Now that the warm weather of spring has finally arrived here at St. John’s, Lourdes Way – or “The Strip” as St. John’s students refer to it – instantly becomes a place I loathe. While scrolling through my Twitter feed, reading Facebook statuses and simply talking to students on campus over the last few weeks, I have come to realize I am not alone.
The Strip is the long walkway between the Residence Halls and Montgoris Dining Hall lined with blooming trees and flowers where students who live in the Residence Halls have to walk to get anywhere on campus. Now it’s not The Strip itself I have an issue with, it’s what goes on there.
When I first got to St. John’s three years ago (woah, I’m old), I loved The Strip. I spent early evenings sitting out there basking in the few rays of sunshine left from summer. I would people-watch, chat with friends and once and a while I’d listen to people play guitar, further fueling my craving for that hipster-ish college experience.
But, progressively, The Strip changed. It no longer has an inviting and relaxing atmosphere. Instead, it’s now a place for rowdy parties to take place alongside bothersome catcalling and sensual dancing.
The transition began when I was a sophomore. I lived in Century Hall, the building closest to The Strip. I remember sitting on my floor, homework scattered everywhere, trying to cram for my last few finals. My bedroom walls shook and windows rattled as music blasted out speakers on The Strip. Out of complete annoyance, I often threw my papers in the air and looked out my window. The scene was always the same. A large group of students huddled around the DJ drinking out of red solo cups and dancing provocatively. I would immediately hit social media and vent my annoyance only to be reaffirmed in the fact a lot of St. John’s students felt the same.
At first, I was mostly frustrated that while my friends and I were pulling all-nighters, packing every last piece of information into our overtired and overworked brains, these students were outside blatantly partying on campus. But I have gotten to the point where The Strip is almost intolerable.
First of all, the catcalling. It’s an epidemic. It does not matter who you are or what you look like, if you are a female on this campus you have probably been catcalled at least once.
I have to walk by The Strip at least once a day and in the springtime it is seriously disgusting. Guys calling out at girls every sexual thing you can imagine. Comments as simple as, “oh hey sexy,” to comments so illicit I cannot even put them in an editorial. Sometimes, I will see girls eat it up. On the other hand, I have heard from so many other girls – and I myself can attest – who steer clear of The Strip as much as possible because of this.
Last year administrators sent an email to the student body addressing the issue of catcalling. Unfortunately, the issue still exists there, even if no one is speaking up. When I contacted Public Safety about this topic, I was told there have been no complaints about catcalling this semester.
“We continue to monitor,” Tom Lawrence, Vice President of Public Safety, said. “We continue to do patrols along Lourdes Way.”
That’s a good start. But there needs to be more done to stop this issue. I still think it’s a problem and I know I’m not the only one. A campus that prides itself in being safe and secure for students has a high-traffic spot where females like myself walk by knowing there’s always the potential of feeling emotionally abused this time of year, and that’s not right.
On top of the catcalling, there often times are students performing sexually suggestive dancing that can be clearly seen from Montgoris Dining Hall that has made me lose my appetite on more than one occasion. I’ve sat with friends in Montgoris observing the activities on The Strip literally in shock. And the music can be so loud that ground in the general vicinity shakes. Don’t believe me? Walk by The Strip between the afternoon and early evening hours of 2 and 8 p.m. on any day and you’ll see.
Next year, I am moving off campus. I will miss a lot of things about life on campus here, but I definitely will not miss my windows shaking during finals weeks because of the music or feeling infringed by comments and lingering eyes as I walk on my own campus. I also won’t miss the frustration that it continues to take place, that it’s not being stopped.