The first annual Commuter Appreciation Week, sponsored by the Student Programming Board and Campus Activities, carried the message “St. John’s University – It’s more than just a place to park!” Every day from Mar. 19 to 23, students were treated to various events and activities in an effort to show that commuters are not only appreciated, but vital to the continued success of St. John’s.
“Inspiration for Commuter Appreciation Week stemmed from a workshop on commuter programming that the Student Programming Board attended last spring,” said Shanieka Aneliese Thompson, president of SPB. “We came up with different ideas and programs for Commuter Appreciation Week by looking at what other schools had done, taking suggestions from general members and collaborating with Campus Activities. We also took events that we’ve done in the past that we know are successful and timed them so that they would be more accessible to commuters.”
All activities throughout the week were free with a StormCard. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings were certainly popular, with the Commuter Caf√©, as well as free Dunkin’ Donuts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
“Any event with food will get a big turnout,” freshman Yvette Clairjeane said. “It was also a great way to start my mornings.” On Monday night, students competed for $200 in Commuter Jeopardy. Fun was had by all, particularly by sophomore Andrea Paz, who won.
“It totally made my week since I was low on funds and my birthday is coming up,” she said.
On Thursday night, commuters were treated to a comedy show featuring Gary Owen and Mike Bonne, which students said was “hilarious.” Other activities throughout the week included programs about how to get more involved with the school, time and stress management, and how and where to look for apartments.
During common hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there was an opportunity to get customized key chains and frames or personalized street signs and license plates. Students attended a showing of “Rocky Balboa” in the Little Theatre, a resum√© workshop, job fair and free smoothies in the University Center. But by far, what appeared to be the most anticipated event of the week was massage therapy on Friday afternoon in the U.C. lounge. Back and foot massages and henna tattoos allowed commuters to relax before going home for another weekend away from school. On Friday afternoon, winners of the raffles were announced. Prizes included a PSP, portable DVD player, iPod, free Kaplan tutorial sessions, a monthly MetroCard, a $100 gas card, and free exams for the GRE, GMAT, LSAT and MCAT.
Was Commuter Appreciation Week as successful as Student Programming hoped? Daniel Chartock, a junior advertising major, seemed to think so.
“It, for the first time in my St. John’s career, acknowledged the original building blocks of St. John’s University – the commuting students. There are so many programs dedicated to resident students. This was a welcome relief.”
Junior Jeffrey Pierre-Louis felt that every event catered to the needs and interests of the majority of commuters on campus, specifically in terms of the timing of events and event content. “I really enjoyed each event I attended and look forward to next year’s Commuter Appreciation Week,” he said.
With such strong feedback, it seems that Commuter Appreciation Week could become an annual event, adding to the success of St. John’s in making all feel welcome, no matter where one lives.
“I personally feel that this was a huge success based on student involvement,” Thompson said. “We expect great things to come from this. But overall I think the success of Commuter Appreciation Week can be measured by the comments of the students who participated.”