Reaping in the benefits

Throughout the fall semester, St. John’s students have been able to earn points for attending campus events, as part of the MVP Rewards Program, developed by Student Affairs.

John Kelly, graduate assistant of Student Engagement, said he feels the program is working well so far.

“[The MVP Student Rewards Program] has been extremely successful during its first two months in existence, and we look forward to its continued success and evolution,” he said.

Christina Zaccarelli, vice president of Student Government, echoed Kelly’s sentiments.

“The student response has been very positive. We have seen a major increase in attendance from last year to this year,” she said.

According to the Office of Student Engagement, as of October 2009, 6,095 students have participated in MVP events.

There has also been an increase in the number of students who have attended athletic games with 2,693 attending events in October 2009, up from he 861 who attended in October 2008, and an increase in the amount of students who attended Homecoming and Family Weekend.

Although the program has been seen as a success, some students were not aware of the MVP program until later in the semester. Sophomore Samah Mozumder said she did not know about the program until she first encountered an MVP Reward event by chance.

“I just stumbled upon a booth at the Activities Fair that offered to swipe my Stormcard for points,” she said.

Kelly was one of the main individuals responsible for spearheading this program, in addition to Mary Pelkowski, associate dean for Student Engagement.

According to Kelly, the idea for a student engagement rewards program had been tossed around for some time preceding spring 2009, when students and administration met to formalize a plan for the program.

In order to gain points, students can attend a variety of events on campus, which include athletic games, Redzone student section away trips, campus activities, commuter programs, weekend events, campus recreation, fitness classes, Career Center workshops, LEADership development events, academic lectures and Student Wellness events.

The MVP Student Rewards Program works as follows: each time students swipe their Stormcards at an event or athletic game, MVP “points” accumulate on their cards, making them eligible to receive prizes when they have reached a certain amount.

Upon reaching 25 points, students can receive a free Seein’ Red T-Shirt and at 50 points, students receive a long-sleeved St. John’s T-Shirt along with a free drink from either Starbucks at the Queens Campus’ D’Angelo Center, or from Dunkin’ Donuts at the Staten Island campus. Students may track their points online via their UIS accounts.

However, students on the Manhattan campus do not have the same opportunities to gain MVP points, like the other campuses. Mary Wang, a sophomore Manhattan resident student, feels that it is of an unfair advantage for students who already live on
the Queens or Staten Island campuses.

“If I want to get any points, I have to trek out to the Queens campus and attend events,” she said.

Beyond 50 points, students can save up for more elaborate prizes, such as movie tickets, an official Redzone Student Section backpack, gift cards, MetroCards, and an X-Box or iPod Touch.

And at the end of the year, the student who has amassed the most points will receive a $500 American Express gift card.

A full breakdown of point values can be viewed in the MVP Student Rewards Program brochure on the MVP Points link on the University’s Web site.

According to the MVP Student Rewards Brochure, unused points rollover from the fall to the spring semester; points expire at the end of the last week of classes of the spring semester; a student’s points can only be redeemed the last week of each month. Prizes are subject to change depending on inventory and it is the student’s responsibility to make sure they find the swiping location at the event.

Freshman Amarpreet Minhas said she disagrees with the new MVP program. “It’s the equivalent of paying someone to report good results for your product on a survey,” she said.

Zaccarelli said that with the opening of the D’Angelo Center on Dec. 7, students will have more opportunities to redeem their points next semester.