Johnny Thunderbird with open arms

Employee Engagement

Johnny Thunderbird

Values and Inclusion Program

The Values and Inclusion Program (VIP) recognizes employees who demonstrate a commitment to inclusion, thereby emphasizing and promulgating the University’s core values: truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence, and service. All faculty, administrators, and staff are eligible for nomination; all campuses are encouraged to participate.

The 2020 VIP nomination period was held from from March 2-13, 2020. Nominations are currently being processed and an announcement will be shared with all employees this spring.

On an annual basis, nominations will be accepted for employees who demonstrate a commitment to inclusion in the workplace or learning environment. It can be an employee’s consistent trait or the result of a significant, one-time event. Nominations will be received by the Office of Human Resources (HR) during the nomination period. A representative from HR will present the nomination to the nominated employee’s department head, dean, or chair for review and approval. HR will prepare a feature story to highlight all recognized employees, drawing statements from the nomination forms about how the employees embody the University’s commitment to inclusion. HR and representatives from the University’s Equity and Inclusion Council will review all nominations received and select three employees to be recognized during the annual Employee Convocation.

For questions about the VIP employee recognition program, contact a member of the Human Resources Services department: 

Cynthia Fico Simpson
Director of Human Resources Services
[email protected]

Nancy Santos
Human Resources Generalist
[email protected]

Karen Crowley
Human Resources Generalist
[email protected]

Any member of the University community can nominate an employee for recognition (e.g., a peer, supervisor, employee in a different department, department head, student, faculty member, etc.). Employees are nominated for demonstrating one or more of our six core values (i.e., truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence, and service) to further inclusion at St. John’s University.

Eligible employees who are nominated will be invited to a reception and recognized in a feature article shared by email to all employees and publicized in the highlight section of [email protected] John’s, as well as on the Human Resources website, the Office of Equity and Inclusion website, and other department news feeds that run “employee” and “faculty” tags. In addition, the review committee will select three nominees to be the recipients of a special recognition during the annual Employee Recognition Convocation.


Knowledge in accord with reality, behavior faithful to ethical standards. St. John’s affirms the threefold mission of a University to seek truth through research, to disseminate it through teaching, and to act on it. The University values and utilizes the perspectives of different cultures to assist its members in seeking truth and developing ethical standards, while affirming the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Focusing and extending minds and hearts to nurture one’s own and another’s good. Love expressed in the University community is not a feeling but an action for the corporate good manifested through the time, talent, and energy of its members. It is a responsible dedication to utilize available resources and turn them toward humanity’s good.


Awareness of and esteem for all individuals. A courteous regard for all people whose diversity is embraced and shared in learning, teaching, and service to others within the University community and beyond.


Circumstances favorable to serving others and preparing one’s self for a fulfilling life. Guided by its central commitment to equality, justice, and Christian morality, the University makes its resources available to all its members to pursue their individual and collective interests.


Striving, growing, never being complacent: the St. John’s community empowers and inspires students, faculty, administration, and staff to succeed in programs which assist them in every area of achievement.


Vincentian spirituality in action, a response to God’s call to give of ourselves. Our obligation and commitment to service lie not only in our active compassion as an institution, but in the cultivation of these priorities and values in the members of our community. We are committed to a life of stewardship as a caretaker of God-given talents, resources, and knowledge, and caregiver responding to the needs of others.

A dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the heart of our mission. As a Catholic and Vincentian University, St. John’s is committed to institutionalizing practices of inclusive excellence to ensure that we welcome and celebrate the intrinsic worth of all members of our community.

We will become an even stronger University as we enhance equity at every level of our institution. As noted in our Vision Statement, our graduates will excel in the competencies and values required for leadership and service in a rapidly evolving world.

Congratulations to the 2019 VIP recipients! Click here to view the list of nominees.

September 2019 Employee Night at Citi Field

St. John's University held its second Employee Night at Citi Field on September 25 as the NY Mets took on the Miami Marlins, winning 10–3. More than 160 tickets were sold to employees, who brought their family and friends to enjoy perfect weather and a night of baseball and camaraderie.

The group witnessed history when first baseman Pete Alonso hit his 51st home run to bring him closer to the rookie home run title. Jacob deGrom also pitched his last game of the season that night, and because of his strikeouts and earned run average, he is now eligible for a second Cy Young Award

Johnny Thunderbird was warmly welcomed by the crowd—he had a long line of greeters waiting to take a selfie! St. John's T-shirts, provided courtesy of University sponsor Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., were tossed in the stands to lucky St. John's employees. It was certainly a memorable evening for all who attended; the Office of Human Resources looks forward to hosting more employee events.

Click here to see the photo gallery. 

May 2019 Employee Night at Citi Field

St. John's University held an Employee Night at Citi Field to watch the NY Mets take on the Cincinnati Reds on May 1. More than 243 tickets were sold to employees, who brought their family and friends. The weather was not ideal, but attendees enjoyed the game and the camaraderie. Some opted to stay dry in the Foxwoods Club, where they had an excellent view of the game. 

With a steady rain falling, Johnny Thunderbird worked very hard to lift our spirits! St. John's employees were outfitted in red St. John's T-shirts provided courtesy of our sponsor, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. One of our lucky guests, Joseph Pascullo, participated in the Mets trivia game on the field and won $125 in Mets money. It was a fun evening; the Office of Human Resources looks forward to hosting more employee events this year.

Click here to see the photo gallery.

Ice Cream and Popcorn Treats

Employees were in for a real treat in October, as a series of appreciation events were held across the Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan campuses. Courtesy of the Office of Human Resources and sponsored by Municipal Credit Union, the events were a way to thank employees for their hard work and commitment to students. In Queens on October 11th, the ice cream truck made several stops on campus. Employees in Staten Island were treated to ice cream on October 16th and in Manhattan, a popcorn party was held in the lobby of Astor Place on October 22nd. An estimated 1225 ice cream cones and dozens of bags of popcorn were served during these events. If you missed the SCOOP, make sure to see us next time we POP over to say "Thanks!"

Ways to Engage...

On campus educational and student events provide significant opportunities to share time with students, explore learning together and show your support for their achievements.

Academic Lecture Series
St. John's University's Academic Lecture Series provides students with thoughtful and stimulating intellectual discourse in a setting outside of the classroom.

University Events
Events held throughout the year, such as Convocations, Commencements, Homecoming and Family Weekend, Spring Week activities, fairs and other programs are always announced on the Web events calendar and on My SJU.  You can also visit Campus Life Activities online for more ideas on how to engage with students at events all year long.

There are many ways to make a gift to the University and make a difference in our community of learners.

It is through the sustained generosity of donors and special friends, dedicated alumni, parents, employees and students that St. John’s is able to spread its mission throughout the world and impact global change through a commitment to academic excellence and social justice.  There are many ways to make a gift to the University and make a difference in our community of learners.

Employees may make financial contributions directly through payroll deductions.  The Loughlin Society Patrons Program recognizes outstanding donors who are also St. John’s employees.  In addition to special recognition in the annual Honor Roll of Donors, members receive VIP seating at selected on-campus events and invitations to Loughlin Society gatherings and other special events held throughout the year.  To enroll in employee payroll deductions, contact the Director of Annual Giving at 718-990-6927 or email [email protected].

Programs run by University Career Services, such as COACH, give employees incredible opportunities to directly help shape a student’s professional development and career path. Other opportunities, such as the SAFE program, which was created by a faculty member in partnership with the University Freshman Center, partner faculty and employees with first year students to support them during their first college year. If your specific interest is to mentor an international student, the Language Connection has programs in this area as well. Read about opportunities to mentor a student:

Coach Program
COACH stands for Count on Alumni for Career Help.  While centered on the idea of alumni-student mentoring, COACH allows employees, too, to share their diverse career experiences with students in a coaching role.  Find out more and get involved as a COACH!

SAFE Program
Consider mentoring a freshman or sophomore student during the upcoming academic year by participating in the Student and Faculty Engagement Program (SAFE). SAFE provides mentorship to freshman and sophomore students with the goal of helping them successfully transition to the University and develop a sense of belonging. The program was created in 2011 and has grown from a small cohort of 20 faculty to 75 mentors that include faculty, staff, administrators, graduate students and upperclassmen from across the University. To find out more about how you can mentor a student through this program, visit SAFE.

Conversation Partners Program
International students who are learning English may feel comfortable in the classroom, but less so with everyday, colloquial language. This program will connect an employee with an international student for informal weekly conversations for one semester. The student and employee can arrange to meet at a mutually convenient time and location and practice conversational English together. To find out more and complete an online volunteer form, visit Conversation Partners.

International Host Family Program
The IHFP is an immersive opportunity for international students to be paired with St. John’s employees, who serve as their “host families” for a year of their education. The program’s goal is simple: to improve the international student experience by connecting them with the campus, the community, and more broadly, with U.S. culture by giving them a sense of how “locals” live. The program aims to build cross-cultural ties that will make international students feel more at home at St. John’s and in New York, while helping them gain familiarity and comfort with U.S. traditions, customs, and expectations. To find out more and and participate in the program, visit International Host Family Program.

There might be an opportunity for your area to support an academic internship for credit, so elevate the idea to your supervisor and connect with the appropriate college for additional information. for guidance and tips on how to host an academic internship, download the guide. The Career Services website lists the academic internship contact information for each college, as academic departments have specific guidelines and requirements that vary by major.

Employees and students are encouraged to continue the great mission of St. Vincent de Paul by integrating service to the poor into both academic and employment experiences at St. John’s.

Some of the ways you may choose to engage students through service are to participate in the following:

Founder's Week Celebration
Founder’s Week is held annually during the week of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul in September. The University organizes a full week of events. This week helps us to deepen our understanding of the Vincentian mission of St. John’s University and to celebrate the many ways that our Vincentian heritage continues to guide our entire University community. Find out more about our Founder’s Week celebration opportunities.

University Service Day
On the fourth Saturday in September, in celebration of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, St. John’s organizes a University Service Day. This annual event unites the University family on all campuses in volunteer efforts at service sites throughout the community. To participate, contact the Office of Mission in Queens at 718-990-6353.

St. John’s Bread and Life
Employees and students can volunteer in the Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in Brooklyn. On Monday afternoon, students can volunteer in the Mobile Soup Kitchen from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. On Fridays, employees can volunteer for Friday in the Soup Kitchen from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can also learn more by visiting the Bread and Life service opportunities, the Bread and Life website, or by contacting Rafael Rivera in Campus Ministry at 718-990-3354

Members of the University community participate in several fund-raising walks throughout the year including the Good Friday Walk for the Homeless, the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk in October and the St. Mary's Children's Hospital Annual Walk in May.

Sponsor a Family
Sponsored through St. John’s Bread and Life, this holiday program helps and assists families in need in the Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick, and Williamsburg communities.  Volunteers can lend services by sponsoring, feeding, and providing toys for families in these areas. Contact Campus Ministry at 718-990-1363 to volunteer or make a donation.

Hunger Awareness Month
Participate in events each November as we fight world hunger through activities that raise awareness. Look for the Hunger Awareness events online.

Ozanam Nursing Home
St. John's students spend time with the elderly by engaging in conversation, reading and playing board games with the residents of Ozanam Hall of Queens. Find out more by calling 718-990-6465 or 5058.  

Annual St. Baldrick's & Locks of Love Event
Every year, our St. John’s community comes together to raise awareness in the fight against childhood cancer for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Participants are asked to raise money, and 100% of the proceeds go directly to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. As part of our solidarity with the children who suffer with cancer, anyone who participates is asked to shave his/her head. For those who wish not to shave his/her head, Locks of Love is also represented, where one can donate his/her “locks” in support. It happens every March – and it’s never too early (or late!) to get involved. Please feel free to contact Angela Seegel at [email protected] or 718-990-2680.

Walk for the Homeless
For over 30 years, the St. John’s University community has walked in solidarity for hunger and the homeless for those most in need at the Annual Walk for the Homeless. It takes place every Good Friday– and is open to ALL students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni and all of our family and friends. Join us as we meet at St. Thomas More Church on the Queens campus to check-in and commence our walk in the surrounding community, ending at Marillac Terrace Cafeteria to share a simple meal of soup and bread in keeping with the spirit of the day. Check us out on YouTube from the 2010 Walk for Homeless To find out more, contact: Jim Walters at 718-990-6327 or [email protected] or Angela Seegel at 718-990-2680 or mailto:[email protected] Staten Island Campus, contact: Melissa Gibilaro at 718-390-4497 or [email protected]

Additionally, you are encouraged to serve together with students and support various fundraising activities, blood drives and collections for the poor organized by the Office of Community Relations, Student Life, and Campus Ministry.

The Service Opportunities Council was created by the University Vincentian Mission Council to encourage all members of the University community - students, faculty, administrators and staff, as well as our extended community of alumni and retired employees - to make a personal commitment to serve others, in particular people lacking economic, physical or social advantages.

As you can see, the options for engaging with students through service are everywhere. Visit the St. John's Service Opportunities website for even more.

Campus life at St. John’s is rich with a multitude of cultural and social experiences.  We hope that you take advantage of the diverse cultural and social opportunities, and that your participation serves to further broaden and enrich your life and the lives of our students.

Events and activities can be found on the St. John's web site, or you can contact the Office of Student Life in Queens at 718-990-6567, Staten Island at 718-990-4445, or Manhattan at 212-277-5170.

Faith and service engagement opportunities abound at St. John’s. Find out about how you can engage with students on a spiritual level.

Campus Ministry coordinates many opportunities for the University community to come together through spirituality.  Some of these include interfaith services, liturgical ministry, music ministry, retreats, Lent programs, Catholic men’s and women’s groups, prayer and reflection.

St. Vincent de Paul Society
This student-run organization reaches out to the poor and those in need in New York City through volunteering, retreats and reflection.  Employees can participate with students in many activities throughout the year.  In Queens call 718-990-6115 and in Staten Island 718-990-4497, or call the main number, 718–990–6255.

Catholic Lecture Series
Our Catholic Lecture Series is intended for both Catholic and Non-Catholic adults, and addresses issues of Catholic belief and teaching.

Vincentian Mission Certificate Program
This compelling 16 month personal and professional development program rooted in our Vincentian charism.  The program is centered on three major components:  Education; Service; and Reflection; and is designed to empower staff and administrators to live out and reflect upon our Vincentian Mission.  For more information, contact Program Coordinator Lucy Pesce at 718-990-3004 or [email protected].

Join the campus community as we celebrate Mass together.  View our online Mass schedules for Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan.

The entire University community comes together to support our athletic teams.  By coming out to the games, you show your support for our student-athletes and the University.

Red Storm Sports
The entire University community comes together to support our St. John's athletic teams.  By coming out to the games, you show your support for our student-athletes and the University. View the Red Storm Sports web site for information and game schedules.

Intramurals, Recreation, Health and Fitness
The Campus Recreation Department provides the entire University community with the opportunity to participate in formal and informal activities ranging from team sports to individual and dual sports, as well as competitive and non-competitive activities.  Fitness centers and a variety of courts on the University campuses offer great ways to engage students in healthy activities.  All staff, administrators, students and faculty currently enrolled or employed, who present a valid St. John’s StormCard, may participate in any of the University’s Intramural sporting programs.

Abundant opportunities exist to engage student workers in your department in informal mentoring and by collaborating with them on meaning work assignments.

Talk with, listen to and help the student workers in your office.  To speak with the Student Employment Manager in the Office of Human Resources, call 718-990-2331 or email Mary Cascio, or review the Supervisor's Guide to Managing Student Workers or the Toolkit located on the Student Employment website.