St John’s has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. As the Master Plan rolls forward, SJU has built new residence halls, new stadiums, new places to park, and new places to eat, with more still to come. In terms of construction, there is little that has been overlooked.
Policy, on the other hand, has been slower to catch up with the changing campus landscape, as any resident student from last year will testify.
This year, however, is very different.
St. John’s has been remarkably complete in its response to students’ complaints and requests. The Residence Hall Association, where students brought many of their complaints last year, no longer allows Resident Assistants to hold office in the hopes of preventing conflicts of interest.
The new Donovan Hall has eased the housing crunch on upperclassmen, and the hours of the mail room have been extended.
Late Night may be a thing of the past, but the new convenience store easily makes up for it ten thousand fold. Students staff the security desks during the day, providing relief for Public Safety and income for the students.
Even Move-In Day, drenched with rain, was drastically improved from last year thanks to Public Safety’s organization and efficiency.
Beyond the Residence Village, there is a stricter grading policy, a push against plagiarism, a conference room for club meetings, a new lounge for the Honors program, and an active Student Government, Inc., intent on having clubs running smoother than they have in the past.
Changes to the Residence Village make St. John’s a nicer place to live, but these changes make St. John’s a better university overall. The new grading policy and the fight against academic dishonesty might irk some students, but both efforts improve St. John’s reputation and increase the value of the degrees it grants.
Student Government, Inc. has done its part to improve student life, too. Some of the policies, such as fining clubs that do not send representatives to the organizational council, might seem heavy handed, but they serve the higher purposes of keeping clubs connected and preventing massive scheduling conflicts.
St. John’s is a different place than it was five years ago, two years ago, or even last semester. More and more, it becomes apparent that St. John’s is dedicated to self-improvement.
So much has been changed for the better, in fact, that we here at The TORCH are hard pressed to find something to complain about in our first issue.
Nothing is ever perfect and the honeymoon will surely end, but at the very least, University administration deserves a break from our philippics and has earned a compliment or two.