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At Family Weekend, Parents, Siblings, and Students Enjoy Campus Life

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Traveling to New York from as far away as California, Texas, and Washington, more than 330 families joined their St. John’s students at the Queens, NY, campus on October 6–8 for the University’s annual Family Weekend celebration.

“We are pleased to have a strong turnout of families from the greater metropolitan area and across the country to join us this weekend and experience life as ‘Johnnies,’” said Kathryn T. Hutchinson, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs. “Family support is integral to the academic and personal success of our students.”

The annual event started on Friday evening, with student performances at the Sodano Coffee House in the D’Angelo Center (DAC). Later that night, the first of several weekend performances of The Addams Family by the University’s Chappell Players took place in the Little Theatre.

For many parents in attendance, the weekend marked the first time they have seen their children since the semester began in August. Joe Epperson, of Moraga, CA, made the trip to New York to see his daughter Simone, a freshman who is studying Marketing in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.

“It’s a great opportunity to catch up with her and explore the campus,” he said. “There’s so much going on today—it’s a lot to take in.” Displaying a schedule of events that her mother carefully highlighted, Simone agreed. “As you see,” she said, “we have a long list of things to do today.”

Guests were invited to get a taste of student life, as faculty members delivered a series of lectures in DAC, ranging from career preparedness to a historical exploration of the growth of New York City. Later, students interested in studying abroad and their families were invited to a Global Studies Information Session.

While some parents traveled to campus by plane or train, for Mary Morhart it was just a short drive from nearby College Point, NY, to see her daughter, Katrina, an Environmental Studies major. “Even though St. John’s is close to our home, we wanted her to have the experience of living on a college campus,” said Ms. Morhart. “It’s great to see what life is like for her here.”

With DAC hosting primarily academic events, the Great Lawn was all about fun and games as the site of the Family Weekend Carnival. Complete with food trucks, carnival games, rides, and more, the event was the high point of the weekend for many of those in attendance. The festive atmosphere of the carnival carried over into the Residence Village, where guests enjoyed an evening block party with more food and music. 

Freshman Amanda Cusicanqui, a Criminal Justice major from Little Egg Harbor, NJ, was eager to show her parents around the 100-acre campus. “I love how we have our own community here in Queens,” she said. “It’s such a pretty campus.” Her father, Mark McCloskey, was impressed with what he saw. “It’s a wonderful space,” he said. “As a parent, I want her to be happy and she certainly is.”

Sunday’s events included Community Mass at St. Thomas More Church, as well as an encore performance by The Chappell Players.

“Family Weekend is a popular event for students and parents alike,” said Brian Fausto ’14CPS, ’16G, Assistant Director of Student Development. “For parents, it’s a unique opportunity to see what campus life is like for their children. For students, it’s a chance to take a break from their studies and spend some quality time with family.”

The Staten Island campus will host Family Day on Sunday, October 15.