Through Remote Events, Alumni Remain Connected

Alumni Happy Hour Zoom Screen with 13 boxes
May 27, 2020

As the world continues to adjust to the “new normal,” each week more than 300 proud St. John’s University alumni bond together virtually through a wide range of free remote events sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations that touch the mind, body, and soul.

“We are inspired by our Vincentian founders to do what we can to bring comfort to our community during this time,” said Carolina Brandao Hojaij ’16C, ’19MBA, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement and Volunteer Programs. “We are proud to offer programs that speak to a variety of interests and needs. From webinars, prayer intentions, and fitness classes, there is no shortage of remote activities. One thing this experience has taught us is that we are stronger than ever before.”

In the weeks since the government-led pause on most social gatherings, St. John’s has hosted several virtual social activities for alumni, including Virtual Happy Hours and the Alumni Speaker Series, with many more planned.

“The first Johnnie Happy Hour was fantastic,” said Joseph S. Barone ’84Ed. “It gave me the chance to connect with others across the United States whom I never met before. I learned what others are doing to support the University, too.”

The Black Alumni Association (BAA) used the Zoom platform to host the BAA Virtual Brunch for a Cause on April 26. Through the event, the BAA Virtual Brunch Fund raised more than $1,000 to purchase meals for international students who are housed on campus during the pandemic, as well as local first responders.

“With all that is going on in the world, and particularly in the St. John’s community, we wanted to do something to give back,” said Melissa Akers-Atkins ’04Ed, ’06GEd. “By encouraging our BAA members to stay home and take part in a virtual fundraiser, it gave us an opportunity to pay it forward.”

The monthly Faculty Feature Series has included Professor William L. Murphy, Esq., Assistant Professor, Division of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security, and Basilio G. Monteiro, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of Mass Communication. More discussions are planned.

Trivia Night takes place on Thursday, May 28, at 7 p.m. Hosted by Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD), this free event is limited to the first 40 teams. RSVP up to five hours prior to the game.

Anna Jadonath sitting reading a book

The Alumni Book Club hosts its first discussion on June 1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg is the first title the club will discuss. The Club launched on Wednesday, May 13, and soared to more than 100 members in only its first week.

Chris Dare holding a deck of cards fanned out

The young and the young at heart can enjoy the BELIEVE Virtual Magic Show with Alumnus Chris Dare ’14TCB on Wednesday, June 3, at 6 p.m. Be sure to have a deck of cards on hand to participate in this interactive show. RSVP up to six hours prior to the start of the event.

Alumni interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle have several ongoing choices, including Sculpt with Aggy, held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 5 p.m. Agnes “Aggy” Impelli is a certified personal trainer with more than 30 years of experience in health and fitness. Classes take place on the Webex platform, and free weights and/or resistance bands are suggested.

Every Tuesday and Saturday, Zumba with Jen is hosted by Jennifer Hug ’19CCPS, a former St. John’s Dance Team captain. “While staying home and practicing social distancing, my favorite way to pass time is working out,” said Ms. Hug. “Zumba lets you have fun while breaking a sweat.”

Every Friday, Rev. John J. Holliday, C.M., University Chaplain, shares his prayerful reflections through Homily with Holliday. These videos can be enjoyed on the St. John’s University YouTube channel, or by visiting the St. John’s University Alumni Facebook page.

The Office of Gift Planning has hosted a number of events for members of The McCallen Society, The Loughlin Society, Retirees Association, and Red White Club, including the ongoing Power Hour, an exclusive webinar covering various areas of interest.

“I look forward to participating in other events,” added Mr. Barone, “not only to meet other alumni, but more importantly, to learn more about what others do for St. John’s and what the University does to meet the needs of their students, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni.”