The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Let me begin by stating that I loved this week’s edition of the Torch. I read your pieces about student retention, involvement and your interview with Rev. Harrington and I felt compelled to write to you.

I wear two hats here on campus; I am an RA and the President of the College Democrats chapter here at STJ. As an RA, I have personally seen that the situtation in the residence halls has begun turning people away. If you were to average rent at $500 a month and gas at $3 a gallon, it is cheaper to live off campus than it is to live on.

Also, if you live off campus you get the added perk of not having to live by the strict rules and you do not have to live through the 3 a.m. fire alarms. As an RA, I hear these complaints all the time and often do not have an answer to provide.

While the Department of Residence Life has been doing an outstanding job with what they have at their disposal, I believe the school needs to work on providing students better incentives to live in the residence halls in order to promote campus pride and a stronger retention rate.

As the President of College Democrats, I have issue with your piece on student apathy. This year our organization has proved that apathy is not the case here on campus.

During the fall, we had meeting attendance rates as high as 52 people, and an average over four months at 32. In September we had 17 people standing at tables registering over 700 STJ students to vote.

In freezing temperatures, we managed to pull over 15 students to spend their weekends knocking on doors and making phone calls for assorted candidates during the 2008 election season.

Our cooperative work with the Participate in ’08 committee brought us a debate with the College Republicans bringing in 300 members of the STJ community, the candidates forum bringing in around 400 people from students, administrators and the surrounding community, and an election night watch party which, after a lively celebration on the great lawn, brought in a packed Council Hall.

So I must disagree with the notion that students are apathetic. While I agree that there is a shortage of STJ pride, I think refering to the student body as apathetic is erroneous; there’s hope for us yet!

As for a solution, I’m not sure that’s something we can manipulate. Even though the school has spent a ridiculous amount of money on incentives to pull people to the basketball games, more than half the population still hasn’t attended a single game. If free prizes and money do not attract people, I am not sure what will.

The new UC/AC is great, but keep in mind that this is just a building. The key is reaching out to the people in that building.

Thank you for your time and the work that you do.

Nick Roloson
St. John’s College

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