The Campus Experience

The Campus Experience


Commuting to classes was the daily routine of all St. John's students until the first residence halls opened on the Queens campus in 1999. This photograph shows two School of Commerce students taking a New York City bus to the Schermerhorn Street campus in downtown Brooklyn in 1956.

Students take city bus to Schermerhorn Street campus

Once students arrived at the downtown Brooklyn campus, they had to wait for an elevator to reach the upper floor classrooms. Many photographs in the Closing Entry yearbooks poked fun at this common aspect of the student experience.


Students in elevator Schermerhorn
Students squeezing onto the elevator so they would arrive to the class on time at the Schermerhorn Street campus in 1949.


Student climbing stairs Schermerhorn
Get in line for the elevator early! This student pictured walking up 12 flights of stairs to class in 1956 is captioned “treadmill to oblivion.”
Waiting to board the elevator Schermerhorn
Students patiently waiting to board the elevator at the Schermerhorn Street campus in 1955. The yearbook editors gave this photo the clever caption "Higher Education."


Dining on Campus

Proposed by students in October 1944 and opened in January 1945, the Cooperative Cafeteria served hot meals to students after the cafeteria closed during World War II. The cafeteria was funded by student shareholders, including those in St. John’s College and Teachers College. The students managed all aspects of the cafeteria including purchasing. Despite the limitations of food rations, the students managed to serve high quality meals at prices students could afford, and donated their profit to the foreign missions.

Some of the meals served at the Cooperative Cafeteria in the 1940s included: hamburgers and frankfurters; roast beef, string beans, and potatoes; shrimp chow mein; ham, spinach-loin, pork, and sauerkraut; and coffee with cream.

Students in line for lunch Lewis Ave cafeteria
This photograph from the 1949 Vincentian yearbook shows several students, all wearing suits and ties, and one holding chopsticks, waiting on the lunch line in the cafeteria, while being served a hot meal by a fellow student Cooperative Cafeteria worker.


A group of students sitting on the cafeteria counter.
Judging from the abundance of photographs in the 1950s School of Commerce yearbooks, the cafeteria at the Schermerhorn Street campus of St. John’s University in downtown Brooklyn, was a favorite spot for students to socialize.
Three students drinking coffee in front of the cafeteria vending machines.
There were also a variety of interesting vending machines, serving everything from hot coffee, cold milk and chocolate milk, root beer, lemonade, and other soft drinks.


A student eating a can of hot soup from a vending machine.
The vending machines even served soups, pies, and other hot food in case you did not have time to wait on the cafeteria line for a full meal.


A student getting nickels from a coin change machine in the cafeteria.
A student getting nickels from a coin change machine in the cafeteria.
A student toasting a vending machine sandwich in a toaster oven before their next class.
A student toasting a vending machine sandwich in the cafeteria toaster oven before their next class.