As St. John’s students begin piling in for the first day of class, they will find that their Student Government (SGi) has been at work over the summer. A new E-Board, led by junior Ethan Burrell, is attempting to usher in a freshman class and provide for returning students who haven’t been on campus for over a year.
“We have brainstormed so many new ideas and activities to begin the fall semester,” SGi told the Torch in a statement.
The main goal of SGi this fall, according to the email, is to balance safety with a satisfying college experience.
“We understand that many students feel disconnected from one another and also may not feel comfortable on campus due to being online,” Burrell wrote. “These are our main motivators when it comes to planning events centered around mental health and creating activities to push for a more connected campus.”
While SGi plans to host in-person events come September, such as the Activities Fair on Sept. 9, they are “unsure of how restrictions will impact [their program] due to the fact that just this Wednesday a new mask mandate was announced.”
With a budget that remains the same as the previous year, SGi has planned multiple different initiatives on behalf of the student body. This includes a noticable difference when walking into some women’s restrooms around campus. SGi has begun a partnership with Aunt Flow to “help end Period Poverty on campus,” according to their Instagram on Aug. 24. Aunt Flow has donated 500,000 menstrual products to different organizations during their time as an organization, and their mission is to ensure that everyone has access to menstrual products.
“Period Poverty is an issue that millions of people suffer with and we hope that the installation of several new product dispensers throughout campus will eradicate Period Poverty at St. John’s and ensure the comfort and safety of students on campus,” SGi said in their email to the Torch.
Menstruation product dispensers can be found in the following restrooms:
The D’Angelo Center’s first floor women’s restroom
The D’Angelo Center’s second floor women’s restroom
Marillac Hall (next to the food court)
St. John’s Hall’s second floor women’s restroom
St. Augustine Hall’s third floor women’s restroom
Citing a lack of safe and comfortable transport for students on campus, SGi is planning to implement “micro-mobility devices.” This includes a device called Wheels, for which dockets will be installed across campus “so that students can rent bikes to go from their dorms to class or go to areas around campus and shop.”
Payment plans and immediate access prices will be available for the bikes. Wheels is currently planned to be implemented next month.
To increase social interaction, SGi is using the Trova App. This phone app will group people together based on shared interests, and students can meet one another and communicate.
A peer support system is also being developed for students struggling with their mental health but who are not comfortable with speaking to an adult.
“By developing a peer mental health support system we are looking to create a safe environment for students to discuss and get help with their struggles,” SGi told the Torch.
An “organization olympics” is also in the works. Inspired by the Summer Olympics, SGi “[hopes] that the various organizations within SJU will participate and compete in different events, which will provide them with a break from the stress of school.”
SGi also plans to get Grammarly Premium for all students. Grammarly is an online extension that proofreads and edits papers, while offering suggestions to better the paper, according to their official website.
“We hope students will utilize this platform to improve their writing skills and make writing those research papers a little bit easier,” SGi told the Torch.
Though details were not provided, SGi told the Torch that they plan to celebrate Pride at St. John’s this year, according to their email.
“At the end of the day we are representative of the student body and as such we are constantly listening to students and their organizations on how to make their college experience the best that it can be,” the email stated.