Community Relations

Our Programs

Throughout the year, civic and health groups promote the cultural interest and physical well-being of New York residents. Through its Community Relations, St. John's actively supports these efforts.

Whether promoting awareness of or raising funds for issues important to St. John's neighbors, the Community Relations partners in events such as blood drives, concert series and others alike.

An Active Role in the Community

Being a good neighbor is deeply engrained in the history and mission of St. John's University.  Since our founding in 1870, St. John's has nurtured a strong sense of partnership with the diverse communities of New York City - communities that entrust us with the education of their young men and women.

Community service is part of St. John's heritage as a Vincentian and metropolitan university.  Today, our efforts to serve our neighbors is principally realized through Community Relations.

Community Relations
Civic groups, arts agencies, and other social organizations dedicated to community enrichment can find assistance through Community Relations at St. John's.

Community Relations partners with varied groups to support activities that benefit our neighbors in Queens and throughout New York City. Free concerts, special events, blood drives, food drives, and charitable efforts - these are among the community-oriented activities that enjoy the University's support. 

Our Programs

Throughout the year, civic and health groups promote the cultural interest and physical well-being of New York residents. Through Community Relations, St. John's actively supports these efforts.

Whether promoting awareness of or raising funds for issues important to St. John's neighbors, the Office of Community Relations partners in the following events:

American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Walk
St. John's University is a  proud Flagship Sponsor of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Over the past fifteen years, staff, faculty and students have helped raise close to $750,000 in support of cancer awareness. Please visit to register a team, sign up for the Breast Cancer Walk, and even view our top teams and participants at St. John's University.

University Blood Drives
To boost blood donations and raise awareness about the New York-area's blood supply, the Office of Community Relations hosts several campus-wide blood drives each year. Events are open to the public and all are encouraged to donate.

New York Organ Donors Network
St. John's University is partnering with the New York Organ Donor Network to increase awareness and foster understanding of organ and tissue donation in an effort to make organ donation a fundamental societal value.The New York Organ Donor Network is dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissues for people in need of life-saving and life-improving transplants.

Italian Heritage & Cultural Month
Celebrating Italian culture in New York, St. John's serves as the annual host for the Italian Heritage and Culture  Month. The event includes   exhibits, music, refreshments and a proclamation honoring local residents who promote Italian-American culture.                              

Great Lawn Summer Concert
Through St. John’s free "Great Lawn Summer Concert" series, Community Relations promotes cultural vitality in Queens by working with local civic and government agencies. Founded in 1953 and in its 60th season, the Queens Symphony Orchestra is the borough’s only professional orchestra and the oldest and largest professional arts organization in Queens. The Queens Symphony Orchestra is made up of professional musicians who also perform on Broadway, with the New York City Ballet, and other freelance orchestras.

Staten Island Concert Series
Richmond County Opera is the only non-profit Staten Island based professional opera company that has consistently served the greater SI community by performing high quality productions with a full orchestra. Its mission is to educate and to entertain via live opera productions so that it makes such music accessible to all, with low or at no cost tickets.

Veteran's Day Observance
St. John's University and Community Relations honor the brave men and women in uniform who have served our country. The annual Veteran's Day ceremony is held on both the Queens and Staten Island campuses.   

Community Dialogue Groups
Creating a forum for strong communications between St. John's and its neighbors, Community Relations established the Community Dialogue Groups in Queens and Staten Island in 1999 and 2000, respectively.  Members of the Dialogue Groups include representation from: community boards, civic associations, borough hall officials, state and assembly liaisons, merchant associations, local police precincts, student and resident life representatives and various University officials in the areas of public safety, facilities and student affairs.

The bi-monthly meetings of the CDG began a decade ago to provide a forum and direct communication with representatives of the local neighbors to hear their opinions, praise and concerns. University administrators in various departments from both campuses keep the community readily informed on developments and achievements that may be of interest.  Members of St. John's University’s Student Government, Inc. also represent the student body at CDG meetings.

Contact Us

Joseph Sciame
Vice President, Community Relations
St. John's University
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, New York 11439

Our Team

Joseph Sciame Headshot

Vice President for Community Relations
[email protected]

Joseph Sciame is Vice President for Community Relations and is an alumnus of the University. He has served in several capacities, which have included: Director of Financial Aid; Vice President for Recruitment Services; Acting Vice President for Enrollment Management and Vice President for Government and Community Relations. He has served as a Vice President for 30 years.

In his current position, Sciame interacts as a key University representative with various community groups and organizations surrounding the University campuses. He chairs regular bi-monthly dialogue groups to better communicate the University’s concerns as neighbors and to learn of their respective concerns. He has been honored on several occasions by the University and by student organizations for his leadership and commitment to St. John's.

Mr. Sciame’s commitment to service extends well beyond the University and its community involvements. He is a Board member of the Jamaica and Staten Island Chambers of Commerce; the Queens Symphony Orchestra; the Kupferberg Holocaust Center; Southern Queens Park Association; Queens Council, Boy Scouts of America and Chairs the Board of Ethics of the Town of North Hempstead, to name a few.  He is the founder and Chair of the Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School, a site of the former St. John the Baptist Elementary School that closed in 2010. A proud Italian American, he is the Chair of the Conference of Major Italian American Organizations,  the President/Chair of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee, NY, Inc. since 2006, a National/State Past President of the Order Sons of Italy in America and a National Past Chairman of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. A resident of New Hyde Park, he serves as a lector at his home parish of Notre Dame. He was awarded the rank of Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy and a Commendatore of the House of Savoy, as well as honored on other occasions by the Vatican as a Papal Knight with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.


Paul Lazauskas Headshot

Community Relations Associate Director
Government & Community Relations
718-990-1912 (o)
[email protected]