Year in Review 2022

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The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

VOLume 100

Year in review

may 4, 2022 Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

Stormin'Loud Stormin' Loud 2022

Local Artists Take The Queens Campus by Storm in the end-of-year carnival

"St. John's Way" Unveiled at Corner of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway Torch Photo / Olivia Seaman

INside this issue

Season of the Sneezes: How to Combat Seasonal Allergies, Page 6

University Gets Approval For an Undergraduate Nursing Program, Page 2

2 News

Campus Activities Officially Announces Stormin’ Loud Performers and Ticketing Information Dea Hoxha | April 10, 2022

email and came in three tiers — General Admission, Silver Ticket and Gold Ticket. General Admission tickets are free and include admission and access to giveaways and rides. Silver Tickets cost $25 including a swag bag, a Stormin’ Loud T-shirt and a food pass

The semester is coming to an end and Stormin’ Loud is approaching. The festival is set to take place on the Great Lawn from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 29, 2022. Students are ready for the live performances, carnival rides, giveaways, food Torch Photo / Dea Hoxha and much more. The festival — open exclusively to St. John’s students — is presented by Haraya, the Resident Student Association, the Student Programming Board and Campus Activities. The latter posted on their Instagram account on March 30 announcing that eight performers are in place for Stormin’ Loud. “In the past, I heard J Cole performed at St. John’s and to have him perform again would be amazing,” said freshman Sadie Soto. Three student artists, selected by the St. John’s Battle of the Bands competition, are performing at the festival-style event. “I think it’s cool to see smaller artists get exposure,” Soto added. “As for who else I believe will perform, definitely someone New York born that is coming to represent the city they grew up in.” Campus Activities officially announced performances from LIVE, Sensacion, Step Ya Game Up, Kickline, Juanialys, B Lovee, Capella at one food option station allowing students to skip Grey and headlining performer Sleepy Hallow on the line. Gold Tickets cost $50 including a swag bag, Tuesday, April 19. The three winners of the Studio C a Stormin’ Loud T-shirt, shorts, a skip the line food Battle of the Bands — 2Wavy, Brooke and Worthy pass for up to two food stations and a pass to skip the line at all rides and attractions. Each St. John’s stu— are also performing at Stormin’ Loud. Tickets became available on Tuesday, April 19 via dent is allowed one ticket, and will need their ticket, Stormcard and a wristband to attend the event. Tick-

et sales will end on Wednesday, April 27 at noon. Students can pick up their wristbands and passes starting April 29 at 9 a.m. on Marillac Terrace A after presenting their tickets. Last year, a Storming’ Loud festival was held virtually due to the pandemic. However, after seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases and implementing vaccination requirements, the University lifted the mask mandate last month. Student Government, Inc. and Campus Activities then chose to hold Stormin’ Loud as an in-person event. The festival is going to be one of the most crowded events this semester as anticipation increases. “The reason I want to go to Stormin’ Loud is because I want to get involved in as many events as I can, and I kept hearing about it during my Student Ambassador training,” said Nikita Persaud, a freshman marketing major. “I think Stormin’ Loud is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the fact that in-person activities can take place again and it gives students the opportunity to experience concerts and festivals.” The University is eying a return to normalcy after the pandemic. Multiple events are planned this semester, from a Lip Sync Battle to the SJU World Cup, ending with Stormin’ Loud. Updates on the event will be posted on the Campus Activities Instagram account.

St. John’s University Gains State Approval For Undergraduate Nursing Program

Applications for the new program are currently being accepted for the fall 2022 semester. Olivia Seaman | April 18, 2022

St. John’s University announced the approval from the New York State Education Department of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program on the Queens campus on Monday April 11, 2022. Applications for the four-year pre-licensure program are currently being accepted for the first cohort of students to begin in the Fall 2022 semester. Creating a nursing program is part of the multi-million dollar creation of a Health Sciences building which is scheduled to open Fall 2024. The project, funded by New York’s Fifth Congressional District thanks to federal leaders Representative Gregory W. Meeks and Senator Charles E. Schumer, will include a state-of-the-art Skills and Simulation Center for students to “learn and benefit from simulation training opportunities before their required experiential education and clinical rotations,” University President Brian J. Shanley said in a statement. “Service is a core value of our University, and

the nursing program aims to provide a stellar education within the context of our Catholic and Vincentian mission,” said Shanley. Freshman chemistry major Metka Kunstelj looks forward to the University’s upcoming projects, and how this upgrade benefits more than just nursing students. “I look forward to all the new laboratories that will be at our disposal, as their new advancements will allow faculty and students to conduct a greater variety of experiments and explore more complex theories in all fields of science.” “I think this is a very interesting major, which will attract many students who previously may not have thought of applying. Although this is true, I believe that the timing of this announcement is slightly off,” Kunstelj questioned, “as the application process for Fall 2022 is already coming to a close. However, this will give them time to fine tune the program.” Provost Simon G. Møller, Ph.D. aims to partner the University with local health-care facilities to provide students with direct clinical rotations, he

said in a statement. New York City Health + Hospitals, New York-Presbyterian Queens and Catholic Health are among the few in partnership. The new Health Sciences center will provide students not only with current technology but with new and improved opportunities in the health science field. Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Abby Anaday

News SGi Elections: Official Winners & Vote Count Announced


R.A.I.N. takes all executive board positions in SGi elections. Dea Hoxha | April 6, 2022

The official winners for the 2022-2023 Student Government, Inc. (SGi) executive board and student senate were announced today at 12:30 p.m. at the D’Angelo Center Coffeehouse. SGi also took to Instagram to announce the winners. All elected members of the executive board come from the R.A.I.N. ticket — which stands for ‘Resourceful, Accountable, Innovative, Noteworthy.’ Undergraduate students casted their votes through an eBallot, using the username and password they were provided through their St. John’s email. Voting closed yesterday at 11:59 p.m. following a series of pauses on Sunday between 1:53 p.m. and 3:17 p.m. The R.A.I.N. ticket beat the L.O.V.E. ticket in all six Executive Board positions. No member from the L.O.V.E. ticket ran for Senior Programming Coordinator, but there were two unattached candidates on the ballot. The president-elect, Ethan Burrell, is currently serving as SGi’s president for the 2021-22 academic year. Burell’s current executive board has already made significant accomplishments, as detailed in the R.A.I.N. platform, including: partnering with WHEELS bikes, providing menstrual products in bathrooms and making Grammarly Premium accessible to students for free. He is the only member of the current executive board that will return to their position for a second term next year. “If I were to win a second term, my goal would be to ensure students are being engaged by numerous clubs and organizations and provide training to the next generation of student leaders here at St. John’s,” stated newly re-elected president Ethan Burrell, through the R.A.I.N. Instagram account last week. R.A.I.N. has planned multiple initiatives for the next year. including overnight parking for Campus Townhouses, a four-year percentage-based fixed tuition program, increased Board of Trustees involvement with SGi and recognized organizations and the use of students’ preferred name on their graduation diploma. The official tallies were provided to The Torch by the SGi Elections Committee.

PRESIDENT Ethan Burrell: 476 votes *WINNER* Laiba Amin: 406 votes VICE PRESIDENT Andrea Vizzuett-Garcia: 483 votes *WINNER* Nawsin Kamal: 399 votes SECRETARY Julianna LoMonte: 517 votes *WINNER* William Pierre: 365 votes TREASURER David Diano: 466 votes *WINNER* Christopher Lucik: 416 votes PRESS SECRETARY Jonathan Wilds: 487 votes *WINNER* Sara Khan: 392 votes SENIOR PROGRAMING COORDINATOR Jessica Siniscalchi: 202 votes *WINNER* Isabel Clarke: 49 votes Jaylin Leyva: 95 votes ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE SOPHOMORE SENATOR Isabella DePaola: 7 votes Kaitlyn Gavin: 6 votes Katrina Harricharan: 4 votes Lucía Morón: 19 votes *WINNER* Claudia Obochuwicz: 13 votes *WINNER* ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE JUNIOR SENATOR Dewan Chowdhury: 9 votes Sana Farooqi: 22 votes *WINNER* Jessica Lim: 22 votes *WINNER* Janie Li Liu: 11 votes Sullivan Padgett: 10 votes Alexa Salerno: 10 votes ST. JOHN’S COLLEGE SENIOR SENATOR Fathema Ahmed: 34 votes *WINNER* Ashley Cho: 58 votes *WINNER* Jack Palamaro: 31 votes Johnny Zheng: 17 votes TOBIN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS SOPHOMORE SENATOR Paul Gaylor: 12 votes *WINNER* Jason Gurchiani: 13 votes *WINNER*

TOBIN COLLEGE OF BUSINESS JUNIOR SENATOR Khushi Bhayani: 29 votes *WINNER* Palak Seth: 23 votes *WINNER* SCHOOL OF EDUCATION JUNIOR SENATOR Emily Wenke: 10 votes *WINNER* COLLINS COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES SOPHOMORE SENATOR Maria Calise: 17 votes *WINNER* Drew Dawson: 12 votes Rachel Kim: 26 votes *WINNER* COLLINS COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES JUNIOR SENATOR Catherine Dupre: 7 votes Olivia Gittens: 16 votes *WINNER* Samit Hasan: 22 votes *WINNER* Kaila Lightburn: 7 votes Denise Maldonado: 5 votes COLLINS COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES SENIOR SENATOR Aisha Naeem: 49 votes *WINNER* Connor Richards: 37 votes *WINNER* COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES 2ND-YEAR SENATOR Alecia Black: 5 votes Rokia Diarra: 6 votes Sarah Hadi: 7 votes *WINNER* Raida Khan: 12 votes *WINNER* Ahsanullah Shirzad: 5 votes COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES 3RD-YEAR SENATOR Zophia Jainul: 17 votes *WINNER* Serena Low: 24 votes *WINNER* COLLEGE OF PHARMACY AND HEALTH SCIENCES 4TH–YEAR SENATOR Jennalynn Fung: 37 votes *WINNER* Anjali Rana: 24 votes Sonya Wadhawan: 36 votes *WINNER*

St. John’s Hosts First In-Person Accepted Students Day Since 2019 Olivia Seaman | April 10, 2022

other organizations also performed at the event. The next spring semester event is Stormin’ Loud — a festival with live perOver 1,600 accepted students and their families flocked to Queens to cele- formances, carnival rides, food and more — on Friday, April 29. Beginning brate their acceptance this April 9 for Accepted Students Day, according to at 5 p.m. on the Great Lawn, more information can be found on page two. David Diano, the Tour Coordinator of the Student Ambassador Program. St. John’s University held the event in Taffner Field House — though ini- Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan tially planned for the Great Lawn — after two years of holding it virtually. Campus clubs and organizations, Student Ambassadors, faculty and deans were in attendance to give accepted students information to excite them to be a Johnny or help solidify their college decision. “[Students] will have the opportunity to meet current students, faculty, and administration for an inside perspective of what life is really like as a Johnny,” the University website states. “Tour campus, speak with other students from the incoming class, and most importantly, celebrate your acceptance.” Behind the scenes, St. John’s Student Ambassadors ensure the event runs smoothly and that prospective families have the opportunity to see every part of campus. “It was great to see everyone so energetic about St. John’s,” said Sullivan Padgett, a first-year ambassador. As a recent trainee, many of his responsibilities included directing traffic, holding up festive signs and giving tours to families. Padgett is also a part of the Ozanam Scholars Program, a scholarship program for students interested in social justice to explore service locally, nationally and internationally. At a designated table in Taffner Field House, he spoke to parents and students about how much the program means to him. “It was awesome talking with another group of like-minded students who want to make a difference in the world,” Padgett added. “We look forward to working with them next semester.” Along with tours and program presentations, a carnival in Taffner Field House complete with games, free food, prizes and music helped families ring in the spirit of the day. The dance team, cheer team, Chappel Players and

4 News

Stormin’ Loud 2022: Local Artists Take The Queens Campus by Storm The event was a new twist on the spring carnival, which was canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ed with official attendance numbers at the time of this story’s publication. The event offered three ticket tiers. General adSt. John’s University held the first annual mission was free to all attendees and included ac“Stormin’ Loud” Festival Friday on the Great Lawn, featuring food vendors, carnival rides, art cess to rides, one free meal ticket and the chance installations and live performances by Juanialys, to win free giveaways. The Silver ticket sold for B-Lovee, Capella Grey and Sleepy Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan Hallow. The event was a new twist on the spring carnival, which was canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the carnival was substituted for a virtual “Stormin’ Loud” festival. After the University lifted many COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year, an in-person event — sponsored by the Student Programming Board, Haraya, Resident Student Association and in collaboration with Student Government and Campus Activities — was permitted to return. The event was reserved for the St. John’s community, and no other outside guests were allowed. The participating organizations made sure to inform students of the event through Instagram and e-mail, as well as updating students on any changes. Current students, accepted students and recent alumni lined up outside designated $30 dollars and included a “Stormin’ Loud” swag spots on campus to receive their wristbands, tick- bag with a t-shirt and a skip the line food pass. ets, and merchandise. Both Marillac Terrace and The $50 dollar Gold ticket included a swag bag the Carnesecca Arena Box Office served as pick- with “Stormin’ Loud” t-shirt and shorts, comup locations. The Torch has not yet been provid- plete with two skip the line ride and food passes each. Olivia Seaman | May 1, 2022

The doors for the event opened at 4 p.m. and student performances took the stage an hour later. SJU Battle of the Bands winners Kennedy Brooks, Worthy and 2Wavy, L.I.V.E Dance Crew, SJU Kickline and many more student performers brought their energy to the Great Lawn. At. 6:10, Junaialys performed, followed by B-Lovee who sang hits such as “My Everything.” Capella Grey performed at 8:30 p.m. and captivated audiences with hits including “GYALIS,” and got the crowd hyped for headliner Sleepy Hallow. The New York rapper played “2055” along with other tracks. Students were ecstatic about the 75-foot ferris wheel which towered above St. Augustine Hall, the adjacent pirate ship ride, photo booths and various food vendors. El Taco Rojo, Nuchas, Eat Callahan’s and Better Burger were among the many food options. This year’s “Stormin’ Loud” was a great way to bring students together in a time of lax mask mandates to celebrate the end of the spring semester. Next up is the Midnight Breakfast, which is held at Montgoris Dining Hall and marks the start of finals week. This semester’s Midnight Breakfast is dubbed ‘Game Night,’ and will feature board and arcade games, among other festivities. The event is free with a valid Stormcard, and is on Tuesday, May 3 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“St. John’s Way” Unveiled at Corner of Union Turnpike and Utopia Parkway Olivia Seaman | May 3, 2022

York City’s economic, cultural and political development. “This renaming pays homage to the enduring The southwest corner of Utopia Parkway and Union Turnpike now bears a new name: “St. legacy of this 152 year-old Catholic Vincentian John’s Way.” The cross streets connect the St. University and law school that has been a beacon John’s University campus to nearby business- to people of all faiths who strive to use their tales, such as Aquista Trattoria, Coldstone Creamery and TJ Maxx. Members of the University’s community — including students and administrators — gathered Monday, May 3 for the co-naming ceremony. The sign was originally scheduled to display in 2020 but experienced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and special council elections. Councilmember James F. Gennaro and the New York City Council approved the new signage and attended the ceremony. Gennaro won a special election for his seat in 2021, after previously serving in the same position from 2002-2013. He has personal connections to the University, as his brother studied at the University and his late wife Joanne worked in the alumni department. The bill was approved Dec.15, 2021 and Torch Photo / Olivia Seaman included the co-naming of 199 streets and public places. Council members made requests ents along lines of excellence,” Gennaro said at for co-named streets within the district they serve the event. The ceremony was complete with a bagpipes — New York’s 24th district, which Gennaro repperformance, a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps resents, includes the St. John’s University cam(ROTC) procession and the cheer and dance pus. The bill included other names of people and organizations that have had an impact on New teams who encouraged the theme of spirit and

the “St. John’s way.” “‘St. John’s Way,’ refers obviously to St. John’s, but also to the spirit of St. John’s. There is a St. John’s way, there is a way that we do things. It is a way predicated upon the original example of St. Vincent DePaul,” said University president Brian Shanley at the co-naming. “The Vincentians answered the call to come here to serve first generation Catholic students. And we have been faithful to that mission for over 150 years.” Throughout the ceremony, speakers Vice President of Government Relations Brian Browne, Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department Rev. Patrick Flanagan, Vice President of Community Relations Joseph Sciame and other University representatives spoke to the significance of the street naming for the St. John’s community. “Our community is what makes us so unique; the different backgrounds and walks of life that we come from bring a diverse amount of perspectives and combinations of brilliant ideas,” stated Ethan Burrell, the president of Student Government, Inc. at the University. “I’ll be glad to visit my alma mater when I graduate and look at the sign as a representation of excellence in the St. John’s and Queens community.” The overwhelming support of bystanders was a visible sign of how the University is a staple of the local community.



How the Ukraine Invasion Is Impacting Students Abroad St. John’s students and faculty abroad in Europe discuss the effects of of the Ukraine invasion. Alana Campbell | April 15, 2022

ropean campuses report back to him. In a recent interview with The Torch, he discussed the possibility of students getting sent home. “I don’t want to even think about it,” said Tomassini, adding that this was “only a speculation of how we see things happening if it ever came to that.” He stressed that the number one priority was student safety. “We are working with different parties in the states and here in Italy to basically monitor the situation,” he explained. “Our concern is to show that we are always informed and will do whatever it takes to make sure our community is safe.”

would likely follow a similar script to when students were sent home two years ago. Senior English major Jack Stephenson, currently It was 11 a.m. in Rome on a Thursday morning studying in Rome for a second semester, was there when sophomore Calia Lee realized her weekly when students got sent home at the start of the meeting with a Ukrainian student — which began COVID-19 pandemic. after St. John’s University connected them, but “It was like Armageddon,” he said, recounting grew into a friendship — wouldn’t be possible due how quickly the university and its students had to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. to adapt to incoming information. “It spread like Lee’s conversations with two Ukrainian students wildfire. Everybody kind of panicked. This school began as part of the service requirements for the told us for a while that we would be able to stay Ozanam Scholars program, a social justice and and that we would have the option to leave. That, community service-based scholarship program that within a matter of days, quickly turned into having she’s a part of. Through the nonprofit ENGin, she to leave.” helps Ukrainian students practice English through Stephenson has been folconversations aboutP lowing the conflict closely everything from pol- Pictured: St. John’s University Rome Campus — “almost to a fault,” he itics to personal lives. Torch Photo / Jillian Ortiz said — and doesn’t foreWhile her required see the conflict escalating conversations came to a degree where students to an end, she has would be sent home. This kept in touch with being noted, he is still takthese two girls aged ing precautions. He recent19 and 20 through ly rescheduled a trip that he weekly meetings — was supposed to take with though she no longer friends to Kraków, Poland, a gets official credit for city just a few hundred miles it. from the Ukrainian border. For Lee, this war “I just didn’t want to be in is different from any the area,” said Stephenson. of the other conflicts “Not even just for danger’s she’s read about. “I sake but because it didn’t feel have people my age right to go and try to have a who are my friends good time in the same sphere living through it, as a place that’s dealing with texting me their feelsuch a crisis.” ings as they’re going Liam Naughton, a junior through it,” Lee said. sociology major with family “And I can’t say anyliving in Poland, echoed a thing that’s going to similar sentiment. Naughmake it better.” ton bought tickets to KraMost St. John’s kow “weeks before anything students currently happened” and ultimately studying abroad in decided to go the weekend Europe don’t have of March 5. He was aware of the personal connecthe conflict but didn’t see it tion to the situation as risky. in Ukraine that Lee “Poland is a NATO counhas, but many are try, so I felt pretty safe there,” following the conflict he said. He was expecting to closely. Its repercussee refugees, passionate prosions are impacting tests or some other sign of a their time abroad in nearby conflict, but did not different ways. see anything out of the ordiRebekah Sagredo nary. “Life was very normal is the Residence Dithere.” rector on the Rome campus, managing everything He compared this situation to the pandemic, exStill, he felt weird about being there on vacation concerning residents on campus. Every Tuesday afternoon, she co-leads meetings for students, giving plaining that so far it is not affecting day-to-day two hours away from people suffering. “Guilt isn’t them updates and safety tips. In recent meetings, operations in the same way that COVID-19 did. the right word,” he explained, but he felt acutely she and the other Rome staff have been strongly However, the process for students being sent home aware of his privileged position. Sophomore political science major Joyce Andria advising against traveling to countries bordering was also supposed to go to Poland. She and her Russia and Ukraine. friends bought tickets for the week after. “I know “We suggest that students limit their traveling through government classes that things change to Italy,” Sagredo said in an interview with The very quickly in a matter of days or even hours and Torch. “We want students to be safe, and we may just personally do not want to take that risk. So not be able to help them if they travel to places I’m not going.” that might have spillover conflict.” She was able to get a refund for her Airbnb, but She has had a number of students ask her about not her flight. “This entire study abroad trip is altering their plans and advised them to reconsider. self-funded for me, so it is a little disappointing to “All of the students that I talked to have changed lose about $50; but I would rather that than get their plans, sticking closer to Italy or maybe pickstuck there or have something not great happen ing some other place in the western part of Europe while in Poland.” as opposed to the eastern part of Europe.” While some have been a listening ear for someSagredo is the go-to for students’ everyday quesone experiencing the conflict firsthand, the expetions, but there are some what-ifs that she can’t riences of students here abroad are varied — from answer. Assistant Vice President Massimiliano Jack Stephenson rescheduled flights, minor inconveniences and Tomassini works in a large office situated down a general wariness. There is much uncertainty about long hallway of the Rome Campus. He manages St. John’s student in Rome how the conflict may unfold and what that could all three programs in Rome, Paris and Limerick. mean for the program, but the general tone reHe keeps in regular contact with the main campus mains hopeful. back in Queens, while his teams across the Eu-

It didn’t feel right to go and try to have a good time in the same sphere as a place that’s dealing with such a crisis 6 Features Season of the Sneezes: How To Combat Seasonal Allergies

Learning more information about the mechanics of allergies and how to alleviate symptoms will have you back in the swing of spring activities in no time. Abigail Grieco | April 25, 2022

mask and gloves. “I plant flowers in the springtime, and my mom always told me to put a mask on, even before the pandemic. One time, I didn’t wear a mask or sunglasses, and my allergies were awful that year. I was super sick,” said Giavonna Bovino, a senior speech pathology and audiology major. “I didn’t realize how much the pollen would affect me without these face coverings, but now

Springtime means flowers budding, trees blooming, and the sun shining – but it can also mean sneezing, congestion and headaches (both figurative and literal ones). Known as the season of rejuvenation, Spring is more commonly known as ‘allergy season,’ and has come to be dreaded most by those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Whether you feel mild symptoms or more severe ones, allergies can spoil springtime fun. However, learning more information about the mechanics of allergies and how to alleviate symptoms will have you back in the swing of spring activities in no time. With springtime comes beautifully colored flowers blossoming all around us, bringing vibrancy into the season. Yet, that’s not all flowers do; when plants grow and bloom, they produce pollen which can cause allergy symptoms. Plants release tiny pollen grains that fertilize other plants of the same species. Photo Credit / Youtube 11Alive Pollen from trees, weeds and grasses are light enough to travel by wind and cause the most prob- that I know, I have to make sure I wear them. Otherlems, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation wise, I can barely be outside.” of America (AAFA). “It’s a small price to pay when the weather starts to When participating in outdoor activities, there are get warmer. I’d rather wear sunglasses and a hat outside various precautions one can take to ensure relief from than be inside on a nice day,” states Bovino. For someharsh allergies. According to the AAFA, to reduce ex- one like Bovino, who struggles with severe seasonal alposure to pollen when outside we can wear sunglasses lergies, the AAFA provides several tips to control pollen and hair coverings, avoid going outdoors during peak amounts, especially since it has the potential to follow pollen times, and if doing yard work, wear a protective you inside after spending time outdoors. Some tips in-

clude, but are not limited to: keeping windows closed, removing shoes before entering the house, changing and washing the clothes you wore outside, showering before getting into bed and drying laundry inside, not on an outdoor clothesline. For those with lesser allergies, like Elisabeth Casey, a sophomore biology major, the springtime doesn’t wreak allergy havoc. “Since my allergies are typically mild, I don’t dread going outside when it’s beautiful out,” says Casey. Occasionally I’ll take an allergy pill and I’m set for the day.” And while some may not be suffering with awful allergies, precautions can still be taken – for example, something as simple as taking an allergy-preventing medicine or checking the pollen count daily. Most pollens reach peak levels from noon to the early afternoon; however, during pollen season, the count is never zero, so we must be cautious despite the time of day. Certain allergy symptoms can impact quality of life. Headaches, sinus pressure, facial pain and nasal congestion “can result in decreased concentration at work. Difficulty breathing… can interfere with activity and exercise, which can be a stress outlet for many,” says Dr. Kara Wada of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. When you are consistently not feeling well, it can lead to anxiety and depression. So, taking the necessary precautions can help prevent those things from happening. You don’t have to dread springtime allergies, as long as you are prepared and do what works best for you, you can enjoy the beautiful seasonal weather that New York offers.

The Student Intern Behind @stjohnsdining Olivia Meyer | April 11, 2022

A student quietly purchases a snack at the Market Montgoris, with hardly any conversation beyond a “thank you.” Tiqua, the Market cashier, wore her mask and was quiet as she rang up her items and sent the student on her way. Once she was finished she looked to the left, took her mask down,said, “Hey lady!,” and smiled. Marykate Ames walked in and answered her, “Hey lady, did your mom come in yet? What are you going to do with her this weekend?” An animated Tiqua went on to tell Ames stories of being in Church with her mom and siblings when she was a child. They talked about how Long Island bagels were the best bagels and touched on Ames’s weekend plans. Not many, if any, St. John’s students would know this about Tiqua; many might not even ask her name or pay attention to her name tag. Ames knows that she is from Rockaway, her parents are from Maryland and her siblings live in many different places. They have laughed and even cried together. Many food workers around campus have similar conversations with Ames Monday through Thursday when she is on the clock working as a student intern for Chartwells, the company behind all the dining services at St. John’s University. She is the only student intern for the company on campus and assists the Northeast Regional Director of marketing. She wears many hats in her internship, and the one students see the most is her work on the dining services Instagram account. Ames currently runs everything on the page. Before she took over in October 2021, there were less than 1,000 followers since the account was created in 2013. The posts would average about 50 likes for each post, and generally captured whatever food promotion the dining hall served that day. Ames was nervous to follow in those footsteps, but the wave of excitement from the subject of her first post flushed all those nerves away. Bertha is in charge of the G8 Station in the dining hall that serves students with allergies. Everyday she plans which meat, starch and vegetable she can make for many students with dietary restrictions. After Ames’s first post, more students became aware of that. “Bertha is someone who comes over and says, ‘I love you,

I love you! You make my day,’” Ames stated as she was scrolling proudly through the Instagram account flooded with new high quality pictures of food from all over campus and now different features of the staff. “She hugs me… ever since that first day October 5th she comes over, she brings me to her station and she’s like ‘I made this today!’” Ames noted her eagerness to present her work, which sometimes appears on the page.Bertha was not the only chef to be featured. Her next post featured Angela, the omelet chef, a fan favorite for St. John’s students. On any given day the line at her station will take up half of the food area, but she had not been featured on the account until Ames stepped in. Just three days after she started posting,

Photo Credit / Olivia Meyer

Ames brought in over 500 likes and 60 comments from students praising Angela and her omelets. As a student who was now working with adults to market to her fellow students, Ames featured these chefs because she knew that is what she would want to see. She adds her flair to the account, bringing in students to participate by modeling for posts, winning giveaways and asking students what they want from their dining services. When she’s not posting on the Instagram account, she is coordinating events, including a Drag Dinner. This event, catered by St. John’s Dining, featured two local drag queens who came to campus to perform to a full room of students.

Ames thought of the idea when the dining services were thinking about an LGBTQ+-centered event during LGBTQ+ history month. “There’s not a lot of representation already on campus and [St. John’s Dining Services] doing this gives it another level,” said Ames. “It’s not just being shared by whoever’s in the LGBTQ+ club, it’s being sponsored by a St. John’s sponsored account too.” She planned the event, reached out to the drag queens, created and distributed the tickets, purchased decorations and promoted the event. Ames even made sure to document it all on Instagram in real time. Walking into the event and seeing a room full of students was David Golden’s favorite memory he shared with Ames. Golden is the Northeast Regional Manager for Chartwells and is Ames’ boss. Because he is often working at any of the different Northeast colleges that Chartwells caters, Ames is his eyes and ears at St. John’s. “I can trust that when I am not here she’s not going to do nothing,” Golden said. She works closely with her boss and colleagues to ensure that not only all the work is done, but to also build connections that keep her closely involved in her two passions: food and people. Part of the reason she wanted to work in the food industry is because she believes that there is a lot you can learn about a person by the food that they eat. It is almost difficult getting Ames to discuss herself because so much of what she talks about is how amazing she finds everyone she meets, and she is able to use their food to start those conversations. “I learn so much from them because they’re such a diverse group of people and they’re from all over, Ames said, noting Rebecca — the pastry chef at Monty’s — and her spring trip to Brazil. She knows about Bertha’s crafting business on the side, and appreciates getting to know the people behind her favorite foods. “These people are so interesting and they care so much so you just unlock a little something that they like and they share so much about themselves with you.” She took the internship to improve her marketing skills and break into the food industry to prepare for culinary school, but she also gained the knowledge of Tiqua’s childhood stories and Rebecca’s fine dining history, which to her, is the best part.



“No Straight Lines:” How the New SJU LGBTQ+ Center Fosters Community Photo Credit / Olivia Seaman

Olivia Seaman | March 30, 2022

On Mar. 17, 2022, the LGBTQ+ center — the newest addition to St. John’s after being formed in 2021 — sponsored a film screening of “No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics.” The film focused on the queer comics industry, and was directed by Vivian Kleiman. A Q&A session with Kleiman and advisor Dr. Ramzi Fawaz followed. The event was led by co-directors of the LGBTQ+ Center, Dr. Candice Roberts and Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls and contained both virtual and in-person viewers. “No Straight Lines” tells the story of five cartoonists who paved the way for queer comics. The movie addresses everything from the AIDS crisis to the heavy emotions and experiences involved in coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. The film tells the personal stories of each cartoonist and how the queer comics industry got its roots and continues to grow. “I really appreciate the intersectionality displayed in the film. It shows that identity is a very complex and layered phe-

nomenon, that none of us are only one thing, and we take that same perspective at the Center,” said Roberts. “I was especially excited to hold this screening of ‘No Straight Lines’— a documentary featuring a wide range of queer artists and creators, made by a lesbian woman filmmaker.” The LGBTQ+ center was created to “create and sustain an open and welcoming environment for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and employees,” according to the University website. It held its first event of the academic year on Thursday, Feb. 24 in Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. I truly enjoyed watching the film, because I learned so many new things about an industry I did not know existed. Listening to the cartoonists’ stories fascinated me as well as how many obstacles each person continues to overcome. It was also amazing to see how many of the cartoonists achieved mainstream success. Alison Bechdel, for instance, wrote the book “Fun Home,” which is now a Tony Award winning musical. Events like these are the heart of the LGBTQ+ Center. Roberts and Smalls deeply care about these issues and having a center where queer students can feel affirmed and represented at school. They also educate students like myself in issues we may not be aware of. Roberts affirms these beliefs. “The pursuit of knowledge is central to every college student’s experience, and in order to follow that pursuit, all of our human needs must be met,” said Roberts. “The Center is one way that we can help meet a wider range of needs for every St. John’s student. The Center aligns with the Vincentian aim of providing opportunity for communities that may be marginalized — including students, faculty, staff,

and community partners.” Walking out of the event, I realized this film-screening held a much greater purpose than learning about queer comics. A community of like-minded individuals meeting together, in an age where in-person gatherings are slowly reemerging, over a topic we all learned a little bit more about holds incredible importance to a community’s social infrastructure and development into a more inclusive space. When talking to Dr. Roberts, they stressed the importance of community in sharing a common experience, which I think we all need right now. The center will be creating more ‘in person’ programming in the future, while remaining conscious of accessibility, according to Roberts.

The pursuit of knowledge is central to every college student’s experience, and in order to follow that pursuit, all of our human needs must be met Dr. Candice Roberts

Hostile Terrain 94 Undocumented Migration Project Remembering Those Who Fell Victim to The Global Migration Crisis Angelique Mevorah | April 4, 2022

“Hostile Terrain 94” is a participatory installation organized by the Undocumented Migration Project, a non-profit collective focusing on research, art, education and media under the direction of anthropologist Jason De León. The exhibition includes over 3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s to 2019. The exhibition can be found in the D’Angelo Center foyer at St. John’s University. The toe tags were written by student and faculty volunteers who dedicated their time to remember those who have perished. These tags are intentionally geolocated on a map of the desert, showing the exact coordinates where the remains were found. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) President and St. John’s senior, Grace Musser, says to give the volunteers’ voices primacy, because “without them, this would not have been possible, and some of them really committed themselves to this. It has been beautiful to see the impact of this project on so many in the St. John’s community.” Volunteer and St. John’s student Chandni Butt reflects on what a powerful experience it was to set up the exhibition. “Hostile Terrain gave me perspective of the lengths that immigrants would go to live a comfortable life, as well as the ‘extent’ that the U.S. has gone to aid in immigrants’ success in achieving a comfortable life,” said Butt. Rosanna Jiang, a Sophomore legal studies major at St. John’s University, also volunteered through CRS to work on filling out toe tags for the exhibit. “The toe tag experience made me view things so differently, this project has connected me in an emotional level that I can’t even put into words,” said Jiang. “I felt heartbroken for them, but it made me feel empowered to know that they will never be forgotten.” St. John’s collaborators know that this is an emotional task, but nonetheless an important one. The project shines a light on the harsh realities of U.S. Border Patrol

policies and keeps the memories alive of the thousands Photo Courtesy / Grace Musser

who have died in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Holly Gola, a Junior Global Development and Sustainability major at St. John’s and CRS Vice President, is inspired by the interest St. John’s students have taken part in the organizing, planning and execution of the installation. “From the more than two hundred volunteers who helped fill out and check tags to everyone who simply stopped to learn more about it and admire the exhibit, I can only hope that this installation truly brought an

attention to the border policies that impose these realities and that a sense of solidarity can be found in the near future,” said Gola. According to the original curator of the installation the interpretative goals that the exhibits are intended to cover begin with awareness. The Undocumented Migration Project states that the instalation’s purpose is “to raise awareness during a presidential election season about the realities of the U.S./Mexico border including the death and suffering that has been happening daily (since Clinton Administration) as a direct result of the Border Patrol policy known as ‘Prevention Through Deterrence (PTD)” as well as “to globally memorialize the thousands who have died as a result of PTD, especially the hundreds of still unidentified people whose remains have yet to be reunited family members.” Lastly, the installation aims “to construct an affordable, accessible, and democratized exhibition that draws in community participation across a range of national and international locations.” Student volunteer Peter Paolo, a Government and Politics and History major at St. John’s, thinks students and faculty should not stop at just the exhibit but also take action against the cruelty. “When I saw the poster board with all the toe tags at the memorial event, I saw a wall of injustice, of lives cut way too short, of exhausted migrants desperate to get to a land of opportunity,” said Paolo. “While it is proper to honor the dead, we should embrace our call to action. We should urge lawmakers to craft laws that put the innate human dignity at the center of our immigration laws, especially for asylum seekers.” On Thursday, March 24, the “Hostile Terrain 94” Undocumented Migration Project Remembrance Vigil took place at the exhibit in the DAC foyer. The vigil’s purpose was to pray for those who have perished due to injustice. Students and faculty then gathered for a podcast with the exhibits curator, participated in a roundtable discussion with fellow students and faculty and enjoyed provided hospitality.



I Said ‘Goodbye’ to Instagram – For a Little Bit Danielle Louie | November 17, 2021 Photo Crourtesy / Unsplash Christian Wiediger Torch Design / Priyanka Gera

After mindlessly opening and scrolling through Snapchat and Instagram with nothing to satisfy my social media meter, I decided to delete all my accounts in the spirit of a social media cleanse, or digital detox. For two weeks, social media was off my phone, including deleting my YouTube app a week into the detox. The time I spent away from social media went towards reading, catching up with my favorite Netflix shows, cooking or playing with my cat. Yes, I still used my phone for things like GPS, looking things up and texting my friends, but time away from the unnecessary scrolling to see what my friends and acquaintances were doing was well spent. Since social media has taken over a part of our lives, it’s good to mend our relationship with it in a healthy way. Though I love to spend my time watching different things on Instagram like cute cat videos or seeing the latest trends on TikTok, I felt that time away from social media helped certain aspects of my life, like anxiety, sleep and time management. The first thing I noticed was a jittery need to pick up my phone

– quite a habit I used to have. When replaced with turning on music to study and read, I would be completely immersed in my work. I noticed more things about my personality and my life I had forgotten. It was almost like getting to know myself again. Another significant change was in my routine. The first thing I checked when I woke up was the time, to make sure I wasn’t late, not my notifications or social media. Then I would get up and go about my day to read the news, but almost nothing from my phone. My productivity in the morning was much more efficient and I got out of bed a lot quicker. Though I never get much sleep in the first place, with less time on my phone before bed, I went to sleep much quicker than usual, and didn’t decide to pick up my phone when I couldn’t sleep. After gaining a clear mental state, returning to my usual social media usage felt disturbing and didn’t revert to good changes. Now I find myself spending significantly less time on social media, almost as if I don’t need it. My screen time decreased by 40 percent over the last couple of weeks. Screen time can be tracked on your phone under your settings. To help keep myself on track especially during busier times of the school semester or when I need to focus on work, I use a screen time limit that will help tell me how much time I have left for the day, or if I spend too much time on social media, it prevents me from further using the app. Apps like Forest help keep you focused and away from distractions on your phone or you can go to your phone settings to create limits on your apps. Forest is a productivity timer that earns credit to plant trees on the app and around the world. The more productivity you have away from your phone, the more credits you’ll earn. Forest is available on iOS, Android, and as a web extension on desktops. Though you don’t need to delete your profiles forever and say goodbye to those apps, it’s helpful for everyone to catch a break from social media; either five minutes a day or a week.

What I Wish I Knew as a Freshman things? All the homework we let pile up. If you avoid procrastinating, you’ll have more time to go enjoy yourself. Freshman and sophomore year are the best times to go out and explore because The start of the school year brings the incoming class of 2025 the workload tends to be less. Core classes lend a little bit of a with it. In other words, wandering around campus are a group break from strenuous major courses which gives you more time of brand new freshmen who, luckily, will get to have a relatively on your hands. So my advice is get your work done at the first normal four years at St. John’s — assuming another pandemic chance so you give yourself free time. This was something that doesn’t sweep through the world anytime held me back freshman year. soon. But, also wandering around campus Torch Photo / Brenden Wilsch I was not super on top of my are the sophomores who didn’t experience work and so I didn’t always freshman year since many were online in have the time to go out and 2020. They are practically new students on explore as much as I wantcampus as well. As a senior, I now find myself reflecting ed to. Now, I get my work back on my normal years at St. John’s and done at the first opportunithe things I wish I knew or am glad I did ty, or I at least make a plan know as a first-year student on campus. So for when I’ll have time to get here’s some tips for all those new students everything done. Thursday, wandering around campus this semester! after I get out of class, for exTake advantage of the city! ample, I try to get my work At St. John’s, we’re only about 40 mindone for that Monday class right away. Then it is off my utes from Manhattan via public transporplate, I don’t have to worry tation, so take advantage of this! There are about it and I have time to many amazing things to do (literally, I have an ever growing list of things I need to do) so make sure you enjoy myself. Put yourself out there. head into the city and have fun, especially if you’re not from the Yes, I know this is easier said than done. We’re not all social area. And not just in Manhattan – every borough has some exciting activities. Queens has many attractions that are worth a visit, butterflies and might not be comfortable going up to random such as the Queens Botanical Garden and the New York Hall of people to make friends. But try your best to step outside your Science. A quick google search can land you with a laundry list comfort zone. Start up a conversation with someone in your class for instance. You might make a lifetime friend and find a budof places to visit. The first semester of my freshman year, I went in and did some dy in your major! Ask for people’s Snapchats and invite them things in the city, but not as much as I now wish I did. Now, I to grab lunch. Sure, you might end up never seeing each other go into the city at every chance I get. I don’t know where I’ll end again, but you also might end up making a new friend. up living in the future so I don’t want to miss out on exploring I was so worried about not making friends in college, but everythe five boroughs of New York when I have the chance and the one really is in the same boat when you first get here. No one is time to do so. And the best part is, you don’t need to spend a ton going to reject a possible friendship, so give a conversation a go. I of money. Pay for the subway and go sit in a park and read or do love that I can run into people on campus and have conversations school work. It is affordable and you can explore numerous parks with them even if it’s not a close friend, just someone I briefly and areas throughout the city by doing this! But seriously, email spent time with freshman year. It’s just great to walk around and me if you want fun things to do (! see friendly faces! Being in a new place away from home with a Get your work done early. bunch of new people can be scary, but just put yourself out there What tends to hold us back from going out and doing fun a little bit and it’ll go a long way.

Sara Rodia | September 22, 2021

Senior Reflections

Alicia Venter and Priyanka Gera Alicia Venter: I found St. John’s by chance while undergoing the painful experiences of filling out college applications two years ago. My only knowledge of the University came from watching Chris Mullins on the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.” I knew I wanted to go from my small town in Kentucky to New York City and my first time on campus during orientation reinforced that I made the right decision. I loved my summer orientation, meeting people from around the world. When I finally made the 12 hour drive in late August, I was welcomed by droves of people in red ready to guide me around campus. I then moved into Donovan Hall and met my equally apprehensive roommates (who then became two of the best people I have met in my life). My time on campus was unlike anything I could have imagined and I am thankful for the eight months I got on campus before being rushed home in March. While online school did have its benefits — and I was able to return to my country hometown with a new appreciation and outlook — I prayed that my senior year would not be taken from me in the way that it had for so many of my friends and fellow members of the Torch. Thankfully, I now get to drive back up to the city for one last hurrah before I am forced to figure out what I am going to do with the rest of my life. Until that dark day, I am going to enjoy every day that I have back on campus after being deprived of it (even the classes that I would much rather be online taking so I could watch anime during it). My only hope now is that this delta variant does not take away what scientists have worked so hard to produce a vaccine for, and that I am not rushed home again this fall. Priyanka Gera: I remember my first day on campus. I moved in around noon, nervous yet excited to meet my roommates and explore campus. The Residence Hall street (in front of Montgoris Hall) was animated with crowds, photo booths and plenty of other activities to keep my mind off the uneasiness of living independently for the first time. That same week, there was a mirror house, light show and refreshments on the Great Lawn. I met some of my best friends during move-in week and it is disappointing to see the class of 2024 and 2025 missing out on such a momentous college memory. I am grateful to have experienced college life for two years and attended everything from seminars to pizza parties. Online education, although necessary during the pandemic, deprives students of a bank of memories to look back on years from now. Sitting at home and staring at the cursor blinking on the screen for my junior and senior years is not college. I realize I prefer engaging with the material in class through dialogue and interaction, rather than falling asleep watching recorded lectures and YouTube videos for online classes. The Fall 2021 semester will be an interesting one as the University loosens regulations and attempts to revert to pre-pandemic activity levels. With the delta variant on the loose, I am uncertain about returning, yet the idea of breathing life back into campus after the viral respite is enticing. Most likely, my last year at St. John’s will be remote, far away from the beautiful skyline at the top of the stairs and the Starbucks on campus. In the future, my first two years at St. John’s will probably be all I remember since my junior and senior years are a blurry mix of YouTube, Google Docs and Canvas.



Flames of the Torch A Year in Review








The Torch, St. John’s University O’Connor Hall - B Level 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439

sju torch productions


Olivia Meyer

Danielle Louie

Alicia Venter

Sara Rodia

Angelique Mevorah

Daniella Yarahuan

All letters submitted for publication must include the author’s name, email and affliliation to St. John’s. Limit letters to 350 words. Submissions may be edited for clarity. Please submit letters to

Priyanka Gera

Alana Campbell



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

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. The Torch is published througout the week at There is a weekly newsletter on Wednesday afternoon, as well as a full digital publication each month.


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As the 2021-22 academic year approaches its end, The Torch is proud to have its 100th E-Board leading the charge into a post-pandemic, primarily digital era. In reflecting on how to grow as a publication, the newest editorial board has decided to look to the past year and highlight the most successful articles of the past year in this “Year in Review” edition of The Torch. This edition features numerous year-defining moments for the St. John’s community. The University — despite struggles throughout the last two years — has began growing once again. They have added an undergraduate nursing program, and has an upcoming festival, Stormin’ Loud, in the spring. The LGBTQ+ center, one of the newest additions to the University, is now holding events as of February 2022. These stories can be found in the news section on pages 2 and 3. Navigating the new realm of college is difficult for incoming freshman, and this year in review features an informative article on page 6 on what one writer wishes she knew as an incoming student. Our most successful coverage this year came from our reporting on the St. John’s Men Basketball season. Beginning with boastful hopes of a tournament run, it came to a disappointing end at Madison Square Garden, where the Red Storm blew a 17-point lead against Villanova in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinal. In Women’s Basketball, beloved head coach Joe Tartamella got his 181st win to overcome his mentor and become the winningest coach in St. John’s history. Though the season ended in heartbreak for the Johnnies, it was by far the coverage that drew the most attention both through its print coverage and live tweeting of games on @torchsports. The newest editorial board features a wide range of passionate students. Featuring people from Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and more, the paper’s centennial is led by a group that is full of diverse ideas to help inform and represent the St. John’s community. Keep an eye on our socials this summer to see what the 100th E-Board has planned for the upcoming school year.


National Debt Hits $30 trillion — Here’s Why That’s a Bad Thing Sergio Padilla | February 8, 2022

United States’ national debt hit $30 trillion for the first time in history per the Department of the Treasury on Jan. 31. The national debt includes the money which the U.S Government owes to itself and others, as well as the debt of public entities like businesses and individuals. While not unusual in this day and age for it to reach unhealthy levels, this newest milestone should worry us all. For reference, on Feb. 4, 2020, the national debt stood at a whopping $23.2 trillion. This is a takeoff of $7 trillion in only two years. With federal interest rates guaranteed to rise in March, this crisis is only going to get uglier as more of the federal budget gets consumed paying interest. In an interview on FOX Business, Arkansas Representative French Hill laid out a disturbing fact regarding exactly this: A rise in the average treasury rate equates to over $290 billion. That’s close to what the government pays for Veterans Affairs alone.

One of the main reasons for the $7 trillion hike is due to federal stimulus enacted by Presidents Trump and Biden. Government spending cannot be axed altogether. Roads still need to be paved, people need services like the post office and schools as well as safety nets to maintain society. Why care? For one, the issue will become real as time goes on, and if the debt ceiling is hit and the U.S defaults its obligations, the government will be shut down and people will suffer. Veterans would not receive the care they deserve, government workers would go without a paycheck, and the services provided by the government would stop dead in their tracks. According to the Peter G. Peterson foundation, if every household in the United States were taxed evenly they would pay $231 thousand dollars. For every person: a tax of $90 thousand. If every household paid just $1,000 a month it would still take 19 years in order for the debt to be paid off. The more debt we accumulate, the less prepared the government is to make

Photo Courtesy YouTube CityXcape

big investments into the country like infrastructure and protection against calamities like climate change. Can anything be done to make the United States more fiscally responsible? Yes. First, we should stop spending on endless wars that benefit no one. This means we prioritize our own borders over those on different continents like in Ukraine. Second, manage debt and spending as a percentage of our GDP. In 2020, debt soared to 133% the size of our GDP. Experts say this should be around less than 60%. Important programs such as social security do not need to be cut, and can even be expanded to aid less fortunate seniors. Keep this in mind when you head to the polls this November. The $30 trillion debt is nothing to joke about. If left unattended, it could lead to serious ramifications for society. However it is not an issue we are hopeless to tackle, and as the 2022 midterm elections approach, it’s important that Americans who care about this issue make their voices heard.



The Art of the Sample: Can Nostalgia Propel Modern Tracks With Mediocre Bars? Jack Harlow’s “First Class” and Latto’s “Big Energy” are both carried by the sampled hit songs of the past they employ. Brady Snyder | April 25, 2022 The familiar guitar chords of Mariah Carey’s 1995 smash hit “Fantasy” are instantly recognizable, but after a few moments, it becomes clear that the song playing isn’t the multi-platinum chart-topper. Instead, it’s Latto’s “Big Energy,” a track released just last year, utilizing a trick — the sample. “Big Energy” has backing instrumentals that just about everyone has heard before, but it hasn’t hindered the song’s ceiling on the charts. Despite being released in September 2021 and holding a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the last 25 weeks, the track is just hitting its stride, peaking at the No. 3 slot on the chart last week, according to Billboard. Latto isn’t even the only American rapper to use a sample on a top five song in the Hot 100 this week. Jack Harlow’s “First Class” — which grabbed the top spot on the chart in the first week after its release, and marked the artist’s highest-debuting track in his career — was released in April 2022. It used the backing vocals from Fergie’s 2007 masterpiece “Glamorous,” produced in part by her fellow Black Eyed Peas member, that earned a number one Billboard ranking in its own right. But first, what even is a sample? It’s essentially reusing a specific part of another artist’s sound recording. This could be melodies, riffs, rhythms — or anything, really. In sampling a piece of music, the original work can be manipulated in just about any way, including changes in tempo and cadence. In the words of Justin M. Jacobson, an entertainment and media attorney in New York City, sampling is “‘copying’ and ‘pasting’ a portion of another’s existing sound recording into your new work,” he wrote for TuneCore. To use the exact recording of another piece of music, a new artist is required to obtain a license from the original owner, or the reuse would be copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A key exception is that artists can choose to license through the owner of the

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jack Harlow

musical composition and re-record the same notes without directly working with the owner of the sound recording. These aren’t always the same people or corporate entities, which can lead to some confusion. It’s the same loophole that allows Taylor Swift to re-record her early albums despite not owning the master sound recordings, since she is a credited songwriter on all of her songs. It’s also important to note what isn’t a sample. It’s not an interpolation, the musical term for re-recording a melody of a song that can include modified lyrics. It’s also not a cover, the broad moniker for any new recording of a previously-recorded track by someone other than the original songwriter. The titles are often carelessly interchanged in colloquial use, but in the scope of music law and theory, they are incredibly distinct. However, using a standout clip from a hit song doesn’t ensure that a new track turns out well, or even successful. Latto and Harlow have chosen excellent works to sample in their new projects — both “Fantasy” and “Glamorous” invoke a strong sense of nostalgia in listeners that grew up

with the hits — which make both the artists’ songs fun and exciting. Unfortunately, on a deeper level, fun and excitement doesn’t equal good music. “First Class” sounds like Harlow simply walked into the studio, stepped into a recording booth, and freestyled over the backing vocals of “Glamorous.” To be clear, that scenario — which likely is more rudimentary than what actually occurred — results in an entertaining and lively example of creative musical expression. It just doesn’t make a good song. Listen to any of Harlow’s verses on “First Class,” and you’ll be disappointed. “I got ’em on the bandwagon now, ’bout time,” he raps, “I ain’t even got no downtime.” There’s not much more than simple rhymes and tired clichés on the nearly three-minute track. The low-key bars are even more dissatisfying when reminiscing on Harlow’s past works and potential — his verse on “Industry Baby” by Lil Nas X assisted in the song’s Grammy nomination this year. Latto’s “Big Energy” falls victim to the same traps as “First Class,” but it at least has a theme, which is more than I can say about Harlow’s track. “I can tell you got big dick energy,” Latto sings in the chorus, and can seem direct and superficial upon first listen. At its core, though, the song is championing the characteristic of confidence, and the profound effect the way one carries themselves can have on the people around them. “I feel like BDE is for both genders,” Latto told Essence. “It’s basically just this confidence, this strong aura that no one can tell you, ‘You not the shit. You is the shit.’ It’s about believing in yourself – how you walk, how you talk, just carrying yourself like the person that you believe you are.” The sample is a critical feature of music that sparks creativity, rather than stifles it, and is a fun (and legal) form of adapting previously-released works. Though nostalgia can propel mediocre tracks to the top of the charts through aptly-chosen samples, the end result isn’t always an iconic hit in itself.

Notable Novels: “Normal People” By Sally Rooney

Rooney’s prose is as intimate as a warm hug and excels at building an atmosphere that is personal enough to lead the reader into a state of deep introspection. and character-driven coming of age story with not much of a plot whose focus isn’t solely the sporadromantic relationship of its protagonists, but the Sally Rooney’s sophomore novel accompanies two ic of their innermost insecurities, thoughts magnetic and complex protagonists for years as dissection and feelings as a case study of modern connections. they journey through adulthood. “Normal People” Her protagonists are as real, as lost, as simple or tells a story of mutual infatuation, friendship and complex and as normal – or abnormal – as any perlove between two people— Marianne and Con- son can be. Marianne and Connell are flawed and nell— whom we come to understand even in their insecure; they make mistakes and hurt as much as most notorious contradictions and disagreements. It is an achingly bittersweet story about the complications of human relationships and explores the Photo Courtesy / Crown Publishing Group connection between sex and power, the mourning of the loss of youth and the desire to love and be loved. ww Marianne and Connell are high school classmates when the novel begins. Marianne comes from a wealthy family and is very reserved and often detached from the rest of her peers. Connell is an outstanding athlete and lives with his mother, who had him as a teenager and now works for Marianne’s family. The contrast between their realities seems to act as the catalyst for their spontaneous and inevitable chemistry. Eventually, their brief, occasional encounters quickly transform into long conversations about their anxieties and ambitions. They share similar worldviews and envy each other intellectually; their mutual fascination stems from an attraction that goes beyond the physical. One of the most pleasant aspects of this novel is its author. Rooney wonderfully manages to incorporate a substantial amount of relevant themes into a fluid and addictive narrative, regardless of the acidity of some of its most poignant passages. Torch Design / Daniela Yarahuan Her way of weaving Connell and Marianne in- any young adult does. They go from being comand-out of each other’s lives is painfully enjoyable. plete opposites to almost indistinguishable from Rooney’s “Normal People” offers an emotional Daniela Yarahuan | April 8, 2022

each other to strangers again multiple times over the course of four years. The unpredictability of their connection is what makes “Normal People” a frustrating yet particularly human read. The novel, however, also possesses somewhat of a flawed nature that results from the incredible potential that Rooney leaves unexploited. The protagonists stand out for their intellect — which Rooney uses to address complex issues like mental illness and misogyny unpretentiously — yet they never seem to lead to any conclusive events. Nevertheless, Rooney’s smoothness and literary prowess make this shortfall barely noticeable. Only 266 pages long, this novel is the ideal quick read for those looking for a break from the usual cynicism and apathy so commonly found in contemporary literary fiction. Rooney’s prose is as intimate as a warm hug and excels at building an atmosphere that is personal enough to lead the reader into a state of deep introspection. Anyone who has considered picking up this book should expect to see a reflection of themselves in Rooney’s characters, through their mellowness and their longing; their selfishness and their roughness. In short, Normal People is the perfect angst filled story for anyone who seeks to be moved by literature.In addition to winning multiple literary awards and being longlisted for the 2018 Booker Prize, “Normal People” was recently adapted into a one-season standalone series on Hulu starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, with Rooney credited as the show’s co-screenwriter. Although I am yet to see it, there is no doubt in my mind that this adaptation is just as moving and compelling as its literary counterpart.

Curated Collections: Top 10 Most Romantic Taylor Swift Songs for Valentine’s Day Maria Villarroel | February 9, 2022

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. For many, the air is filled with enough love and joy to put on their best dress and dance in the rain feeling fearless. For others, the day is so gloomy that it feels like going to Coney Island and sitting on a bench wondering where their significant other is. But whether you are going to shake it off by yourself or spend the day with your lover, one thing that you can always count on is Taylor Swift songs to capture the romance that is supposed to come along with this hallmark holiday. As someone who has experienced love, joy, heartbreak and loss herself, Swift is one of the most notable songwriters of our generation to accurately capture what it feels like to find “the one.” Obviously as a die-hard swiftie myself, I took what felt like the impossible task of ranking the most romantic Swift songs. It took several hours of heated debates with my other Swiftie friends. But here are the 10 Swift songs that are so romantic, they will convince you that love is golden like daylight, even if you thought it was burning red:

Culture 11

Welcome Back Broadway

Sara Rodia | October 13, 2021 Photo Courtesy / Sara Rodia

“Taylor Swift” — Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)

Written when she was just a teenager, and barely knew about love herself, “Mary’s Song” depicts the journey of a couple, from the moment they meet, until they get married and grow old together. With a peaceful guitar and the singer’s youthful and somewhat immature voice, “Mary’s Song” captures the innocence that Swift carried at the time of her debut era. She was still dreaming of fairy tales, and a constant love where there are no obstacles. This song is joyful, yet the aging aspect in the lyrics makes it highly nostalgic.

“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” — “Untouchable” By now some people are probably offended that I did not pick “Love Story” to represent “Fearless” in this list. And while “Love Story” is truly one of the most outstanding songs in this record, as it was the one that catapulted her into stardom, I believe that when it comes to romance, “Untouchable” takes the crown. As Swift became a more experienced song writer, her lyrics, just like one’s feelings, got more complex, and ‘Untouchable” is a clear example of this transformation. Unlike “Mary’s Song,” in which the couple get together and live happily ever after, “Untouchable” deals with a crush and the uncertainty of reciprocity. Swift’s crush is so intense in this song that it is almost weakening. She comes undone. But at the same time it is so powerful that she feels like she is in heaven with the mere presence of him. “Untouchable’” s the song that will make you feel like you are back in high school, examining the hallways to see if your crush is around, and hoping they notice you and feel the same way about you.

“Lover” — “Lover”

Photo Courtesy/ YouTube NBC News

“Red (Taylor’s Version)” — “Begin Again” “Begin Again” In the happy, free, confused, lonely, and heartbreaking album that is “Red,” “Begin Again” is almost an outlier. Throughout the record, Swift takes listeners through the journey of heartbreak. Sadness, anger, nostalgia and confusion are all feelings dealt with in “Red,” but as the album comes to an end, so does her heartbreak. Serving as the closer of the album, “Begin Again” is the realization that love is not meant to hurt, but rather to bring joy and peace. In this song, Swift moves on from her previous heartbreak and meets someone else, therefore the cycle of love begins again. Although some hesitation and fear is mentioned in this song (because she does not want to get hurt again) she lets herself go and accepts that it is time to move on. This song speaks to every person that has been heartbroken once, yet over time they simply accept that the past is in the past. “Begin Again” is a representation of Swift’s optimism, a feeling she refuses to let go of throughout her discography.

Picking this song seemed like a safe choice, but after much deliberation, I think “Lover” is a marvelous track to represent romance because it is able to capture the essence of the album in a couple of minutes. “Lover” (the song) is so simple, yet elegant and wonderful. This track deals with the simplicity of love. The lyrics deal with ordinary acts like leaving Christmas lights up until January, or saving a seat at a table for your partner. The idea “reputation” — “Call It What You Want” behind this song is that with the right person, everyday activities become magical and worth noting. There is no better way to de- “Reputation” is arguably Swift’s most romantic album (yes, even scribe this song than the perfect first-dance song at your wedding. more than “Lover”) so it was hard picking just one romantic song from this record. But “Call it What You Want” surpasses all the other songs on “Reputation” when it comes to romance because it deals with a topic that many of us do not really like to address: our own flaws. In “Call it What You Want,” Swift recognizes that she is a complex person, and because of her fame, she has had many experiences that she is not proud of. However, her new lover accepts all of this, and still loves her for who she is. At the end of the day, we all want someone who loves us despite our reputation.

“1989” — “You Are in Love”

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Taylor Swift

“Speak Now” — “Enchanted”

You might have heard the bridge of this song on TikTok, as it was a trend last year. But although people used “Enchanted” to make videos about heartbreak, this song is the exact opposite. This song not only represents the magic of meeting someone and being captivated by them from the very first glance, but it also represents “Speak Now” perfectly. This song feels like walking through a field of flowers, with a flowy dress and feeling like a princess or a fairy. It is whimsical, powerful and charming. Few songs capture love at first sight like this one does. Whether the love in question actually works or not, this song does not care for that.But it rather deals with the magic of meeting someone and instantly clicking with them. You do not know whether they are available or not, you just know that you are falling in love, and the feeling is flawless, almost indescribable, and it leaves you wanting more.

“Lover” — “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” is simple and straight to the point. It’s nice when your partner is also your best friend. From the school playground to the church where a wedding is taking place, “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” takes listeners through the journey of love. At the same time, it deals with a subject that not so many songs talk about, which is how playful and joyous love can be. “It’s Nice to Have a Friend” is also a break in “Lover” from the sexual, passionate and intense side of love, to a more simple and pure one. If your partner is also your best friend, then this song is perfect for you.

Not much needs to be said, the title is self-explanatory. “You Are in Love” is a simple yet powerful song about realizing that you truly are in love. Swift explains in this song that when a person is in love, they can see it anywhere and everywhere. Whether there is complete silence in a car ride, or you spend the night with your significant other, the feeling of being in love is so overriding that oftentimes you just feel like screaming it at the top of your lungs, which Swift does toward the end of the song. The production is simple, but the lyrics are so endearing that she is able to capture the intensity of love.

“folklore” — “invisible string” If you have been a swiftie for many years, or if you have had your fair share of heartbreak and are in love again, this song is for you. “Invisible String” is a retrospective song in which Swift acknowledges all the heartbreak she has been through over the years. But she accepts them, and even celebrates them, because all of them have led them to where she is right now. It takes a great deal of maturity to accept bad experiences and turn them into something positive, yet that is exactly what the singer does in this song. Even outside of romance, this song reassures listeners that what they are going through is temporary and everything happens for a reason.

“evermore” — “cowboy like me” Although it is often overlooked, “Cowboy Like Me” is truly a masterpiece in which Swift lets her songwriting skills shine. Filled with metaphors, “Cowboy Like Me” deals with two complex characters who, despite hesitation due to previous heartbreak, fall in love. This track deals with the complexity of two people and how all the roads led them to each other. At the same time, the singer’s use of her lower register allows the song to stand out as a mysterious yet intriguing ballad. “Now you hang from my lips like the Gardens of Babylon, with your boots beneath my bed, forever is the sweetest con,” is just one of the many brilliant lyrics that make this song such an exceptional yet underrated love anthem.

Six hundred thirty-seven days. That’s how long it had been since I had sat in a theater to see a Broadway show. That is, until Sept. 18 when I was finally back in a theater among my fellow vaccinated Broadway lovers to see “Hadestown”, one of my all time favorite shows. Sitting in the Walter Kerr Theater felt surreal to me. It honestly didn’t even hit me that I was seeing a Broadway show again until André Robin De Shields (Hermes) stepped out onto that stage. Being back in that theater was an amazing experience and having the pleasure to see Hadestown again with its amazing cast and Eva Noblezada (Eurydice), who I was heartbroken to miss the first time I saw that show over two years ago, was incredible. In fact, it was so amazing that when I went searching for “Moulin Rouge!: The Musical” tickets and saw they still had tickets available for opening night – I bought them right away. “Moulin Rouge!” reopened on Sept. 24 and it was unlike anything I have ever witnessed. Seeing a show reopen after being closed for 561 days was an experience I will never have again in my lifetime. The energy in the crowd was something I had never encountered in a show before. The second Aaron Tveit (Christian) stepped out onto the stage, everyone was on their feet and cheering—now, in case you’ve never been to a Broadway show before, this is not typical by any means. And this was a common occurrence throughout the entire show. At the end of almost every number, everyone was on their feet cheering. As opposed to the single standing ovation that usually occurs at the conclusion of the show, “Moulin Rouge!” got probably about 10 standing ovations throughout that night. Aside from the energy in the audience upon being back at the reopening of “Moulin Rouge!”, the actors seemed beyond happy and blessed to be back on that stage performing for an audience again. There were moments that I swore I caught Tveit holding back a smile from the pure happiness of performing for a live audience. The bows at the end were so full of joy from a cast and crew who had finally made it to the light at the end of the tunnel, especially for Natalie Mendoza, who had made her debut as Satine in “Moulin Rouge!” that night. After seeing “Moulin Rouge!”, I moved on to see “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Come From Away” this past week. Both were so exciting and I still feel the buzz of excitement from everyone in those theaters. I was especially excited watching Jeremy Jordan play Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors”—half the reason I bought those tickets was just to see him! Just seeing these actors back on the stage performing was an amazing feeling. You could tell they were just so happy to be back. The reopening of Broadway has been everything I hoped for and could have wanted. I’ve felt immense excitement and had once in a lifetime opportunities. Nothing will ever compare to the energy I felt in “Moulin Rouge!” reopening night and the excitement I felt sitting in those theaters to see “Hadestown”, my first Broadway show back, and seeing Jordan live again. I consider myself so blessed that I have been able to see so many phenomenal shows since Broadway reopened and I cannot wait to continue to see more. My next concrete stop is “Six” in December, but you can guarantee you’ll catch me at multiple shows far before that!

12 Sports

DeMeo vs. Anderson: Ex-Basketball Coach Suing University, Head Coach

BRADY SNYDER | October 20, 2021 Former St. John’s men’s basketball coach the suit states. “Mr. Anderson lost control Steve DeMeo filed a lawsuit against the of the team and the players nearly revolted University and head coach Mike Ander- against him before the end of the season.” This alleged turmoil centers around an son last month alleging wrongful termination related to a heart condition, ac- incident within the program between Isacording to court documents, obtained by ih Moore and Anderson during the final game of the 2020-21 season on March 6, The Torch. The suit, filed in federal court Sept. 2021. In the game in Queens versus Se23, claims that the men’s basketball pro- ton Hall, Moore entered in the first three gram was tumultuous behind the scenes, minutes. The forward played three minalleging that COVID-19 protocols were utes and missed two three-point jump “not being employed or enforced in any shots before he was removed from the meaningful manner” and that the pro- game. The suit claims that Anderson was disgram faced “internal turmoil.” DeMeo is represented by Wigdor LLP, who in a pleased with Moore’s shot selection and statement co-authored by David Gottli- resolved to kick him off the team at halfeb and Renan Verghese of Wigdor LLP time. When Anderson communicated told The Torch that their intentions are to this to the team, “what happened next hold the University and Anderson “fully could only be described as mutiny,” acaccountable.” cording to the suit. The University “categorically denies It is claimed that the rest of the team reSteve DeMeo’s allegations of wrongdo- fused to return to the court for the second ing but cannot otherwise comment on half to “protest of Mr. Anderson’s unjust pending litigation,” spokesperson Brian treatment of Mr. Moore.” The team did Browne told The Torch on behalf of the return to the court and played one of their University. “Throughout the 2020-21 sea- best halves of basketball of the season, son, the Men’s Basketball team adhered to scoring 53 points enroute to a ten point all University and Big East Conference victory over Seton Hall. Moore did not play a single minute of the second half. COVID-19 policies and protocols.” The filing notes that Anderson tried to Anderson personally hired DeMeo as assistant coach of the men’s basketball kick Moore off the team again in the days program shortly after he was named head following the game, and the team further coach prior to the 2019-20 season. At the decided to refuse to practice if Anderson’s time, Anderson referred to DeMeo as “an decision stood. At this point, St. John’s had only the important asset to the University” in a reBig East Tournament remaining, where lease from the Athletic Department. DeMeo was previously diagnosed with they prepared to face Seton Hall again in the heart condition Mitral Valve Prolapse the second round. Two hours before the (MVP) about two decades ago, but his game, Anderson announced that Moore condition was mild and required only reg- was unavailable because he was in contact ular checkups. In one of those checkups with a COVID-19 positive staff member, last year, doctors discovered that DeMeo’s but that no other players or staff were afMVP had caused an irregular heartbeat fected. and required surgery, according to court Senior Rasheem Dunn said that Moore’s documents. absence “hurt us a bit” in St. John’s second DeMeo notified the University of his round exit of the Big East Tournament. need for medical leave in Aug. 2020 and Dunn graduated following the season, underwent surgery to correct the irregu- and Moore and six other players on schollar heartbeat, court documents claim. The arship transferred from the program—an suit notes that other health conditions unprecedented number for a major conwere discovered in the process, and De- ference team seemingly on the rise. Moore transferred to Southern Miss for Meo required additional procedures and the upcoming season, and the Southern recovery time. Issues began when Anderson and De- Miss Athletic Department did not reMeo met for an annual performance re- spond to a request seeking Moore’s review after the conclusion of the 2020-21 sponse to DeMeo’s characterization of basketball season. At the meeting, the suit events. Despite an invitation to the National asserts that Anderson praised DeMeo for his recruiting efforts and broad contribu- Invitation Tournament (NIT), the men’s tions to the program until DeMeo noti- basketball season ended when St. John’s fied Anderson of his need for additional announced they would not participate due to COVID-19 concerns. procedures. “In truth, having refused to play for Mr. “You have a job to do, you have to do it,” Anderson allegedly replied, and ended Anderson twice in three days due to what it believed was his vindictive and unfair the meeting, according to the lawsuit. Months after the meeting, DeMeo was treatment of Mr. Moore,” the suit claims, informed of his termination from the “the team simply did not want to play for University on June 8, 2021. It is standard him anymore.” Anderson and St. John’s are now prepractice in the industry to make performance-based coaching changes before the paring for the first season of a six-year contract extension the parties agreed to spring signing period. DeMeo claims that his rapport with the last spring. DeMeo agreed to join East players kept the team together in the final Carolina University’s staff as an assistant coach in August for the 2021-22 basketdays of the 2020-21 season. “The public success of the St. John’s ball season. men’s basketball team on the court No court date has been set for the first masked a tumultuous end to the season,” hearing in DeMeo’s lawsuit. TORCH PHOTO / NICK BELLO

What happened next could only be described as mutiny. Lawsuit

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The Winningest Coach in St. John’s Women’s Basketball History St John’s Basketball Honors City Legends In Black History Month

Connor Richards | February 9, 2022

Torch Photo / Nick Bello

Sara Kiernan | February 23, 2022

After contributing to the St. John’s Women’s Basketball program for nearly 20 years, culminating in the Johnnies’ 2016 Big East championship, head coach Joe Tartamella is now the winningest coach in St. John’s history. Tartamella now has 181 wins and counting, which shattered the previous record of 176 wins. The old record was held by Kim Barnes Arcio, the head coach from 2002 to 2012, who mentored Tartamella during his coaching journey. After accepting a position as head coach of the University of Michigan’s Women’s basketball team, which she still holds today, the path was cleared for Tartamella to take over. “I’m not even in this seat without Kim giving me the opportunity,” Tartamella told The Torch in a WebEx interview. “It’s an honor and privilege to continue what Kim has done.” He started as a graduate assistant for the St. John’s Women’s Basketball team, graduating from the University with a masters degree in marketing management in 2004. Tartamella worked his way up to the assistant coach, then associate head coach, before becomTorch Photo / Sara Kiernan

ing the head coach of the program in 2012. Being at St. John’s this long, Tartamella wants to thank St. John’s for letting him grow into the coach he is today. When becoming head coach, he didn’t expect the extensive changes to his role. “I think I probably lived and died with every play when I first got the job,” Tartamella said on his growth as a coach. “Everyone thinks that they are ready, but until you are in that spot, you don’t understand the depth and breadth of what you have to deal with on a daily basis.” He went on to say that all that first-year stress has eased over the years, even though Tartamella inherited the program with high expectations. In his inaugural season as head coach, the Women’s Basketball team was riding a streak of three straight NCAA tournament appearances. “It calms down, and you get used to the flow of it,” Tartamella said. The coach entered with poise, as Tartamella extended the streak to five straght NCAA tournament appearances and ten straight postseason tournament appearances in his first five years. As it turns out, winning the 2016 Big East Tournament to

keep that streak of NCAA Tournament appearances alive is one of Tartamella’s most memorable moments in coaching. “Obviously, our Big East championship was pretty special to do,” Tartamella said. “To do something that hadn’t happened in 28 years, at that moment, to see our kids and the enjoyment just over those three days.” Along with coming into the role of head coach, the way he coaches the team is not the same. “Every year is different; every team is different. Players change, personalities change, kids you recruit change, expectations don’t, though,” said Tartamella. “We continue to build on what we have done in the past.” Another favorite memory of his is from playing in the NCAA tournament at Tennessee and seeing four of his players drafted to the WNBA. Taratmella says that as one of his players goes through a career milestone, he is proud to be one of their cheerleaders. Despite all of these accomplishments, Taratmella continues to think about the program’s development and success. “I’m just proud of the ability to continue to lead us here in the future,” said Taratmella.

The history of basketball is not one that begins and ends with the National Basketball Association. For about four decades, racial segregation was just as prevalent on the hardwood as it was on the streets. African Americans were forced to form their own basketball teams, nicknamed “Black Fives.” The Black Fives era played a pivotal role in the sport’s development, exposing many people to the game of basketball and strengthening its popularity. Additionally, these teams played with unique skill as well as athleticism, incorporating new styles of play that revolutionized the standards of professional play. This February, the Big East has partnered with the Black Fives Foundation, a nonprofit public charity that seeks to honor and preserve this history while educating people on the pre-NBA history of African American basketball. Across 22 games this month, Big East basketball teams will wear special warmup shirts featuring the name and logo of a Black Fives team. Meanwhile, coaches will wear commemorative pins and in-arena videos will inform fans of the initiative. St. John’s Men’s Basketball is honoring the St. Christopher Club through this partnership. This African American basketball team was founded in 1907 and initially played at St. Philip’s Church in Midtown Manhattan. Known as the “St. C’s,” they won four Colored Basketball World’s Championships in the 1910s, but their impact expanded beyond the court. During this decade, the congregation moved to Harlem and played a key role in the cultural transformation of the neighborhood into what it is today. Meanwhile, Women’s Basketball is representing the Younger Set Club, an all-Black women’s athletic and social club. Founded in 1912, Younger Set played at East 134th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem. They are said to have hosted some of the best female talent in the city, according to the Black Fives Foundation. Though the Black Fives era is relatively unknown by most people, initiatives such as this partnership between the Big East Conference and the Black Fives Foundation can provide this education with a great platform. In teaching the general public about these pioneers of basketball, a greater context could be provided for how the sport has developed into what it is today.



A Ta le o f two h a lv es:

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

From St. John's to CBS Sports St. john's blows 17-poinT Lead versus villanova in 2022 big east tournament quarterfinal Brady Snyder | March 11, 2022

NEW YORK, NY — The St. John’s Men’s Basketball program hasn’t advanced to the Big East Tournament Semifinals in 22 years, and for the better part of their tournament run, it looked like the drought was destined to end. The Red Storm blew out DePaul in the opening round Wednesday night — the largest margin of victory in a conference tournament game since 2010. Against No. 2 Villanova, the No. 7 St. John’s team was in control for 30 minutes, but let their lead slip to suffer a heartbreaking loss, 66-65, in the Big East Quarterfinals on Thursday, March 10. In their first game Wednesday night, the team came onto the floor looking sluggish for the better part of five minutes. Head coach Mike Anderson called it ‘nerves’ in a post game media conference; junior Julian Champagnie called it a ‘lapse.’ Whatever it was, it was nowhere to be found when the Johnnies tipped off against the Wildcats. From the opening tip onward, St. John’s established a strong paint presence and maintained it throughout the half. Though the easy layups, dunks and floaters came, the team was dominant anywhere inside the arc. Star forward Champagnie scored the game’s first

points with a mid-range jumper and set the tone for the offense. The one area where the Red Storm offense stagnated was from three-point range, as none of the team’s shooters were able to find their stroke. In their first nine chances — some wide-open looks due to creative passing lanes — St. John’s only knocked a single three-pointer down. Those long-range woes would continue throughout the night, with the team finishing with four made three-pointers in 19 attempts. Their woes beyond the arch didn’t matter at first, because Villanova delivered one of their worst shooting performances all season in the first half. The Wildcats missed their first five chances from deep, and continued to take any deep shot they could despite the low efficiency: the team took nine more three-pointers than two-pointers in the opening period. As the teams exited the court, the Johnnies held a seven-point lead, but an unfortunate foul call loomed large. Just before the half, Posh Alexander stood his ground roughly a foot outside of the restricted area. Two Villanova players collided with Alexander, and the resulting call was a blocking foul — not a charge. “It was a charge. I mean, it was a charge,” Anderson reiterated in a post game media conference. “That’s what it was. And so that’s what I’ll say on that.”

The supposed missed call represented Alexander’s third personal foul, and the point guard was immediately removed from the court. Anderson had to use his best playmaker sparingly, fearing that Alexander would reach the maximum early in the second half. “I thought it had an effect,” Anderson said of the foul trouble. “I thought we had some guys that came in that gave us some significant minutes.” Even still, the coach acknowledged that Alexander’s third foul altered the amount of minutes — and the intensity — the sophomore guard could play. Despite the team’s foul trouble, St. John’s returned to the floor with force, extending their lead to as many as 17 points. Champagnie scored five points in the first two minutes of the second half, while Villanova continued their scoring troubles. But the depth of the Wildcats, led by their fifth-year point guard Colin Gillespie, evidenced they are impossible to keep down for that long — Villanova trailed for more than 33 total minutes — and they peaked at the right time. A late-game stretch that saw Villanova knock down 9-of-11 field goal tries propelled the Wildcats ahead of the Johnnies, and with a restrained Alexander, it took minutes for St. John’s to retake the lead. “They have been there; they’ve

done that,” Anderson said of Villanova’s track record. “I guess their experience kicked in gear at the end.” The final blow to St. John’s season — in the most fitting medium — was two made free-throws by Villanova with 2.8 seconds left in regulation. The team fought to retake the lead in the final minute of play, 65-64, and although they provided a valiant stand under the basket, Champagnie committed the foul. “The thing I was more disappointed tonight more so, the free-throw line discrepancy,” said Anderson. “That took place here and it took place at their place.” Villanova made 17-20 tries from the charity stripe, but St. John’s made 7 of their 11 attempts. And that’s how the St. John’s season ends — outstanding individual performances from Champagnie, who scored 23 points, and Alexander weren’t enough to keep the team’s postseason hopes alive. The program had high expectations all season, as the fans, media and coaches waited for the Johnnies to figure out their lingering issues. In the end, it never happened. “If you watched the team, they just kind of rolled over the whole season,” Anderson said. “You saw a team that probably could and should have been [in the] NCAA [Tournament.]”

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