At St. John’s University, students find it necessary to create hangout spots to escape the every day stresses of academic life. Hangouts are found all over campus: The University Center, Marillac Hall, and most recently, “The Strip,” as many have called it.
“The strip” gained its popularity over the past few years with the increase of resident students and the many activities conducted in Montgoris dining hall and in the Residential Village.
Some students feel that “The strip” only attracts African Americans and Latinos, but this is not so. This would be the case if the residential halls were made up of only African Americans and Latinos, but it is not- the halls are very diverse. “The strip” is a place where all groups hang out, though some more than others.
“The strip” has grown into a place of harsh judgment and fashion critique, though it is really no different from anywhere else on campus. Students can pass judgments on fellow students walking out of the library. The fact of the matter is a dirty look or a nasty glare is just that. To make the assumption that you received the dirty look because you do not belong is ridiculous.
The issue of “The strip” being a place of discomfort and racial segregation is a repeat of Marillac two or three years ago. Students who attended St John’s a few years back can say that Marillac was to be avoided. It was dubbed “groupie land” and was in fact considered a “runway” much like “The strip” is today.
The University center also went through its phase as being the “hot spot.” The point is that the so called “strip” is just that, a strip. It is not a representation of a racial or segregation problem. It is human nature to congregate with people you have things in common with, whether it be race, interests, the same major, etc.
As students attending St. John’s, we do interact with each other. The organizations on campus are very diverse in membership. Instead of being critical about a strip that really only represents that in which it is named, we should embrace the fact that we are lucky enough to attend a school that is so diverse.
As students attending St. John’s University, we should give ourselves more credit. Whether we are rallying against breast cancer or helping the victims of Katrina, St. John’s students know when it is time to act as a community. Our sense of community, no matter how diverse and at times divided it may be, remains strong and apparent.