Center for student athletes revamped

The new Student Athlete Center for Academic Excellence provides student athletes with a bigger facility than their prior office and offers students more academic support than before. The new facility is located in Carnesecca Arena, replacing the previous office, a small trailer located outside of Marillac Hall.

“The old center really didn’t represent the commitment St. John’s University has for student athletes to be successful,” said Eric Reinecker, director of Academic Support Services for Student Athletes. “The feedback we’ve received from coaches and students is 100 percent positive.”

The official opening of the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence this past August launched the 2007-2008 school year for athletes and staff.

Five key focus areas make-up the foundation of the Student Development Center: academic support, career development, personal development, leadership, and community service.

The 4,000 square-foot center features offices for directors and Rev. Tri Minh Duonh, Campus Minister for Athletics.
It also includes a large study room, four individual tutoring rooms and a conference room for multi-purpose use.

“Having study hall in Carnesecca is easier for the student-athletes because regardless of what sports team they’re on, they’re in Carnesecca for practices or games already,” said Charisse Curtis, a women’s basketball player and a communications major.

Dan Goldberg, a lacrosse player and business management major, agrees with Curtis.”The overall atmosphere is better,” said Goldberg. “If you need individual help, they have tutor rooms.”

SJU requires that student-athletes maintain a 3.0 GPA each semester.

The bar is set especially high for Division I athletes; if obligations are not met, a mandatory minimum of six hours in study hall and weekly meetings with an academic advisor is enforced.

Student-athletes additionally must meet tough National Collegiate Athletic Association guidelines for academic and athletic eligibility.

“Most schools are a 2.0 GPA- their goal is to keep students eligible, our goal is to make students leaders,” said Reinecker.
The Student-Athlete Center for Academic Excellence is open from nine a.m. to 10 p.m. and gives students free range to take advantage of study hall hours and one-on-one tutoring.

Previously, study hall hours and tutoring were held all over campus in Sullivan Hall, Marillac and rooms in the Athletics department. The center provides a central location for all student-athlete needs.

“I want it [academic center] to be a one-stop-shop for athletes to come in for tutoring, community service and to help them find the answers to their questions,” said Emily Parella, Assistant Director, Academic Support for Student Athletes. “We invested money into the athletes for their future success.”

Just over two weeks ago, Chris Monasch, Director of Athletics, along with the entire staff for student-athletes, dedicated the new Student Athlete Center for Academic Excellence.