Volume 95, Issue 4

Page 1

VOL 95 : 01 September 13, 2017 The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University


"Welcome the stranger" University works to ease anxiety amid DACA repeal

inside THE ISSUE Reactions on hurricane harvey's devastation


Spirit rock revealed


Protesters walking over the Brooklyn Bridge.


Ariana Ortiz

Co-News Editor University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw responded to the Trump Administration’s controversial decision to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by reminding the university community that he is among hundreds of college presidents who called for the DACA program to “be upheld, continued and expanded.” In an emailed statement on Sept. 6 sent by Internal Communications, Gempesaw referred to his own status as an immigrant to the U.S. and said, “I hope and pray that leaders in the federal government will negotiate and pass a comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a fair, just and timely path forward for all those registered under the DACA program and for all those still living in fear in the shadows of our society.” Gempesaw added that this year St. John’s is marking the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian charism that is themed “Welcome the Stranger.” “It is,” Gempesaw added, “a fitting reminder of what our University stands for and our moral obligation to help those most in need.” Gempesaw called on the University community “to draw strength from our founding mission to be a place for immigrants and their children to attain a quality education,” and said that the University will continue to monitor the status of the repeal to determine how best to “respond and support those impacted by the decision.” He encouraged students with questions to contact Student Affairs. On Sept. 5 President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA will be rescinded. Sessions said that a “wind-down process” of the program will be taking place, as well as a six-month period for Congress to pass a replacement for it. “We cannot admit everyone who would like to come here, it’s just that simple,” Sessions said during the announcement.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, DACA was established by the Obama administration on June 15, 2012, allowing certain undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 “a period of deferred action as well as eligibility to request employment authorization.” According to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) report, over 790,000 undocumented immigrants have obtained work permits and received deportation relief through DACA since it was implemented; only those who have not committed any crimes and were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012 qualify for the program. Those whose DACA permits will expire between now and March 5, 2018 must renew their status by Oct. 5, while new applications are no longer being considered. The majority of DACA recipients’ country of origin is Mexico, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to USCIS data. Gempesaw, in his emailed statement to the University community, said the 800,000 DACA beneficiaries “have already been vetted by a rigorous application process and have resided in this country since 2007. They have been, and continue to be, contributing members of society. Many are exemplary scholars, student leaders and some even serve with distinction in the armed forces and pay the ultimate sacrifice for our country.” Some student leaders on campus said they believe the University can do more to reassure students concerned about their immigration status. “I think the ideal way to go about this situation is to make these students feel like they are secure in the university that they chose, that their school will do everything in their power to protect them,” said Sieta Leon, a junior and vice president of the Latin American Student Organization. Continued on page 3




University Unveils the Spirit Rock

New installation to become a symbol of more than 140 year-long tradition Ariana Ortiz

Co-News Editor The University’s new “Spirit Rock” was unveiled last Tuesday, Sept. 5 on the Sullivan Hall Roadway, drawing a crowd that included dozens of students, student athletes and faculty. The event began with a performance by the University’s Pep Band, and its featured speakers included SGI President Frank Obermeyer, Graduate Assistant for Student Engagement Ridge McKnight, Director of Athletics Anton Goff and Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs Kathryn Hutchinson. The Spirit Rock, which is painted red and emblazoned with the words “We are... St. John’s,” can now be found in front of Sullivan Hall. Obermeyer thanked the University’s student athletes, referring to them as “a great point of pride” at St. John’s, as well as all those involved in making the Spirit Rock a reality. “A few weeks ago, that rock was sitting behind our campus garden. And now, it’s sitting here in this beautiful place,” Obermeyer said. He went on to call the Spirit Rock a symbol of St. John’s 147 year-long tradition.

Rev. Richard Rock, who delivered the blessing of the rock, referred to it as “a symbol of courage and strength.” “We ask that this Spirit Rock remind us of your blessings on all of our student athletes and fans, as it becomes part of the university landscape that is built on the tradition of some of the most amazing leaders,” Rock said during the blessing. Anton Goff then took to the podium to expound on the Spirit Rock’s meaning for the University community, which he said he hopes will be an inspirational one that encourages a sense of camaraderie on campus. “Whether you’re a student athlete, regular student, whether you’re an alum—whatever you’re trying to do, hopefully this rock will inspire you,” Goff said, addressing the crowd. Hutchinson, who spoke last, emphasized that the rock is also representative of St. John’s Vincentian tradition of helping others, and invited students to come forward and tap the rock—a practice which she said will solidify itself as a University-wide tradition. “As you tap the rock, may you gain strength, may you feel the blessings that come with being a member of the St. John’s family,” Hutchin-

The spirit rock’s home is across the road from Sullivan Hall.

son said, and invited all student athletes present to line up to tap the Spirit Rock. Maia Cabrera, a freshman and women’s soccer team player, expressed that while she has never seen anything like St. John’s new Spirit Rock, she believes it will be a positive addition to the campus.


“I think it can really give students support, and inspire them to strive for excellence,” Cabrera said. Emily Purtell, also a freshman and women’s soccer team player, said, “I think everyone needs something to fall back on, to give them hope. That’s what the Spirit Rock is.”

President Gempesaw Addresses SJU A focus on “student success” and “inclusion” are top priorities for new year

Isabella Bruni

Co-News Editor

St. John’s University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw delivered his third annual State of the University Address on Sept. 6 to faculty, students and alumni, highlighting key information from the past year. The theme of the address, “Accelerating the Momentum for Change” related to the University’s past, present and future advances and plans for a better St. John’s. The address took place in the newly renovated Marillac Auditorium and was livestreamed for all St. John’s campuses to view. Junior Kayla Knight sang “America the Beautiful” to open the event and was followed by Student Government Inc. President Frank Obermeyer who gave an introduction for Gempesaw. Gempesaw spoke on many topics surrounding St. John’s including student enrollment, student retention, financial aid, career placements, faculty, renovations, gifts, collaborations and his priorities for the upcoming school year. “We have established momentum during the last three years,” Gempesaw said. “Because of your hard work and commitment to our strategic priorities.” Gempesaw kicked off his statistics with undergraduate enrollment which in six years dropped from 11,840 in 2011 to 11,731 in 2017. However, enrollment for first year students rose from 2,763 in 2011 to 2,950 in 2017. Nearly one third of this year’s incoming freshman, Gempesaw said, came from Catholic high schools and was also the largest entering first-year class of any Catholic college or university in the nation. An average SAT score of 1150, average ACT


President Gempesaw delivered his annual address Sept.6 in Marillac Auditorium.

score of 25 and average GPA of 3.9 makes this class, as he said, an “academically gifted one.” Graduate enrollment came in at 4,633 in 2017, which is lower than 2011’s 5,301. Gempesaw said he wants to focus on achieving higher graduate enrollment and reverse and “intake smaller than outtake.” First year student retention rates are gradually increasing, according to Gempesaw, as in the 2010-2011 year retention was at 78.7 percent and the 2016-2017 year retention was 83 percent. 2014 was the first year retention went above the 80 percent and Gempesaw believes that if it weren’t for the Excelsior Scholar Program the school could have reached 85 percent. Gempesaw was particularly proud to announce that $237 million in unrestricted institutional financial aid was awarded to 89 percent of all students. “St. John’s has had a remarkable record of providing access to higher education for young women and men who might not oth-

erwise be able to afford college,” he said. “However, it is not enough that we provide student access—we must also focus on student success.” Career placement was also high as 94.3 percent of the class of 2016 were employed or enrolled for advanced study within six months of graduation. Moving into the realm of faculty, Gempesaw said that in the past three years the University has hired 112 new faculty members and created 46 new positions. Next fall he hopes to hire 45 more faculty members and create 12 new positions. One of the most visible changes the St. John’s community can see are renovations. According to Gempesaw, there have been up to 70 renovations made on campus, the largest of the projects for the Tobin College of Business also known as Bent Hall. Enhancements to the building include the Lesly & William Collins Business Analytics Lab, the Paul & Carol Evanson Career Center and the Valerie & Gerard Sodano Dean’s Suite.

St. Augustine Hall now has a Homeland Security Lab, the first of its kind in the whole Northeast, a Cyber Security Lab, a Multi-Purpose Room, a Computer Science Lab, an Innovation Lab that is a hands-on design and test space where students learn to develop new products and an IDEA Lab, a creative space for students to produce digital and print media products. Renovations were also made in Marillac Hall, St. Albert’s Hall and the Long Island Graduate Center in Hauppauge, N.Y., which Gempesaw said would help expand St. John’s presence on Long Island. Gifts to the university totaled in at $22 million in 2017 from 11,786 donors, a large jump from $16 million in 2013. St. John’s also aims to share knowledge with New York Presbyterian Queens, Suffolk and Queensboro Colleges. Gempesaw ended his address with noting his top priorities for the new school year which includes enrollment and student success, academic revenue diversification and a focus in demographics, social, economic and diversity through advising and mentoring, inclusion in curriculum and recruitment. He hope to improve the learning environment, operate budgets and capital expenditures and build a sustainable relationship among campuses and locations. Academic, corporation, not-for-profit and auxiliary partnerships he seeks in the future as well. “I am sincerely grateful to all of you for your efforts to improve and strengthen our University,” he said. “Let us continue working together so we can build a much stronger foundation for future St. John’s students, employees, alumni, and friends in our community.”



DACA Repeal Response Night for Peace


Continued from page 1

Co-News Editor

Haraya, the Pan-African Student Coalition, invited students to wear all black and stand in solidarity against police brutality, white supremacy and gun violence last Thursday, Sept. 7 on the Great Lawn for their annual peace vigil. The ceremony allowed students to perform spoken word and share poems regarding the topics and also included a speech from a new minister at St. John’s, Ansel Augustine. The vigil ended with a candle lit ceremony and prayer. Tunde Aladetohun, chair of finance and membership of Haraya, said, “The purpose of the peace vigil was to uplift the SJU community, to spread awareness.” He added that “it was very enlightening and brought us together, it really emphasized that black is beautiful and encourages everyone to go further in life.”


Students lit candles to remember the victims of police brutality, white supremacy and gun violence.

Isabella Bruni

who is director of Catholic Charities New York’s Immigrant & Refugee Services Division and also an adjunct law professor at St. Chantel Ybarra, senior and secretary of LASO, agreed with Leon, John’s. Hutchinson referred to an email she sent to the Universibut also referred to the letter as “a great first step.” She suggested ty community via Internal Communications on Nov. 28, 2016, that the University release another statement openly reassuring af- which highlights the University’s “current practices concerning fected students that it is taking steps to protect them. Social Justice immigration.” Hutchinson said the practices cited in that email, Exchange (SJE), a new group on campus, criticized Gempesaw’s and stated below, are still applicable today: statement by saying, “it isn’t enough to say that they’re going to • The University is not required to, and therefore does not, ‘monitor the situation’ or ‘hope and pray’ for reform.” SJE said the track the immigration status of our students. University is obligated to honor its Vincentian values in taking • Immigration status is not taken into consideration when action for those in need. making decisions regarding housing, registration or other SJE suggested several additional measures the University could University processes. take, such as: joining students in a campus-wide protest of the • Our public safety officers are engaged in campus safety; repeal; offering free services to local community members who they are not law enforcement officers and are not directed need to renew their DACA status; sending a mass email outlining by immigration or other enforcement agencies. the rights of undocumented students, as well as offering training “It is so important for students to have the necessary informasessions for students on how to “effectively contact and lobby gov- tion to understand the changes in DACA, to know their rights, ernment officials.” The University has offered support resources to and to use the resources available to ensure they find good legal students who are concerned since the fate of DACA first came into counsel if that is what they are seeking,” Hutchinson said, who question after Trump was elected last November. also serves as co-chair of the President’s Multicultural Committee According to Vice President of Student Affairs Kathryn along with Vice Provost for Academic Support Services and Faculty Development Andre McKenzie. Hutchinson, those resources can be found Hutchinson also expressed concern within an “Immigration Resources” portal on about students falling prey to scams in MySJU, which students can access on the botwhich unqualified people claim to be letom-right area of the “Campus Life” tab, and gal representatives and charge exorbitant by faculty and administrators on their “How Do I” tab. The portal features assistance from We will continue to support all fees for their services, which has arisen organizations such as Catholic Legal Immi- of our students as full members of since President Trump’s announcement the St. John’s community. last week. She encouraged students to gration Network, the Immigration Defense take advantage of the University’s reProject and New York State Office for New sources as a first step. Americans. - Kathryn Hutchinson “I am concerned about the anxiety It also features “practical” guidelines from and fear the repeal of DACA has creatCatholic Charities Community Services’ Immigration and Refugee Services Division. ed and encourage students to seek out internal and external support services to Hutchinson added that this information was updated on the same day the DACA repeal was announced. assist them,” Hutchinson said. “As a Catholic and Vincentian UniHutchinson added that the President’s Multicultural Advisory versity, we respect the rights and dignity of each person and what Committee–which co-sponsored a panel of experts on immigra- they contribute to the larger St. John’s family. We will continue tion and DACA last December–is currently organizing education- to support all of our students as full members of the St. John’s al events to help the St. John’s community understand the Trump community.” Hutchinson added that students who are concerned or anxious Administration’s repeal of DACA. Hutchinson said the effort to provide resources to students is an about the repeal of DACA can seek help from the University’s ongoing collaboration between the University, Catholic Charities Center for Counseling and Consultation and Campus Ministry, and faculty within the law school. This includes C. Mario Russell, as they are equipped to provide emotional support.

Habitat is Happy for the“Habby” Award CHYNA INEZ DAVIS

Staff Writer Habitat NYC, the headquarters of Habitat for Humanity, announced on Aug. 17 that the University’s chapter would receive a Habby Award. According to Habitat NYC, the Habby Award recognizes “outstanding volunteers for their exceptional service”. Aitana Ruilova Castro, current president of Habitat, expressed her joy about the news. “It is very exciting,” Castro said. “Last year I was secretary of Habitat and I worked really hard – hand in hand mostly with our president and our treasurer at that time, Andrew.” Alongside former president, Reza Moreno, Habitat members network and compete against other colleges and universities. St. John’s Habitat chapter set goals to fundraise the most money and increase their organizations volunteering opportunities with the help of campus ministry. Victoria O’Keefe, Residence Campus Minister for Social Justice, served as moderator for last year’s chapter. Jordan Bouchard, Campus Minister, has now taken her place. “I am still in contact with both last year’s and this year’s President of the St. John’s University Habitat for Humanity Chapter.” O’Keefe said. “These are two of the many students who had a


Members of Habitat for Humanity, SJU chapter, at an on site project from last winter.

major role in the reception of this award.” Andrew Keith, senior and public relations director for Habitat, worked closely with Castro and Moreno on the e-board. He is continuing his involvement in the chapter for a second year. “It’s a great honor to be able to compete with the bigger New York City schools like NYU and Columbia,” Keith said. “For them to honor us, it’s a great achievement for St. John’s.” Hunter College, Queens College, Fordham University, and LIU Brooklyn are among the

long list of competitors. Last year, the St. John’s chapter brought new events to campus that involved more collaboration. St. John’s Student Government Inc. honored them with the SGI Award in recognition of it. Events that the organization is known to host include art nights, haunted houses and “Shacka-Thon” on the Great Lawn. “We doubled our fundraising from the year before, we had a lot of service hours…” Keith

added. “They [Habitat NYC] said our community outreach was a success.” In fact, last year’s Shack-a-Thon involved 14 organizations on campus and fundraised $2,000 in just two days. “We were also able to surpass what we usually donate to Habitat NYC,” Castro said. “We made $35,000 in a year, which is the most we’ve ever had and we’re also the number one chapter in advocacy, which was my job.” All members of Habitat for Humanity are driven by a shared passion for the work they contribute to the organization. “We believe in basic human dignity…a healthy and safe place to live for those that are less fortunate,” Keith said. “We believe that everyone deserves the chance to have a house.” As former president, Moreno emphasized that being in Queens provided more of an advantage in getting the community together and that the e-board operated well. “All of our passions were for Habitat,” Moreno said. Habitat NYC annually honors the best chapter at their Gala. On Oct. 17, Castro, Keith and Moreno, among others, will represent St. John’s University for their efforts. Castro would like to see her chapter receive the award again next year as well.




Junior Year: The Make or Break Year

The third year of undergrad tends to be a year riddled with decisions ANGELA KELETT

Staff Writer

building is which. The best places to eat have been established, and you do not waste time and money trying out new foods. Classmates whom you have had classes with for two years now become friends. You walk into a classroom on the first day and notice at least a couple familiar faces. Friends who you may have met freshman year or even sophomore year, start to become family. The friends you have made truly become your support system. As I venture into another year at St. John’s, I am still over-

whelmed by our sense of community. As a commuter, I feared I would miss out on the “college experience.” But, starting another year brings about new joys. You say hi to the barista at Starbucks who has made your drinks for two years. Professors you have had various times ask how your summer was. These simple things remind me what makes St. John’s special. Despite the stress that junior year will bring. I know that I will always have my little corner of the thirdfloor library to count on. TORCH ILLUSTRATION/ALEXANDER BREWINGTON

Junior year is terrifying as a high school student. As a college student, the terror is still present. It brings about life decisions and a significant amount of self-reflection. Although, as a college student it is just as rewarding as it may be terrifying. Some SJU juniors tend to finish most of their required core classes their sophomore year — which allows for a more focused and rigorous course load related to their major. You truly feel that you are focused in your major. That you are learning the tools to better prepare for your career. Although, the pressure to plan your career is ever present in this time. The second week of the new academic year has just ended, and I am already frantic to find an internship. The push to find “experience to broaden my knowledge” has gone from zero to a hundred. Junior year is also a time where you either love or hate your major. As someone who is

double-majoring, I can say I can visibly see which field I prefer. From freshman year to sophomore year, and now to junior year, my classes have become more focused on my career path. Despite some notions that journalism is a dying field, I’m confident I have been taught and am prepared to find a job in the ever changing field of multimedia journalism. The perks of junior year are just as great. You feel at home at St. John’s and that builds a sense of confidence. You no longer have to question which

PET PYVES Pros and Cons of the “Spirit Rock” YVES NGUYEN

Staff Writer

I don’t particularly want to criticize the “Spirit Rock” now outside of the D’Angelo Center (DAC) because everyone involved probably had good intentions. But truthfully, it highlights long standing problems at St. John’s. For a university connected to historic appropriation of Indigenous culture and lore, naming the rock “Spirit Rock” only illuminates how we haven’t moved past that history and righted those wrongs just yet. For those who aren’t as well versed in St. John’s history, our nickname used to be the “Redmen,” which eventually turned into a logo and mascot that in retrospect was a racist portrayal of Native Americans. Even today our mascot is Johnny Thunderbird, another appropriation of indigenous mythology from different tribes, according to the journal of Archaeology of Eastern North America—without regard for the cultural traditions, mythology, symbolic and spiritual importance of the creature to various indigenous tribes. Red Storm Sports said on its mascot history page online that they “did not have an original basis in Native American culture,” but that mirrors the events of today. Perhaps, the “spirit” in “Spirit Rock” means school spirit, as some may argue. However, using the term, and even moreso with the nature of superstition of gaining strength from the rock, still appropriates and erases indigenous culture. I don’t doubt that those involved had good intentions related to school spirit; however the word “spirit,” especially when connected to superstitious strength, har-

kens to Indigenous culture. Think of the term “spirit animal.” St. John’s events describes the rock as “a symbol of strength, boldness, and firmness [and] will become an important part of the St. John’s community and a source of strength for those who need it.” This begs the question: “For whom?” Moreover, the rock was originally supposed to be called “Pride Rock” according to the Blessing and Unveiling event post, but was changed for unknown reasons. If it could have been called “Pride Rock,” it could have been named anything else. Johnny’s Rock, Red Rock, Red Storm Boulder, even Dwayne the Rock. If St. John’s can’t avoid alienating indigenous students, who can they really provide strength to? All of this isn’t to say that I don’t like the idea of creating new monuments and traditions on campus, but let’s admit it— the rock is also a horrible shape, and it cost money to move it from behind Donovan Hall to where it is now. How much did it cost to move it? No one has said. But whatever the cost; some students are upset that any money was spent at all. We could have just gotten a brick wall or another statue instead of a big-red-rock. Here I question the various levels of approval for naming the rock that points to deeper problems in our university that calls into question just how open-minded and supportive our school really is. It’s all fun and games, if we ignore our history and the various identities of our community, but if St. John’s really wants to be an open environment, there needs to be more thoughtful and critical conversations about our campus.


The Torch conducted a poll about the “Spirit Rock” on our website. And the results were:


DACA Repeal: Unpatriotic, Anti-life and Non-Christian Staff Writer

On Tuesday Sept. 5th, one of the legacies that former president Barack Obama left behind was dissolved by the Trump Administration. It was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would end with a six month hiatus. This executive order issued by Obama on June of 2012, allowed for children that were brought into this country “illegally” the opportunity to work and go to school without fear of deportation. There is a window of hope to pass meaningful legislation for these Dreamers, a term that came out of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, and Trump stated on his press conference—by that I mean Twitter—that “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” It seems that the matter is being left to Congress, the same Congress that couldn’t get anything passed in 2012 or 2013. This seems to be a stroke of ego for mainly conservatives, to claim they are bringing back justice to their country, to make sure no one is getting unfair advantages. However, the notion of deporting people for coming here as kids at no choice of their own — is not just unpatriotic, it’s anti-life and non-Christian. Just from an economic perspective, DACA was self sufficient according to public data. According to the Journal of Public Economics, Volume 143 of Nov. 2016, DACA made these children employable, able to

pay into a system of taxes, increased their communities income distribution, and in conclusion or that made immigrant communities safer. These young Americans have not only become self determined, but they are model citizens, according to reports from The Hill. Immigrant communities are actually safer and less crime-ridden than their birthright citizen counterparts. The reason Dreamers are not only more educated, employable, and commit fewer crimes than their citizen counterparts, is due to how strict DACA qualifications were set out to be.


For a country that was built by immigrants, it’s disheartening to see immigrants of color be pushed aside as the wrong type of immigrants that should be allowed in.

The renewal fee itself is $400 every two years. Multiply that by 800,000 and that is an income of $320,000,000 to the U.S. government paid by these young adults. Many Human Rights watchdog organizations such as Human Right’s Watch, are claiming that the removal of DACA is a humanitarian issue, since many of the Dreamers have never been to their parents native countries and have spent most of their lives as Americans. For a country that was built by immigrants, it’s disheartening to see immigrants

of color be pushed aside as the wrong type of immigrants that should be allowed in. It can be said that there are laws in this country and that the rules need to be followed; that is understandable. However, no one came into this country by the rules, and no one asked for stake in this land, I am sure the Native Americans would love a word with modern day descendants of European conquerors that came to forcibly take the Americas away from them. As a nation that is apparently Christian, it’s odd to see many conservatives happy with the DACA repeal, as if that’s the moral and ethical standard we should have in this country. About 40 years ago, debate about immigration was compassionate towards undocumented Americans by Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan. Ironically, it was the Reagan Administration that passed Amnesty and granted citizenship for undocumented Americans, as he saw it as the right economic and moral decision to make. What is great, nonetheless, are the people that are standing up for Dreamers, those that are out there ready to protest and mobilize against hate and bigotry. The president of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, has now filed to sue President Trump following a trend of many states and even cities, New York City being one of them. It’s hard to fathom how it must feel to live in limbo for the next 6 months, as Dreamers’ lives are at stake here. If not resolved, this can leave a stain on the fabric of this country, that won’t wash out anytime soon. The world is watching, what example are we going to set?

Opinion 5

M i lleN n ia l think “g2g my phone is dying” STEVEN VERDILE Design Editor


There’s nothing scarier than a phone battery at one percent. Cell phones are such an essential part of our lives that we feel naked without them, always in a chaotic frenzy to find an outlet and restore ourselves to a more comfortable state. This dependency can easily develop into an unhealthy addiction, an addiction that will quickly start interrupting your life. According to a study by Dr. David Greenfield, the director of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, close to 90 percent of Americans overuse, abuse or misuse their devices. Millennials are no exception to this statistic, and it is important that we pay attention to the time we spend staring at that four-inch, or larger, glowing screen. I’m a strong believer in the functionality and usefulness of having a smart phone. My smart phone is not only my main device for communicating with family and friends, but also my camera, my GPS, my source for news and weather, my entertainment system, my preferred shopping outlet, my alarm clock, my calendar, my bank and my notepad. I have thousands of text messages, hundreds of pictures, and 101 unique downloaded apps. When I decided to write this article, I did some initial research in the Safari app and a quick draft of this article in the notes app. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably realized (or already knew) how dependent you are on your phone. Once you’ve come to this difficult realization, what do you do? The most obvious answer is to cut back on phone use. Cutting back doesn’t have to mean deleting apps or leaving home without your phone, it can be as simple as keeping it in your bag during class, or placing it out of reach when you’re sleeping. Some people suggest not looking at it before eating breakfast, or leaving it in your car when you go out to eat. Another way to combat the negative effects of phone use is to try and make your phone time more productive. Make use of organizational apps to manage your time. Text old friends or family you don’t normally speak to. Download studying apps to help you prepare yourself for exams. Go read an eBook. Delete unwanted photos and apps. There are a ton of ways to combine phone time and productive time into one, and most of them are easy and free. Ultimately you have to decide for yourself whether or not your phone is interfering with your life, but an awareness of that possibility is a healthy way to start.




Flames of the Torch Reflecting on Sept. 11



Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Bryant Rodriguez, Managing Editor



Ariana Ortiz News Editor Isabella Bruni News Editor Derrell Bouknight Sports Editor Dylan Hornik Sports Editor Beverly Danquah Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor Angelica Acevedo Opinion Editor

Steven Verdile Design Editor Lauren Finegan Photo Editor Courtney Dixon Chief Copy Editor Amanda Negretti Assistant Photo Editor Erin Bola Social Media Manager Angelica Acevedo Social Media Manager Jim Baumbach Adviser

sju torch productions

This issue is dedicated to Bill Ciechalski.

Staff and contributors Chyna Davis Yves Nguyen Yuchen Jin Nina Stefanelli Andreina Rodriguez Tiffany Heravi Carolina Rodriguez

Alexis Gaskin William Ngo Alexander Brewington Carlos Ortiz Annastasia Marburger Tauhid Dewan Angel Vera

Editorial policy

Angela Kellet Sean Okula Langston Payne Nick McCraven Keisha Raymond Brianna Pace Brendan Myers John Cavanagh

About the Torch

Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch.

The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University.

Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University.

All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

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The Torch is typically published on Wednesdays and publishes approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.

mester and through the summer, the political climate, specifically, has continued to create tension among everyday people. It’s proof of how easy it is for us to lose sight of the bigger picture at times. And it’s natural; we’re only human. But times like these serve as a reminder for us to try just a little harder. We know it’s in our hearts. As you begin the new school year, remember Mary Kate McErlean’s words.

Managing Board XCV

On Monday, Sept. 11, we commemorated the 16th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Each year on this day, we are reminded of how unimaginable evil practically brought our nation to its knees — but we are also reminded of how exceptional strength brought us together and saw us through. Through the darkness we found the light; we found ourselves being able to trust again, and we found ourselves being able to love again. And as we welcome each other back to school, there is no better time than the present to remind each other of what it means to open ourselves up to one another. Mary Kate McErlean, who lost her father in the attacks when she was just eight years old, said, “… If you owe someone an apology, tell them you are sorry today. If someone asks for your forgiveness, forgive them. Start being the person you always wanted to be today and don’t waste your time worrying about tomorrow.” If you haven’t done this already, now is the time to start. Soon, the University will celebrate its 23rd annual Founder’s Week, with the theme of “Be Vincentian: Welcome the Stranger.” During this week several events will be held on campus to celebrate, concluding with University Service Day on Sept. 23. We hope you’ll all take the week’s events as a reminder that we can all stand to be a little kinder, a little more understanding, a little more helpful, and a little more loving. Since our last issue of the spring se-

Let’s start strong, with love in our hearts and our minds.

It’s a well-known saying that tomorrow isn’t promised, and it couldn’t be more true. Regardless of who you are, or what you believe in, there’s no better time than now to open your heart and to open your arms to others. Don’t hesitate to help someone out. Don’t think twice about making a new friend. And don’t let your pride get in the way when it comes to old friends. We at the Torch welcome you all back for another wonderful school year at St. John’s. Let’s start strong, with love in our hearts and our minds.

Vincentian View: The Final Act of Love “I pray that this year at St. John’s leads each of us along this path to wholeness and holiness” FR. PATRICK GRIFFIN, C.M. Special to the Torch The book which was chosen for the 2017 Freshman Read was “Why Forgive?” by Johann Christoph Arnold. The text offers dozens of true short stories about forgiveness which highlight its many incarnations as forgiveness of others, of self, and of seeking forgiveness. The book is short, but it cannot be read quickly. Many of the stories cause one to take a step back and place oneself in the predicament so as to ask “How would I act or feel in this circumstance?” and, “What difference would it make if I were the one asking or the one giving forgiveness?” The theme of this book found expression at the New Student Convocation, where

Patty Ann McDonald spoke. She is the widow of Steven McDonald, a New York City police officer who was shot in 1986 by a 15-year-old boy in Central Park. Paralyzed from the neck down, Steven and his family were forced to think about the need for forgiveness. At the time of the shooting, Steven and Patty Ann had been married for only months, and she was pregnant with their first child. For the next thirty years, they needed to deal with Stephen’s condition and to wrestle with the issue of forgiveness. Stephen would say that he needed to forgive his assailant every day because otherwise he could not get on with his changed life. He would be trapped in the anger and bitterness of the past. Patty Ann also spoke of her need to for-

give this young person as she faithfully loved and cared for Stephen. Their story gives flesh and blood to a human need. Reinhold Niebuhr writes that “forgiveness is the final act of love.” I understand how that can be true. One of the earliest stories told about St. Vincent de Paul deals with the peasant of Gannes. This man sought Vincent for the sacrament of Reconciliation—Confession. He was known to be a good man, but he confessed to Vincent the serious sin which he had been hiding. This admission and the absolution which followed set the man free from his yoke of guilt. He was healed by the sacrament, and Vincent was changed as well. The saint came to understand the great gift that he could give to people in bringing them God’s forgiveness and inviting them to a change

of life. One of the great blessings of being a Catholic priest is the opportunity to celebrate this sacrament of healing with people. Many people—some of you—carry around burdens which are difficult to bear. We have hurt people or been hurt by them and we cannot take that first step towards forgiveness. In the sacrament of reconciliation, a person is invited to admit his or her wrongdoing and to begin the process of change with the help of God’s grace. I love to celebrate this sacrament. Why forgive? To the extent that we can offer a response to this question we free ourselves and others, and we bring healing into our world. I pray that this year at St. John’s leads each of us along this path to wholeness and holiness.


An Eastern Mediterranean concept that provides old-world flavors and is veggie-centric friendly

Student Choice

Chef’s Table Tuesdays at Marillac from 12-2pm has an added feature; you select the menu! Pass by our new TV monitor and vote on what you would like to see next week


Improved menu options and an improved layout to enhance the customer experience BUILD – Pizza by Design Build your own personal pizza now at the Law School Café

The Dessert Shoppe

Will now provide fresh-baked products to the entire campus!

Market Staten Island

A complete renovation including an espresso program and enhanced culinary programming reflecting the latest local and regional trends


8 Features


Reflections on Hurricane Harvey

SJU students from impacted areas discuss the devastation faced by their families and communities as a result of the historic storm in Texas BEVERLY DANQUAH

Features Editor

In the midst of Hurricane Harvey and its watery aftermath, SJU students from impacted areas are finding ways to cope with the devastation brought by the storm and reflecting on its impact on their communities. In what has become a record-breaking storm, Hurricane Harvey’s death toll now stands at 70. Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), estimates damages from the storm to be anywhere from $150 to $180 billion, making it costlier than Hurricane Katrina. The Torch spoke to students Cole Bracey, Alison Preston and Linnette Ngohuynh, native to Southern Texas, and they all agreed that one of the most difficult parts of it all is being in New York while their families back home are dealing with the storm’s aftermath. “I was afraid for my grandparents since my grandfather is in the hospital,” Bracey, 20, said. “My grandmother stayed with him during the storm.” As the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston prides itself in being a destination point for people all across the country. St. John’s recruits students from Texas every year, and boasts about 1,000 alums in the state alone. Bracey, a public relations major from central Houston, says that his community was hit very hard, but that his home had little damage. “My family lost electricity and the generator went out soon after,” he recalled. “My aunt will be out of her home for about two weeks due to some water entering her home and mold growing.” Bracey says that although many homes in his community faced little damage, the streets were flooded leaving people stranded in their homes. “My sister had to be evacuated from her apartment while the streets were already flooded,” Bracey said. “So my parents showed up in a canoe to rescue my sister along with my niece and my nephew.” Bracey’s father is a physician in Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, which also happens to be in Houston. He said his father was busy tending to patients in the days after the storm. “He told me that it was really really difficult to get outpatient work done which is something that is hard to deal with when so many patient need assistance,” he said. Preston, 20, said her home faced little water damage. She admits she wasn’t worried about the storm when she first heard about it because Houston has a history of flooding. “My aunt’s house in Port Arthur, Texas was flooded out and the family had to be air-lifted away,” the biology student said. “None of my friends or family evacuated, but after the storm some had to relocate, and a couple of my teachers lost their houses.” Preston’s father is in the police force in Houston, the fifth largest police department in the country. She says that she is glad that her father is safe, after the Houston Police Department suffered a tragic loss during the storm. “My father lost a close coworker who was reporting to work during heavy rain,” Preston said. “That impacted me a lot because my dad was on

(Right) Coast guard helicopter searched for people who needed rescue as a result of rising floodwaters. (Left) An intersection engulfed in floodwaters.

Cars trapped as a result of rising floodwaters. A gas station became inaccesible due to rising floodwaters. the force for around the same number of years as him.” The officer, Sgt. Steve Perez, died after his patrol car was caught in floodwaters. “It could have easily been my dad in his situation,” Preston said. Ngohuynh, 21, a Houston native who lives in a city southwest of Houston, said her family is doing well. “My mom and dad said there was a lot of rain and my sister said a tree almost fell down on her,” the junior recalled. Ngohuynh says that there was a lot of water slipping under the cracks of the doors, so it was difficult to keep the house dry and keep belongings protected. Man navigates floodwaters beside parked cars in a Texas neighborhood. “Last week, I was on the phone with one of my cousins and he was telling me that half of his car is filled with water,” she said. “He had to call me back because the rescue team was coming to his house to talk about evacuating the area.” Ngohuynh said that some of her extended family members who also reside in the area had to evacuate north to Dallas because water levels began to rise. The toxicology major says she’s thankful that she was able to fly up to New York in time for school before the storm blew parts of her community underwater. She said that post-Harvey, her family is now facing another deterrent. “Not all insurances are willing to pay for the damages left after the storm,” she said. Ngohuynh’s family is now left to rebuild with limited funds from their in- Flooded streets engulf homes and cars as a result of the historic storm. surance company. All Photos Courtesy/William Ngo

Features 9


Tips for Staying Organized this School Year Studies say decluttering your life can reduce stress and make you happier


Staff Writer

As the thrill of starting of the new semester becomes overshadowed by the endless amount of work that piles up, students feel the stress mounting. Staying organized is key to being successful in school, as well as all parts of your life. Decluttering is actually good for your health! When you arrange your life, imagine yourself arranging the space inside your brain as well. You will feel like you have the room to accomplish your tasks. To start, make sure you have the tools to keep yourself organized. Supplies such as planners, folders, and binder dividers can be found for cheap at the dollar store. There is a school supply section virtually everywhere from the grocery store to the pharmacy. Look for colors and styles that you enjoy- having fun looking options will make you more inclined to use your products. If you have the means to splurge a little more on an item, then I suggest making it your planner. This one book should become the most important piece to you and the cornerstone to your organization. Get into the habit of whipping it out on the daily to keep track of all your assignments and appoint-

Photo Courtesy/Flickr Commons m00by

College student sitting at a small fountain studying during the summertime.

ments. Start every semester by going through your class syllabi and write down every important date listed. Typically a planner begins each month with a picture of an open calendar, and then launches into the space for each day. A pro tip is to flip to that calendar page after you have put in an important event in your daily space and log it there as well. This way you can see an overview of the crucial events for the month, such as midterm exams and va-

cation days. While I advocate for having a physical planner, there are also planner applications you can download on your phone. Find one that works across all your devices that way you have constant access to your calendar. Your virtual space is important to keep organized as well. Create clearly labeled folders in your documents. The best way is to have a folder dedicated to each semester, and then within that, a folder for each class. Go through

your desktop from time to time and clear away any items that are not necessary for quick access on a regular basis. To save memory on your computer old files can be moved to a flash drive or uploaded to a cloud service. In a similar vein, make your desk conducive to productivity. Take care not to overfill your desk with photos and tchotchkes, instead create an open plan where you have the space to utilize your books and laptop. A supply organizer is the best piece for your desk, it will keep all your items arranged as well as allow for quick access when you need to grab an item like a pen or highlighter. A college dorm room can be a tight space, so utilize options such bins and drawers that can easily fit under your bed or in the closet. There is a wide range of colors and styles to pick from. Looking online is a great way to find inspiration. Do your best to keep organized on the daily, of course with hectic schedules the mess can add up. Take time at the end of the week to having a cleaning session, for everything from your planner to your bathroom. Having an ordered space will leave you feeling more calm and collected, putting you in the best position when the week begins again. Keep calm and stay organized!

Ice-cream Joints to Visit Before the Summer Ends carolina rodriguez

Staff Writer

With the final days of summer quickly approaching, time is running out on trying out some of the best ice cream spots New York City has to offer without getting frostbitten by the harsh winter winds. So, before the weather gets colder than the ice cream you may or may no be holding in your hands right now, you might want to check out these spots: Serendipity 3 Located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this sweet site provides nothing short of a whimsical experience filled with sugary treats and ice cream. With menu items ranging from a classic frozen hot chocolate to a $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your craving. Momofuku Milk Bar With 9 locations scattered throughout Manhattan, there’s no reason not to stop by the Milk Bar. Not only does the Bar offer a delicious, unique, “Cereal Milk,” flavored ice cream, there’s a variety of cookies, truffles, pies, cakes, and breads that you can choose from, too. Big Gay Ice Cream Shop Whether you’re on Grove Street or East 7th, you won’t miss the giant, colorful,

swirly ice cream plastered across the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Only here can you get sundaes with names like “Salty Pimp,” and “American Globs.” You’ll most likely be met by a long line stretching far out the door, but it’s well worth the wait. Eggloo Have you ever had a literal waffle cone? Well, if you haven’t, you might want to check out Eggloo. With locations on Mulberry Street and Avenue A, Eggloo’s the place you can go to to get a cone shaped waffle filled with savory ice cream and all of your favorite toppings.

Photo Courtesy/Flickr Commons MrJamesBak-

Morganstern's Finest Ice Cream A self described “new American ice cream parlor,” Morganstern’s on Rivington Street offers a carefully selected menu of flavorful and decadent ice cream. It is prepared in small batches, and comes in novel flavors like “Bourbon Vanilla,” “Salt and Pepper Pinenut” and “Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.”

What was your favorite movie of the summer? NAOMI ARNOT Graphic Designer ALEXIS GASKIN Contributing Writer

I Am Not Your Negro

“I’ve always liked Baldwin, and I feel like its important to see some of the things that he was working on that we didn’t get to read.” -Tyler Bell-Santucci, Senior

Spider-Man Homecoming

“Tom Holland is actually an amazing actor and I believe he portrayed the part of Spider-Man very well. It was an interesting take to the series out of all the remakes.” - Anoosha Hamid, Sophomore

Spider-Man Homecoming

The Big Sick

“I thought it was really funny and really cute, and it was different than every other movie I’ve seen recently.” - Sarah Meiman, Senior

“I’ve always been a fan of Marvel in general, but my favorite has always been Spider-Man. I wanted to see how Tom Holland portrayed Spider-Man, and he killed it especially in the Peter Parker aspect.” - Aria Hall, Sophomore

The War for the Planet of the Apes

“I just thought it was really good.” - Aziah Duhon, Junior

Student Sparks summer favorites What was your favorite song or album of the summer?

Song: I’m The One by DJ Khaled

“The vibe to the song was just so great and when it played at cookouts with the family and stuff it gave off a fun time feeling.” - Nathaniel Matthews, Sophomore

Album: Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1 by Calvin Harris

“Best album of the summer! I like the way that producers do albums it has so much diversity and showcases how music is in general.” - Brandon Pack, Junior

Album: Science Fiction by Brand New

“This is their first album in eight years. They released an album, announced a tour, and basically shook up their entire emo cult following in one day after a year of silence.” - Sydney Potter, Sophomore

Song: Despacito (Original) by Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee

“I think that song captures what summer is supposed to be about and gives off the feeling of fun, relaxation, and companionship.” -Hector Vera, Sophomore

Song: Perfect by Ed Sheeran

“It’s such a beautiful song and cute! I love it. It reminds me of my boyfriend who I’ve known since I was 10.” - Tangina Alam, Senior

Entertainment 11


Movies that’ll shake you up michael ambrosino

Entertainment Editor

There’s a whole lot of craziness happening at the movies. From bank robbers and child-eating clowns to creepy social media stalkers, the cinema is popping and exaploding with quality entertainment of many different kinds. The standout films currently playing are the ones intended to shake you up a bit: “It,” the terrifying coming-of-age tale, “Ingrid Goes West,” the deranged dark comedy, and “Good Time,” the electrifying white-knuckle thriller. These exciting new releases are exceptionally well-made, hopeful to either horrify you, provoke some nervous laughter, make you grip your seat in utter suspense or perhaps even make you shed a few tears. They most definitely excel. Based on Stephen King’s classic horror novel and directed by Andy Muschietti, “It” is a superb coming-of-age story, just as it’s an effective horror film. It manages to frighten you and hold you in a tight grip, but it also offers up a sincere,

beautifully authentic story about children, their friendship and their alliance against the evil that torments them. It’s these kids and their camaraderie that make up the heart of “It,” and the young actors who portray King’s characters do phenomenal work bringing sincerity and realism to it. The film’s antagonist, Pennywise the Dancing Clown, is played wonderfully by Bill Skarsgard, who brings relentless intensity to the screen as he consistently confronts the young characters with their worst fears. This version of Pennywise will make you laugh, shiver and scream all at the same time, which is a testament to both Skarsgard’s talent as an actor and Muschietti’s talent as a filmmaker. His directing is polished and precise, and his set pieces are memorable and chock full of sheer terror. “It” is a great piece of work and one of the very best horror films of the year so far. “Ingrid Goes West,” directed by Matt Spicer, sees Aubrey Plaza turn in her best performance yet as the obsessive, unhinged yet oddly humorous Ingrid, who literally

heads west to hunt down and befriend the Instagram-famous Taylor Sloan. This is a very, fun dark comedy that displays well-realized characters and dialogue, and comments on the current social media-obsessed age we live in. Indeed the film gets pretty dark and psychotic, especially in the later moments. However, Plaza, Olsen and the rest of the class - including O’Shea Jackson Jr. - keep it vibrant, consistently likable and very, very funny. The Safdie Brothers’ “Good Time” is a taut, exhilarating, pulse-raising thriller with an electrifying performance by Robert Pattinson, who puts on a pretty terrific Queens accent in the role of Connie Nikas. The gritty visual aesthetic sucks you into the world the Safdie Brothers create, and the high-energy directing and high-stakes plot keep the urgency high and the intensity bubbling until the very end. This is most definitely one of the year’s best thrillers. Not only are these very good films, these are great theatrical experiences that should be seen on the big screen while the chance is still available.


A Notorious Life Join “AHS: Cult”

andreina rodriguez

the streets of Brooklyn and was discovered as a rap artist by the talent he presented Contributing Writer through small performances. Remembering Christopher, “Biggie” After 20 years since Biggie’s death, A&E shares some personal insight including intertakes to tribute the life of B.I.G. in Mark views from his close ones such as his mother Ford’s directed documentary, “Biggie: The Voletta Wallace, widow Faith Evans, close Notorious Life of B.I.G.” friend Lil’ Cease and members of Junior The 2-hour docuMafia, and icons mentary takes us on Nas, Sean Combs, a journey into the and Jay-Z. “Biggie” life of Christopher emphasizes a positive Wallace as a young outlook on the life of Catholic schoolboy, “...we see that he was mostly Christopher Wallace, born and raised in motivated by providing for his on what many may Brooklyn, New York have criticized as a with only his mother, family as much as possible, and life devoted to selling Voletta Wallace, to by spreading truth through his drugs and glamorizwords” raise him. ing it. However, we By 12-years-old, we see that he was mostly see Christopher as a motivated by providyoung artist, always ing for his family as writing and able to much as possible, and compose lyrics that flowed freely with beats. by spreading truth through his words. Throughout his life, despite his mother doOne thing we learn for sure is that he was ing her best to keep him off the streets, he truly confident, and this helped his fans feel believed hustling was the way to earn mon- just as confident through his vulnerability ey. that was very rare in rap culture at the time. He earned his reputation from those on He spread love, the Brooklyn way.

nina stefanelli

Contributing Writer

Even though the season premiere of “American Horror Story: Cult” was filled with gruesome clowns, over-the-top creepiness and political satire, the thing that struck me the most was the mental health issues that flooded the episode. They targeted anxiety, depression, and agoraphobia all mental health issues the main character, Ally Mayfair-Richards, suffers from. I felt that “AHS: Cult” did an amazing job of exposing the mental state, torture, pain and the suffering people with these issues go

through. It was beautiful yet sad and scary to watch Ally go through her mental state of torture and only to be made worse by Evan Peters’ character. Although the mental health awareness in this episode struck me the most, the political satire, although amazing, was very risky for “AHS” to put into their show. With so many shows getting negativity and backlash from their Trump jokes, I give credit to the show for taking the risk. The season premiere episode, as horrifying as it was, had a beauty of truth about something that is rare in most TV shows. The season is off to a great start and I can’t wait for the next episode.


12 Entertainment


Kara Zack warms up Java Johnnies Staff Writer

Once again, the Resident Student Association (RSA) hosted a fun community event at Java Johnnies in the D’Angelo Center (DAC) on Friday, Sept. 8. Friday’s event offered complimentary food and drinks, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, hot chocolate, Baskin Robbins ice cream sandwiches decorated with Johnny Thunderbird served by Johnny himself, as well as a game of Pictionary with Johnny and of course a live performance by country singer Kara Zack. Kara Zack sang and played the guitar for an hour with a very versatile set list. She sang her own original songs off of her EP, “Heartbreaker,” and covers from all different types of artists, ranging from Ed Sheeran to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Java Johnnies has always tried to introduce new, varied artists to the St. John’s campus. “We try to do a different artist every week, so we try to get country, jazz, any type of different artist,” the President of RSA, Roderick Jackson, said, and already in the first official week of school RSA has introduced Kara Zack a relatively unknown singer to St. John’s, and students seemed to enjoy it.

Cynthia Ng, senior, sand praises for Kara Zack, saying “I think the singer’s voice is very magical and makes me feel sentimental,” The performer, Kara Zack, also enjoyed St. John’s as much as some students enjoyed her music. She said, “This was so fun… Everyone seemed really into it, and the campus is beautiful, and everyone seemed so nice, so I was really excited to come here.” Everyone had fun at Java Johnnies, and Chandler Bishop, sophomore, summarized it perfectly, “I think it’s really cute what they did. The ice cream is really good, and having Johnny and everyone come together really creates a fun environment, especially after a long week of classes.” Students support Java Johnnies for different reasons. Victoria Carella, freshman, said she enjoyed it because it “is a really nice thing to do with friends,” and Jeremy Mesias, sophomore, said, “I feel like this is just a good way to support the St. John’s community and a good way to get involved.” Many students look forward to future Java Johnnies. “I think Java Johnnies has stepped up their game this semester, so I’m looking forward to what else they have in store for us,” Amanda Sylvain said. If you’re like Amanda Sylvain, Java Johnnies is every Friday in the DAC living room with food, drinks and performances.

“Death Note”

yuchen jin

Contributing Writer Netflix’s “Death Note,” directed by Adam Wingard and based on a popular Japanese manga and anime series, landed itself in hot water long before its release. It was widely criticized for whitewashing its cast, and given Hollywood’s abysmal track record with anime adaptations, such as Dragon Ball and Ghost in the Shell, it’s no wonder why audiences expectations were so low. “Death Note” follows a high school student named Light Turner (played by Nat Wolff), a typical genius and outcast character who wants to stand up for what is right. He stumbles upon the Death Note, a notebook that has the power to kill people whose names are written in it. He is goaded into using it by the book’s

owner, Ryuk (played by Willem Dafoe), a death god. After seeing it work, Light embarks on a vigilante mission to kill criminals, trying to shape the world into a better place. However, it devolves into a convoluted game of cat and mouse with the FBI. This adaptation thoroughly Americanizes the story, resulting in lot of missing cultural context. For example, the concept of death gods, or Shinigami, is common in Japan but it is never fully explained in film. This leaves the entire movie feeling off kilter and it is punctuated with cringeworthy moments. You’re never quite sure if you’re supposed to find the movie scary or funny. It doesn’t matter if you’re a longtime fan or just a casual movie streamer. Skip this movie and watch the original anime instead.



gmai torch.photos1@ oto? Send it to ph e rit vo fa a Do you have xt week’s issue! picture makes ne and see if your

“Little Evil”

lauren finegan

Throughout the movie, he tries to find ways to get rid of the devil within Lucas while convincing his wife, Samantha, that As Netflix continues to release new there is a devil within Lucas. As the film shows and movies, there are some that are continues with, Gary develops a bond not the success that they hoped. “Little with Lucas and ends up saving him from Evil” is a horror-comedy flick that is sup- being sacrificed to a cult. The ending was a nice way to tie-up posed to put you in a bad movie. the mood for HalThe movie was loween. filled with jokes that The main plot even your dad would of “Little Evil” is “The movie was filled with jokes laugh at, poor acta newly-wedded that not even your dad would ing, cults, demons man attempting to laugh at...” bond with his rathand the overly sarer unusual stepson. castic best friend to After several bizarre lighten the mood. accidents and irIf you are ever rational theories bored from studyof friends, Gary ing and want a bad Bloom (played by Adam Scott) believes movie to watch, “Little Evil” is what you that his stepson, Lucas, is the Antichrist. should be watching to pass the time.

Photo Editor

yves nguyen

Sports 13


SJU Athletes Encouraged to Speak Out


Contributing Writer

Over the past year, heated debates over race and social issues have transpired into mainstream media. An increase in racial conflicts and police brutality have caused many athletes to become politically active in a way not seen in recent memory, and not too many people are happy about it. Sports has taken us to an important national conversation of what’s going on in the world and how we cannot ignore it. With NBA stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and many other NFL athletes, including Colin Kaepernick, players have voiced their opinions on what’s going on in our country world and how a change needs to be made. Athletes have always been political and they should continue to be. Sports is a key aspect of America and these star athletes have a huge platform, especially in a time where social media and technology dominates our news. Many of these star athletes have over a million followers on social media sites, which encourages people to listen to what they have to say. College student-athletes look to use their platforms to express opinions about social issues as well. They have a lot more on the line, however, with the idea that they are representing their school. Many have to take into consideration that what they say reflects back to their institutions and athletic program St. John’s University is one of the most diverse schools in the country, with students from over 100

countries representing the university. St. John’s has diverse athletes as well, with multiple sports teams with athletes from other countries. When conflicts arise in this country that have to do with racial inequality and any other news affecting the athletes, they should be able to voice their concern for what’s happening. College athletes have an opportunity to speak up for those who can’t speak up, just like professional athletes. Anton Goff, St. John’s Director of Athletics, encouraged all of St. John’s athletes to use their voice to discuss what is happening around the world. “At St. John’s, we recognize that freedom of thought, expression, and speech are intellectual pillars of our University community and key parts of our Vincentian mission to serve those in need both locally and around the world,” said Goff. “In particular, we encourage our student-athletes to openly discuss their views on social issues.” Goff wants to make sure all athletes carefully consider the impact they can have as leaders within the University community and in society as a whole. It is St. John’s obligation as an institution of higher learning to promote reflection and informed conversation when supporting causes, both publically and privately. Goff wants to ensure athletes think about the long term effect of what they are saying rather than the immediate effect. It’s obvious that sports, in general, has an important impact on our society. Regardless, the United States of America should always stand as a country where athletes can express their political, social, and/or religious beliefs for freedom. In today’s society, the instinctive awareness is that everything is political, athletes should continue to explain themselves so directly to their fans.

Photo Courtesty/Athletic Communications

Athletic Director Anton Goff wants SJU athletes to be vocal about their social views.

Lacrosse Welcomes New Asst. Coach


Contributing Writer Success in sport can be elusive. It starts with a winning culture, established by a coaching staff that can lead with the experience of past triumphs in mind. Men’s lacrosse head coach Jason Miller has seen his fair share of success leading the Red Storm program, compiling 28 wins from 2011-14. Yet, the good times haven’t been rollin’ at DaSilva Memorial Field in recent memory. Six contests have gone the Johnnies’ way since that 2014 season, and Coach Miller recogniz-

es that the winds of change must blow in order for St. John’s to return to its winning ways. “We haven’t been that successful the last couple years, [so] it’s gotta start with our culture and how we go about our business,” Miller told the Torch this week, “I absolutely believe that it’s gotta come top-down, from myself and the coaches.” Sometimes, the best way to incite such a shift can come from a dosage of fresh perspective. Enter: Brendan Gibson. Miller welcomed Gibson, a former Yale standout attackman, onto his coaching staff as an assistant earlier this month.

Photo Courtesty/Athletic Communications

BRENDAN GIBSON joined Jason Miller’s coaching staff earlier this month.

The Chaminade graduate and Army veteran brings natural leadership and an aura of confidence with him to St. John’s, traits that have not gone unnoticed by his new employers. “He’s been involved from day one... he’s got a lot to say and a lot to bring to the table and we benefit as a staff from that,” Miller remarked, mentioning the “crop of young guys at the attack position” that will benefit from having such an accomplished goal-scorer impaling wisdom every practice. “Even I benefit from his input,” Miller said with a smile. And such valuable input comes from an accomplished career, both at Yale and beyond. Gibson was named captain of the Bulldogs in his senior year, a prestigious honor only bestowed upon one player per Yale team. The 95 goals he scored in his college years are tied for sixth on the school’s all time list, and his 141 total points are good for tenth place in the record books. He then courageously served our country from 2013-16, earning the Army Commendation Medal for his efforts as an all-source intelligence analyst. Upon returning home, he went back to his lacrosse roots and assisted the Chaminade freshman lacrosse team last season, before taking on his new role at St. John’s on September 1st.

Such impressive credentials has earned Gibson praise in high places. Around the time of the hire, Coach Miller spoke on the phone with Yale’s lead man, Coach Andy Shay. “The point that Andy made to me was that he was one of the guys out front in changing the culture [at Yale],” Miller later recounted. The conversation was music to the ears of a head coach looking to bring that winning culture back to Queens. So much time remains until the dead of winter gives way to the promise of spring. For now, all Miller, Gibson, and the Johnnies can do is work toward that new state of mind. A victor’s state of mind.

Interested in writing for the sports section of the torch? Contact our editors ! Our email is torchsports@gmail.com

14 Sports



Co-Sports Editor

Following the devastation caused this past week by Tropical Storm Harvey, which claimed the lives of at least 45 people and left thousands displaced from their homes, the St. John’s University basketball programs rallied together to help Houston-area victims in the aftermath. On Monday, University of Houston head basketball coach Kelvin Sampson urged college basketball teams from around the country to donate 20 shirts and 10 pairs of shoes, which would then be distributed to the thousands of people in shelters across the area. Sampson, who has coached at the university since 2014, included his address in a Twitter post that quickly went viral. He asked men’s and women’s programs ranging from high school to the NAIA to send the equipment or other valuable resources. On Wednesday evening, the St. John’s basketball teams collaborated to send out gear of their own. Stephen Dombroski, St. John’s Associate Athletics Director for Communications, said that the teams packaged sweatshirts, t-shirts and shoes to send to Houston. Dombroski said that Coach Sampson’s message was seen immediately, and that efforts to gather as much equipment as possible began when the

staff heard the news. “Right now, Houston has a variety of needs,” Dombroski said. “This was the least we could do.” An email was sent to St. John’s students Thursday evening detailing ways in which members of the university could also help. The email included a link to the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Disaster Services Corporation, whose mission is to “respond to disasters such as floods, wildfires, tornadoes, and other events throughout the United States,” according to their website. The council trains and prepares Regional Response Teams to serve victims of disasters. All donations go towards rebuilding homes, providing shelter, and aiding those who respond to disasters across the country. With applying to the laity, the Council aims to assist the needy. According to CBS Sports, nearly 400 boxes of donations were dropped off by campus mail, UPS and FedEX once the University reopened on Tuesday. It is anticipated that more supplies will be dropped off for at least another week. “We have between three and four hundred boxes so far, and are expecting 10 times that,” Sampson said to CBS. “We keep changing our projections, but we’re going to have north of 150,000 T-shirts. You know what that means? It means we’regoing to be able to help a lot of people.”

As Harry Cooksley dribbled the ball up the field, his six-foot- three frame zigzagging its way past Fordham defenders and into enemy territory on the first night of September, a new era of St. John’s athletics flashed right before the eyes of hundreds of antsy spectators. The fans in attendance at the men’s soccer home opener were eager, slowly rising from their seats as Cooksley’s foot directed the ball towards the Rams’ goalkeeper. Parents, students and supporters under Belson Stadium’s Friday night lights all let out a collective breath as Cooksley’s shot just barely grazed the top of the crossbar. “Ahh, so close,” said one fan with a smile on his face. Fordham ended up winning the match, 1-0. Yet despite the heartbreak, fans departed the stadium with a sense of excitement. As the warmth of summer slowly diminishes and the crisp, cool air of autumn introduces itself, we

are greeted with another season of Red Storm athletics. Here at The Torch, Co-Sports Editors Dylan Hornik and Derrell Bouknight feel the same excitement as we get to to capture moments like Cooksley’s, the ones that bring the university community together when cheering on the Johnnies. With that said, we are excited to announce Doubleheader, a new weekly column that will highlight the best of St. John’s athletics. We will go into the lives of our athletes to learn more about them off the courts and fields they call home. More importantly, we aim to give a voice to the men and women who represent our university at the highest level, to get their perspective on what it means to wear a St. John’s uniform. Just as new Athletic Director Anton Goff wants to connect New York City with St. John’s, we want to connect St. John’s student-athletes with you, the fans. Last year, we had a top-25 ranked baseball team. Two fencers took home NCAA individual titles as the team finished sixth at the 2017 NCAA Championships. The track and field team broke school records and had a number of players recognized for their accomplishments. Our softball team made it to the Big East Championship, while our basketball and volleyball teams had players from across the board take home numerous awards. As the university community prepares to embark on another nine month journey of school and academics, the Sports Editors here at The Torch look forward to bringing you the latest on New York’s team. Buckle your seatbelts, the show is on the road.

Crazy Summer for Men’s Basketball


Staff Writer

After St. John’s was ousted in the second round of the Big East Tournament last spring by Villanova, the biggest question surrounding the program was whether or not point guard Marcus LoVett would leave to play professionally. By the time LoVett tweeted on April 1 that he would return to St. John’s, many other changes in Queens were already in the works. Three days earlier, Darien Williams and Malik Ellison left the program. Williams is now a graduate transfer at Nevada, while Ellison will have to sit out a year and will have two more years of eligibility after transferring to Pitt. As Zach Braziller of the New York Post reported, Ellison left because of his perceived lack of playing time. With 6’5 Arizona transfer Justin Simon now eligible and Bashir Ahmed returning, Ellison’s minutes were likely to diminish. Shortly after LoVett’s announcement, German stretch-forward Richard Freudenberg left the school to pursue a pro opportunity in Europe. Freudenberg averaged less than ten minutes per game, and converted on just 20 percent of his threes. Like last summer, Head Coach Chris Mullin and his staff were very active in the transfer market. St. John’s signed former Quinnipiac combo guard Mikey Dixon back in April. Dixon, the MAAC Rookie of the year and the Bobcats’ leading scorer,, finished twelfth among freshman throughout the nation in scoring

with 16.5 points per game. Transfer signings continued in June after sharpshooter Federico Mussini left to play in Europe, opening up another scholarship. The same day Mussini left, the school announced that Sedee Keita, a 6’9 power forward fresh off a run to the Final Four with South Carolina, would be joining the program. A former four-star recruit (and AAU teammate of Dixon), Mullin noted that Keita’s ability to run the floor can help the team in seasons to come. It’s no secret that Mullin runs a pro-style offense based off getting stops and running out in transition, so a player like Keita, mixed with athletic forwards Kassoum Yakwe and Tariq Owens, fits right into the picture. The offseason drama concluded in late August when four-star recruit Sidney Wilson decided to transfer, just three months after he had committed to the team. The Bronx native cited personal reasons for leaving. Wilson’s commitment was seen as a huge get for Chris Mullin’s attempt at keeping the best players from New York City at home, much like sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds, a native of Brooklyn. “Being in the city was more of a burden,” Wilson’s father told Rivals.com. The day before Wilson decided to leave the school, however, former 2018 signee Boubacar Diakite reclassified to enroll early at St. John’s and will redshirt while he recovers from a significant leg injury. Diakite’s commitment leaves St. John’s with one open scholarship for the upcoming season. According to Zach Braziller of the New York

Post, the Johnnies are interested in UNLV graduate transfer Dwayne Morgan, who will graduate from school this December and will have one-and-a-half years years of eligibility remaining immediately. Braziller also said that Morgan will take an official visit campus the last weekend of September. With the revolving door of players moving rapidly throughout the summer, the most overlooked move of the offseason could prove to be the addition of three-star shooting guard Bryan Trimble. Trimble was originally committed to play for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State, but after the Seminoles signed another freshman, McDonald’s All-American M.J. Walker, Trimble asked to be released from his letter of intent. “[Trimble] is a versatile player with great character who we believe can make an immediate impact,” Mullin said. Trimble has reportedly been making great strides in the offseason, and could be a key scoring option behind Ponds and LoVett. Alongside Ahmed, Simon, Tariq Owens, and now eligible Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark, the Red Storm should be able to spread the wealth offensively. The one area of the court where the Johnnies were unable to make any progress was an immediately eligible big man. Last year, after center Yankuba Sima transferred to Oklahoma State, the front court included only Yakwe, Owens, and Williams. St. John’s often had to play small ball when any of those three got in foul trouble. Owens and Yakwe both showed spurts of brilliance last year. Yakwe’s 14 points, six re-

bounds and three blocks against Marquette showed what he was capable of, and Owens battled down low for a double-double against Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado and Ish Sanogo , and secured a key offensive rebound late in last year’s upset win over Butler. The team tried to address this through signing Derrick Walker, a 6’9” power forward who is good friends with Marvin Clark, but he eventually signed with Tennessee. The team also returns Amar Alibegovic, a player capable of taking his opponent into the post or spotting up from three. With the additions of Simon, Clark and Trimble, plus the return of Ponds, LoVett, and Ahmed, the Johnnies could surprise many in the Big East.

Photo Courtesty/Athletic Communications

Has Chris Mullin’s roster improved?

Sports 15


Volleyball Preview Soccer Preview


Staff Writer

With the 2017-2018 volleyball season well underway, it’s about time to take a look at what can be expected from St. John’s this year. The Red Storm faces a difficult schedule this season, going up against five teams which reached the NCAA Tournament last year, three of which went on to win their Conference Championship and one who reached the NCAA quarterfinals. More than half of the players from last year’s roster have come back to take eight of the thirteen spots on this year’s team. The team also welcomed freshmen Claudia Lopez, Jordan McCalla and Kayley Wood, as well as Martina Carosso, who redshirted her first year with the team. The Johnnies went 3-1 in The Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic in August en route to their second straight title.

At the Albany Invitational this month, The Red Storm controlled the weekend, finishing, 2-1, bringing their overall record to 5-2. This weekend was another big one for the team, as it claimed its second non-conference tournament title of the season in the Cornell Invitational. Wood was named MVP of the event, while Moss and Di Maulo received all-tournament honors. As of Saturday, the team held a record of 7-3 with less than two weeks from the start of Big East play St. John’s will kick off conference play with back-to-back road matches at DePaul and Marquette beginning September 22. A set of three consecutive home matches against Providence, Creighton and Villanova will begin a week later. The Red Storm will finish the regular season at home versus Butler on November 18. The Big East Tournament will start on November 24 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Marquette’s Al McGuire Center.

Photo Courtesty/Athletic Communications

The St. John’s Volleyball Team won the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic this year.


Staff Writer

Soccer is back in action at Belson Stadium again as the St. John’s men’s and women’s soccer teams have begun a new season. The women’s team is ready to storm back from their heartbreaking Big East semifinals loss last season. Six new Johnnies were added to the roster over the offseason and are ready to help continue the team’s winningest fouryear stretch in program history. They’ve started 4-1-1 (as of Sept. 10), with strong victories over Marist and Fairfield, followed by an exhilarating win over UConn in the first match of the CCSU Tournament. Their first match of the season however, a drawn out double overtime grind at La Salle that was delayed three hours and forty-seven minutes due to poor weather, was an exhausting beginning to the season for the Red Storm. Their sole loss so far came at the hands of Harvard in the second bout at the CCSU Tournament in a heart-wrenching double overtime battle in which the Crimson scored the lone goal in the 105th minute. Head Coach Ian Stone, however, thinks the team is off to a good start as a whole.. “This team always had potential,” said Stone. “We have a lot of goal scorers. The confidence level feels good right now.” He thinks that even in their loss to Harvard, the effort was there and the players fought. The game at La Salle was difficult in Stone’s eyes because of the delay. SJU led before the game was paused due to rain, which Stone believes led to a loss of steam or energy naturally after reentering following the long break. Stone believes the veteran leadership on the

team makes a big difference and is one of the bigger reasons for their early success. Seniors like Allie Moar, Mariela Jacome, and Mikhaila Martinov have taken on strong leadership roles, set examples, and step up on a daily basis in practice. “We’ve been able to compete with anyone we’ve played against,” said Stone. “All of the games have been even games. We beat UConn (a highly nationally ranked team), which was a pleasant surprise. A lot of it comes down to the seniors. They know not to give other teams too much respect, which was a problem in the past. As for the men’s squad, they have gotten off to a 2-2-1 start. They dropped two close matches with Loyola (Maryland) and Fordham, each game ending 1-0. Against Loyola, St. John’s let up an early goal in the first half, digging a deficit that they were unable to fight back from despite a second half surge of impressive play. The Johnnies let up a goal from reigning Atlantic-10 Offensive Player of the Year Janos Loebe in the 68th minute against Fordham and couldn’t get their own offense going again in time to spark a comeback. In their first match, they took down Drexel in Philadelphia with a dominant performance ending in a 3-0 result. Senior Harry Cooksley assisted on two goals from Alistair Johnston and Matt Forster, along with scoring his own. The Hofstra match ended in a scoreless draw. It was a long physical match that resulted in a scary injury to Harry Cooksley, who did not play in their most recent contest, a 2-0 victory over Temple. The Red Storm look to bounce back after a shaky season in 2016 (6-7-4) that ended in a bitter loss to Providence at home in Belson Stadium.

Kaepernick Donates to Local Causes


Staff Writer

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and current NFL free agent, Colin Kaepernick, is still putting in work. His Kaepernick’s Foundation donated $100,000 to New York Charities, including DREAM, the Coalition for The Homeless, War on Children, and United We Dream groups on Sept. 7. In August, the foundation gave $33,000 to the Lower East Side Girls Club. The foundation also gave $34,000 to rapper and St. John’s alum J.Cole’s non-profit group Dreamville (also the name of his record label), and another $33,000 to Queens-based 100 Suits for 100 Men. Kaepernick pledged last year to donate $1,000,000 to charities around the nation, documenting total costs of each contribution on his website. So far, the 29-year-old has donated about $800,000, according to USA Today. His goal last year was to donate $100.000 a month. The Dreamville Foundation is based in Fayetteville, North Carolina Cole’s hometown. The mission of the group is to help, support, inspire and encourage

young people in urban areas. “I want to start the process of showing them there are other options besides what’s on screen,” said J Cole on the Dreamville website of his charitable work. “They don’t have to be rapper or an athlete, there are people who manage the rappers, who book the shows. There are so many jobs you can do, this is about expanding their minds to those possibilities.” Dreamville organizes programs such as the “Back to School Supply Giveaway”, the “Annual Dreamville Weekend”, “The Dreamville Foundation X DTLR Young Men’s Book Club”, and “The Nobody’s Perfect Writing Contest and Mother’s Day Brunch.” During the summer, Cole showed his support for Kaepernick at a concert in Baltimore. Ravens owner Steve Biscotti and others in the organization were in talks about signing the quarterback but decided against it due to fear of backlash from the fans and potential negative press surrounding the club. Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem in 2016 as part of a peaceful protest to bring awareness to social injustice toward blacks and other minorities.

“The type of s--t that’s happening here, don’t you think somebody should risk their whole livelihood land their whole life to talk about this s--t?” asked Cole. “Even if it cost them they money, they job, they life? Don’t that sound like Colin Kaepernick? Don’t that sound like what he doing? And he trying to come to Baltimore, the city that seems to need that s--t for real.” Kaepernick and Cole will team up to create and support new projects within the Dreamville Foundation in the near future. In May, the former 49ers quarterback gave 50 suits to 100 Suits to 100 Men, a company that assists former prisoners by “helping them get jobs and giving them free business attire, haircuts, and job training.” The organization was founded in 2011 by Kevin Livingston, the president who is very grateful for the donation by the free agent. “We very appreciative and the money is going to support the work that we do throughout the city,” said Livingston. “We are going to take the money and expand our program in paroling.” The money will help with the cost of dry cleaning, getting new suits and shirts, fixing the company’s vehicle, gas

for frequent trips to Riker’s Island plus the women’s prison and money for women’s programs, supplies for the office and equipment (laptop, printer, etc), and salary to give to volunteers. Kaepernick’s contributions go to different cities and organizations that are geared towards helping blacks and minorities and oppressed people. “He’s keeping his promises to folks of color,” said Livingston. “To the people mocking Colin, my five words are: What have you done lately? “What are you doing for the cause? If you aren’t doing something, what gives you the right to question that man?”

Photo Courtesy/Flickr Commons tomm_dogg

SPORTS September 13, 2017 | VOLUME 95, ISSUE 1 |


Top Summer Moments 4. Mullin Makes Moves

Incoming freshman and four-star recruit Sidney Wilson, a Bronx native who announced his commitment in May, made waves with his hasty transfer from the University just a day before classes began. He almost immediately re-committed to the University of Connecticut, but will have to sit out the 2017–18 season.


Co-Sports Editor

That news was the final piece of a flurry of transaction for the Red Storm, who lost rising junior Federico Mussini, rising sophomore Richard Freudenberg to professional opportunities in Europe and the graduating Darien Williams. They did, however, pick up transfers Mikey Dixon (Quinnipiac) and Sedee Keita (South Carolina) and three-star recruit Bryan Tribmble Jr.

3. Baseball Players Go Pro

Other Johnnies left their respective teams to chase their professional prospects. Three former Red Storm baseball players were selected in the MLB Draft, and two more signed minor league contracts. Shortstop Jesse Berardi (Cleveland Indians), catcher Troy Dixon (Seattle Mariners) and outfielder Michael Donadio (Miami Marlins) were taken in the 10th, 20th and 30th rounds, respectively. Ryan McAuliffe signed with the New York Mets and catcher Kyle Cunningham agreed to a deal with the Colorado Rockies, bringing the total to five Johnnies to move on to professional baseball.

2. Livianu’s Cinderella Run

This isn’t to say that the talent has been sapped of all St. John’s sports teams; in fact, one freshman made a noise in the postseason, just days after the spring semester ended. Jessica Livianu shocked the college tennis landscape by advancing to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championships. She lost to 26th-ranked Kate Fahey of the University of Michigan, ended her title hopes, but Livianu, a Brooklyn native, became the first All-American in program history when she took down two players ranked in the top 30 nationally.

1. New York, New Logo

No matter what happened for each individual team over the summer, though, their supporters will sport a new look this year. The athletic department announced in late August that the university will roll out a fresh, New York-themed logo that simply states, “We Are New York’s Team.” The re-branded merchandise is available at the campus bookstore, a fitting way for students to ring in the new (school) year.