SGi Assembly Meeting: Students Plan To Start SJU Swim Club

Second-to-last Student Government, Inc. assembly meeting introduces a potential swimming club at St. John’s.

Torch Photo / Dea Hoxha

The St. John’s Student Government, Inc. (SGi) held an assembly meeting on April 3 in St. Albert’s Hall Room B70. With election results announced on April 5, the executive board is preparing for the transition. The meeting began at 5:05 p.m., marking the second-to-last SGi assembly meeting of the semester. 

Members of the SJU Swim Club introduced their plans to form a swim club at St. John’s, seeing it as an opportunity for students to learn how to swim. 

Captain Bernard Juncaj, Co-Captain Melanie Franco and Secretary Beatrice Persaud explained how the club would not solely be open to professional swimmers but beginners as well. 

“We have 17 Division I sports, and I was surprised swimming isn’t one of them,” Juncaj said. “My ultimate goal is to eventually have a pool on campus.”

While they doubt that they can build a pool in the University in the near future, they proposed the YMCA Hillside Pool, which is five miles away from the Queens campus.

St. John’s had a Men’s Swimming team from 1964-2004 and a Women’s Swimming team from 1973-2004, but the program was shuttered following the 2003-04 season. The on-campus pool was located where the Fitness Center currently resides in Carnesecca Arena.

“I was never aware that there was a swim team. All I knew going into this is that there isn’t a team and that I want there to be something available for students to have the option to swim and eventually create a team,” Juncaj told The Torch. “The pool was taken out specifically because of ‘capital expenditure issues.’”

He plans to reach out to Campus Recreation regarding funding “a pool to rent off-campus and even possibly having a pool of our own in the future.”

“I understand it raises financial concerns but pools provide job opportunities for students as well as helping St. John’s continue its effort of establishing itself in the community by renting [the pool] out like most pools do to local teams or smaller youth clubs,” he said. 

Anthony Cannatella, theology professor at St. John’s, endorses the club. Juncaj said Cannatella is a high school swim coach. Juncaj swam professionally in high school.

“We have about 40 students who are interested in the club,” he said.

The club wants to contact the Department of Public Safety to organize a shuttle that would take students from campus to the pool. For financial reasons, they plan to hold practice once a week. 

SGi President Ethan Burrell recommended the club to reach out to Campus Recreation as he isn’t sure if SGi can fund the club right now. “Try to reach out to campus recreation first, and then come back to us.”

Juncaj explained how the venue would charge two to three hundred dollars per hour. 

As voting for elections neared a close, SGi organized an ice cream truck in front of the D’Angelo Center on April 3, where they set up a voting table and gave away free ice cream to St. John’s students. The truck was open from 1:50 p.m. through 3 p.m. SGi Secretary Julianna LoMonte said they “got about 300 students.” The executive board is positive about this year’s voter turnout. Voting closed April 4 at 11:59 p.m., the results were announced on April 5 at noon in the D’Angelo Center Coffeehouse.

The last assembly meeting will be held on April 17, where the newly elected executive board will be introduced. The new speaker of the student senate will also be announced at the meeting.