More than 2,300 first-year, transfer, international and returning students arrived at St. John’s University for a rousing Move-in Week that prioritized student safety and emphasized a welcome return to the in-person college experience. Move-in Week was bookended by an interactive slate of events as part of the University’s Red Carpet Welcome, designed to help students feel at home in their new environment. Some of those events included: an outdoor movie, laser tag on the Great Lawn, a block party in the Residence Village, and a Move-in Mass at St. Thomas More Church.
“We are delighted to welcome both new and returning students to campus to begin or continue their college experience at St. John's," said Kathryn T. Hutchinson, Ph.D., Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs. “This year Move-In Week was adjusted to implement ongoing COVID-19 protocols and to demonstrate our shared commitment to campus safety and one another. We anticipate and are preparing for an exciting academic year ahead.”
“As students arrive for Move-in, they can see campus is alive again with excitement and anticipation of the year ahead,” observed Eric M. Finkelstein, M.Ed., Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life. “While safety measures remain in place, and we continue to monitor guidance from health officials, we feel this year represents a return to normal, and Move-in weekend is a reflection of that.”
“On behalf of everyone at St. John’s University, we are so happy to welcome all our students back to campus for in-person instruction, and we are grateful to all concerned for making our pivot to remote learning last year such a success,” said Simon G. Møller, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “As faculty, we prize nothing higher than the opportunity to interact and engage with our students in person, and the University is committed to moving forward safely with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.”
Over 1,000 first-year resident students were welcomed during Move-in Weekend. The University required all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and everyone who attended Move-in completed the St. John’s COVID screening application prior to arriving on campus. Students and guests were given specific arrival times and were asked to wear face coverings indoors.
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Ashley Sinclair from Elkins Park, PA, who was being assisted by her grandmother, Roslyn Burton, said she came to St. John’s for its Photography program. As Ashley and her new roommate loaded carts, Ms. Burton pointed out that her granddaughter was wearing the same red St. John’s sweatshirt she came home wearing the day she learned of her acceptance to the University. “She hasn’t taken it off,” Ms. Burton said, smiling. “Some other schools in Pennsylvania made her offers, but she really wanted to come to St. John’s and was so happy St. John’s chose her.”
Laura Fernald from Newbury, MA. explained that her daughter, Lily, transferred to St. John’s because of its Criminal Justice program. “This morning has gone so smoothly. It’s an emotional day, but I’ve been through this before with my other two daughters, and we’ll get through it.” Ms. Fernald added, “Everybody we’ve met today has been so friendly.”
Biology major Zachary Van Dyke from Carencro, LA, noted he is the first member of his family to come this far for college. “I’ve lived in the same city all my life, and I wanted to expand my horizons,” he observed. “That’s why I came so far. I loved the campus tour, and the Move-in experience has been great.” Beaming parents Shaerod and Bertha complimented the Office of Financial Aid for walking them through that often complex process. “They couldn’t have been more reassuring,” Mrs. Van Dyke commented.
Brian O’Hanlon, also a Criminal Justice major, from Yorktown, NY, said he fell in love with St. John’s when he first stepped foot on campus. His father, James, made a point to thank the Office of Public Safety for all their hard work. “One of the reasons I felt so comfortable allowing him to come here was the emphasis St. John’s puts on safety.”
Mr. Finkelstein added, “Our new students may not have been in a classroom, let alone a residence hall, in over a year. We recognize that supporting students in their transition to campus life is more important this year than ever before.”