanam
Scholars program and other students in Learning
After a successful launch last year, we have responded to
student feedback by further enhancing our Learning Communities.
More faculty members have been recruited to provide engaging
activities and the program now includes the entire freshmen
class. Also, a centralized location was created in the
basement of O’Connor Hall with expanded offices and meeting
Students have also asked us to address the need for more
on-campus dining options. Accordingly, we have extended evening
hours on all three campuses, we offer a Staten Island Brunch and we
have a special ‘meal exchange program’ for students on the Queens
Campus. Visit the Chartwells website
for more details and a complete listing of hours. Dining
facilities were also upgraded providing students with more
self-service options. The new pantry in the Montgoris Dining
Hall is one example of these innovative efforts.
There were almost 116,000 riders on the St. John’s University
Shuttle Buses last year. Schedules have been adjusted and the
buses are prepared to accommodate even more students in these times
of high gas prices and reliance on public transportation. We
have also worked with the MTA to
ensure that the Q46 Limited Bus stops at the more centrally located
Gate #5 on Union Turnpike on the Queens campus.
Even with improvements, things breakdown sometimes.
Residents on our campuses will soon have a much more efficient way
of reporting their non-emergency maintenance and facility
concerns. The department of Facilities Services is testing an
online work request
form that will permit students to submit a request that is
officially registered on the system. Most requests should be
addressed within a 72 hour timeframe.
Information Technology is busy working out the details regarding
a brand new Microsoft student email client, Live@edu. Once
rolled out, this new email system will permit students to send and
receive messages using html, sort and organize messages using
Outlook web tools, and use an advanced system for spam
control. Student email capacity will be increased to ten
gigabytes. Students will also have easy access to an additional
five gigabytes on a SkyDrive, a virtual hard drive used to store
personal, shared and public files. Please watch St. John’s
Central for details as Live@edu is launched this
semester. Information Technology has also addressed
Manhattan campus concerns by updating lab machines and providing
new printing options.
The St. Augustine Library renovation is almost complete.
temporary accommodations had to be made for the start of the
semester, students on the Queens campus will soon be able to take
pride in a state-of-the-art library that will serve as a crossroads
for the exchange of ideas via print, virtual and personal
interaction. Major enhancements to the St. Albert Hall
science labs and to Carnesecca Arena are also underway.
Students challenged us to be more conscious of environmental
issues on our campuses. I think many of these students will
be proud of the implementation of our University-wide
These are just a few of the ways that we continue to respond to
student needs and concerns. Many more advancements are
planned and I will use this blog to keep you posted. In the
meantime, I wish you a successful and enriching new school year at
St. John’s University.
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