__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

VOL 94 : 16 FEBRUARY 22ND, 2017

FORCE FEED The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

torchonline.com

UNIVERSITY TO IMPLEMENT MANDATORY MEAL PLANS FOR ALL ON-CAMPUS RESIDENTS

SEE THE STORY ON PAGE 3

TORCH PHOTO/ LAUREN FINEGAN

Torch Docs: Get to know the Muslim Student Association Scan the QR Code to go directly to the video! 6

ANGELICA ACEVEDO News Editor In light of the recent contentious rhetoric from the White House concerning immigrants and refugees from a number of Muslim-majority countries, the Torch decided to interview some of the members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Cousins Seid and Ibrahim Mulic, the president and vice president, respectively, of MSA enlightened us on what it means to be a Muslim in the United States. They welcomed us into their prayer room and taught us some of the basic principles of Islam: shahadah, salat, zakat, sawm and hajj. Many students aren’t aware that St. John’s University has an association of Muslim students, which is why they want to reach out to

them—to let them know that they’re very much a part of the St. John’s community. Seid believes that fear among the Muslim students on campus, is one of the reasons the organization has been silent for the past couple of years. “Muslims on campus started becoming afraid of their identity,” Seid said. Ultimately, what the sophomores mainly want to instill in people’s mindsets is that the religion of Islam isn’t synonymous with terror. “The biggest misconception I’ve seen of my religion is probably everything,” Seid said. Ibrahim added, “The word Islam means peace ... That’s like saying peace is a religion of violence.” You can view our short documentary with the full interview on the MSA on our website, torchonline.com or our Youtube channel . Use the QR code here to watch it now!

TORCH PHOTO/ GINA PALERMO


News

MCU partners with SJU

torchonline.com TORCH GRAPHIC/YENNY NG

2

WeeK THREE

BRYANT RODRIGUEZ ARIANA ORTIZ PHOTO COURTESY/NYMCU.ORG

Municipal Credit Union (MCU) is partnering with St. John’s University.

ARIANA ORTIZ

Assistant News Editor Municipal Credit Union (MCU) has now opened membership to St. John’s students across the University’s four New York campuses, solidifying its position as the official credit union of the University community. The announcement was made at St. John’s men’s basketball game against Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 11, during a presentation by President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, SGI President Chiara Miuccio and MCU Board Chair James Durrah. Students who opt into the MCU Squared Student Banking Program will have access to opening a checking and savings account and a Visa credit card, as well as personal and auto loans. “We encourage all St. John’s students to look at MCU as a low-cost financial alternative to banks and other lending institutions. We are confident that MCU can help them grow into financially responsible and successful young adults and future leaders of our communities,” Durrah said. The expansion, which was approved by New York State’s Department of Financial Services, is an addition to MCU’s existing relationship with the University. MCU already serves as the official credit union of St. John’s faculty and staff, including University Athletics. According to an MCU press release, it has been serving St. John’s faculty and staff “for many years,” while its partnership with University Athletics came more recently. “Like Municipal Credit Union, St. John’s has a long history as a New York City institution, and we are proud to strengthen our relationship with MCU to provide this service to our students,” President Gempesaw said. MCU, which is headquartered in NYC, is one of the oldest and largest credit unions in the country, according to the same press release. On its website mycreditunion.gov, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) defines credit unions as not-forprofit financial institutions which “typically offer higher rates on savings, fewer fees, and lower rates on loans.” NCUA estimates about 106.2 million members of federally insured credit unions in the U.S. as of September 2016.

Opinion Editor Assistant News Editor A month into his term, President Donald Trump has focused on establishing new rules regarding immigration policies and border protection, met with leaders from Japan, Canada and Israel to discuss bilateral relations and managed a scandal involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Crackdown on Illegal Immigrants According to a memo released on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security, President Trump seeks to utilize local police forces to crack down on illegal immigrants and deport them at a faster rate. It also aims to revoke privacy rights from immigrants and build new detention facilities, as reported by The New York Times. Administration officials stated that certain immigrants are protected from immediate deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DHS is focusing its efforts on deporting

immigrants who have committed crimes within the United States. Flynn is Out, McMaster is in After serving less than a month as National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn resigned Feb. 13 after being accused of contacting the Russian ambassador prior to the inauguration and misleading Vice President Mike Pence on the subject of the conversation, according to CNN. On Monday, President Trump appointed Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to replace Flynn after his first choice, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down the position, as reported by Fox Business News.

more treacherous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press,” Carl Bernstein, an investigative journalist who reported on Watergate and current CNN political analyst, said, “There’s a history of what ‘enemy of the people’ means, as used by dictators and authoritarians including Stalin and including Hitler… It’s a demagogue’s statement.”

War on Media On Feb. 17, President Trump tweeted out a controversial remark directed toward The New York Times, CNN and NBC News, referring to therm as “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people.” The tweet was deleted and replaced soon after with an updated version which included ABC and CBS News. “Trump’s attacks on the American press as enemies of the American people are

PHOTOS COURTESY OF/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster appointed National Security Adviser.

Students network at Spring Career Fair

ALL PHOTOS/KYLE ACMA

The Spring Career Fair was held on Thurday, Feb. 16 at the Taffner Field House during common hour, helping students network with businesses.


News

torchonline.com

3

New meal plan sparks dissatisfied opinions For rising juniors and seniors, living on campus is set to become more expensive next year

A recent change in meal plan policies for on campus students is causing a stir at St. John’s. In an email last week, the University announced that at the start of 2017-2018 school year, every on campus resident will be requiered to provide a meal plan, including those who live in the townhouses. Founders Village, also known as the townhouses, previously did not require residents to pay for a meal plan. According to Executive Director of Auxiliary and Conference Services Scott Lemperle, the dining contract with the food vendor Chartwells has been renegotiated for the upcoming academic year. “This new contract allows for the addition of four days to the meal plan calendar,” Lemperle said in an emailed statement to the Torch. “These additional days will enhance the meal plan service before and after the holiday and seasonal breaks throughout the school year.” “Approximately 65 percent of students who reside in the Founders Village are typically enrolled in a Resident Meal Plan,” Lemperle added. As a result of the changes, juniors and seniors who want to go without a meal plan will be limited to Seton Complex, Goethals Complex or the Henley Road Complex. For those who decide to remain in the

I’m paying for a meal plan that I won’t even be able to use... - Alessondra Bruno -

Bruno said she has to go to the city twice a week for risk management classes. Therefore, she said she will be, “...paying for a meal plan that I won’t even be able to use doesn’t make sense.” Junior Taylor McCauley is consider-

How Much Your Food Costs

Meal Plan Prices (1 Year)

Opinion Editor

townhouses, the minimum meal plan required will be the Apartment Meal Plan, which provides seven meals a week with 200 meal plan points a semester. Some students have reacted negatively to the changes, with some telling the Torch that they plan to live on campus next year. “I do not have any intention [of living in the townhouses] and I would be livid if I needed a meal plan,” sophomore Arianna Smith said. The new meal plan requirements does not appeal to sophomore Alessondra Bruno, who attends classes at the Manhattan campus.

BRYANT RODRIGUEZ

$6,250

$6,150

$6000 $5000 $4000

$4,300

$3000 information from stjohns.edu

$2000 $1000 0

Apartment Meal Plan 7 Meals + 200 points per semester

Residence Village Meal Plan 10 Meals + 300 points per semester

Carte Blanche (Required for Freshmen) 22 Meals + 50 points per semester (unlimited access to Montgoris)

TORCH GRAPHIC/STEVE VERDILE

The above graph shows a breakdown of the different types of meal plans the University will offer.

ing moving off campus, citing the cost of room and board and lack of food options as a major factor. “The mandatory meal plan in the townhouses is ridiculous and expensive,” McCauley said. “I moved into the townhouses for convenience and the freedom from a meal plan.” As a vegetarian, McCauley feels that the money that a meal plan would cost could be spent on “better tasting and healthier food.” “Claiming that the majority of students

already have a meal plan in the Townhouses is ludicrous,” she added.” Who cares?” According to the Continuing Student Housing Selection guide of 2017-2018, Carey Hall will be reserved for juniors and seniors and those on Staten Island are limited to Arlo Road as the Howard Ave. apartments are no longer available. Carey Hall will also feature an upperclassmen pharmacy community for junior and senior pharmacy students to promote academic success within those in the major.

School of Ed Dean talks education issues SJU to

SUZANNE CIECHALSKI

Editor-in-Chief School choice has been at the forefront of politics for over one month, but public education is the backbone of the country, according to School of Education Dean Michael Sampson, Ph.D. The nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education sparked, among other things, a contentious debate on school choice. In a recent interview with the Torch, Sampson talked about the University’s involvement across the city in both public and private schools. “At St. John’s, because of our Vincentian mission, we have a focus on social justice, so we want to be sure that all kids can have a great education regardless of their ability to afford it,” he said. “And so, we want to be sure that we put money into public education because all the statistics show that when you put money into public education the country benefits.” He added that St. John’s works with Catholic schools across the diocese of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island on school choice programs, but also has partnerships with New York City public schools. He said that 77 percent of graduates from NYC public schools go to college. “There may be a misnomer that our schools aren’t good,” he continued, “They are good. They’re excellent and I’ve seen some of the best instruction anywhere in the country right here in New York City.” Sampson also spoke about common core, a set of educational standards that states

PHOTO COURTESY/ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY

Dean Michael Sampson talks education issues.

have the option of adopting. Common core has been at the center of debates among parents and teachers—some of whom believe that the standards are damaging for students. Sampson defended the curriculum, citing its development by experts as one of its strengths. “The common core curriculum was developed by the very best minds in each of the disciplines,” he said. Calling the common core strong, Sampson pointed out that it’s not a federal curriculum, and added that it’s not necessarily new. “It’s not something new, it just replaced something else. We’ve always had a standards-based curriculum for the last 30, 40 years, and so it’s just new, stronger standards.” Sampson emphasized the importance of

state control over education, and said he believes that’s something the new education department will allow. “I think we’re excited about new opportunities and a new Department of Education,” he said. “I think there’s every education that they will look more to states for leadership programs, and as deans of education in the state of New York, that’s what we want. We know New York pupils that are K-12, and we know what’s best for them.” On proficiency vs. growth in students— an issue that came up during DeVos’ hearing and seemed to stir some confusion, Sampson said he thinks educators want both. “We’re looking for growth in students more than anything else,” he said. “But, we also want proficiency, and proficiency occurs with good teaching.” Proficiency, he said, is better measured by teachers than by a test that only happens once per year. Sampson discussed the Department of Education under former president Barack Obama, in which he said there was an idea of evaluating teachers based upon how kids scored on tests. He said the method is too sloppy, and said that it’s important to look at how teachers move classes. In his eyes, education is more than just test scores. “It’s the affective dimension,” he said. “It’s how a teacher relates to the class; it’s how they inspire the class, and it may be that the affective domain is the key to connecting to the cognitive domain—that if people feel successful, they feel loved, they feel part of a family, I think that’s when learning is enhanced, so we want to keep those things part of our school culture.”

open L.I. grad center

SUZANNE CIECHALSKI

Editor-in-Chief The University announced last week that it has leased new space for a Long Island Graduate Center in Hauppauge, NY. The announcement, sent by University Provost Robert Mangione, PhD., said the center is part of the school’s effort to enhance its teaching and learning environment. “St. John’s is committed to continuing to offer quality graduate education programs on Long Island,” Mangione wrote in the email. “This new, centralized location provides us with the opportunity to serve our current students and to expand the academic offerings at this location.” The center will serve Long Island-based students in the graduate programs through the School of Education and St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Six state-of-the-art classrooms will be in the one-story building. It will also have video-equipped conference rooms, offices for full-time faculty based out of LI, gathering spots for students and space for special events. According to Mangione, SJU plans to open the facility in June 2017. It replaces its former Oakdale campus, which was sold in September 2016.


4

News

torchonline.com

SJU Fair Trade Committee talks future goals

The Committee aims to achieve official Fair Trade designation this semester Staff Writer In the spring semester of 2014, the St. John’s for Fair Trade Committee was founded and has maintained efforts to make St. John’s University a Fair Trade-designated University by working with Fair Trade Campaigns, a non-profit organization. Fair Trade is defined as trade which gives fair prices to manufacturers in developing countries to ensure that marginalized farmers and workers around the world receive better treatment and a more stable income. Co-Chairman Prof. Sean Murray spoke about the committee’s efforts in an interview with the Torch. “The committee’s main goal right now is to achieve official Fair Trade designation from Fair Trade Campaigns. To date, we’ve completed three of the five objectives set by Fair Trade Campaigns: we formed our committee which holds monthly meetings, a number of SJU offices and events provide Fair Trade coffee and Fair Trade has been integrated into a number of courses and learning opportunities,” Murray said. Murray also elaborated on the organization’s plans for the future. “We have two objectives still to complete: Ensure that each campus vendor provides at least two Fair Trade items, and have the SJU administration endorse a non-binding resolution to continue rais-

ing awareness about Fair Trade. SJU is very close to completing the vendor objective … With regards to the resolution, our hope is to begin talks with administration this semester,” Murray added.

RAKESH SINGH

I think as a Vincentian University our missions align perfectly... - Katharina Lemmerz -

Murray also stated that he believes students play the most important role when it comes to making St. John’s a Fair Trade-designated University, and listed a few actions students can take. “Talk to campus vendors about increasing the number of fair trade products, support ‘Fair Trade Friday’ sales, raise Fair Trade issues in class discussions, reach out to administration and express interest and visit Campus Ministries and ask about becoming active in Catholic Relief Services,” Murray said. Katharina Lemmerz, the student cochair, recalled the University’s mission statement as a Vincentian institution. “Fair Trade represents social justice and

Hot Topics tackles mass incarceration in the U.S. MARYBETH GERDELMANN

Staff Writer In an effort to make the student body more aware of important social justice issues, St. John’s University created a series of discussions collectively called “Hot Topics in Social Justice.” On Feb. 16, 40 students and faculty members gathered in the D’Angelo Center to listen to a panel of experts discuss the social issue of mass incarceration in the United States. From the Staten Island Campus, 10 students also tuned in to watch the discussion through a live video making it possible for both SJU campuses to become engaged in the panelists’ viewpoints about incarceration. Natalie Byfield, Judith Ryder, Reverend Demetrius Carolina Sr. and Antonio Lodato were the panelists that came to make sense of this national problem. In 1994, The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was enforced allowing $19 billion to go toward the incarceration of more people. In 2015, 2,173,000 people were reported to be in prisons across the U.S. This means that the U.S. makes up five percent of the world’s population, but also holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Byfield, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, discussed how policing methods have effected mass incarceration. “The rate of crime does not correlate with the rate of incarcerations,” Byfield said. She also made it a point that the increase of incarcerations in the U.S. is due to the fact that the police are cracking down on more misdemeanors, such as drug and property offenses. Ryder, who also works in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, focused on the increase in incarcerations of women and girls. “Due to backgrounds of physical abuse and economic disadvantage, some women are led down the wrong path,” Ryder said. “As a result of women being arrested for nonviolent offenses, the number of women in prison has increased 50 percent.” Following the input from the panelists, those in attendance had the chance to ask questions regarding the presentation. One inquiry dealt with what lies ahead for mass incarceration. Dr. Carolina, the director of the Central Family Life Center in Staten Island said, “It takes real work on various levels to change a system.” “There must be a social will among the people in this nation to control incarceration,” he concluded.

TORCH PHOTO/ANGELICA ACEVEDO

Members of the SJU Fair Trade Committee spoke to students about Fair Trade on Oct. 31, 2016.

a commitment to sustainability which I think is really important in a world where the consumer has a large influence on products that are in demand,” Lemmerz said. She continued, “I think as a Vincentian

University our missions align perfectly and by becoming a Fair Trade Recognized University we would open ourselves up to more opportunities to raise awareness and make an impact on campus by promoting Fair Trade and all its parts.”


News

torchonline.com

5

Dear World sets up studio at SJU

ARIANA ORTIZ

Assistant News Editor “Dear World,” a nationwide photography project which calls itself “part business/art project/social experiment” on its official website, set up a portrait studio this past Thursday, Feb. 16, in the DAC living room. All St. John’s community members were invited to participate in the largescale photoshoot from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dozens of students at a time filtered into the room throughout the day to become a part of the project, first congregating into small groups around several tables set up for the event. The process of participating in the portrait session consisted of three steps: Participants would initially share a personal anecdote about their background or past experiences; a Dear World volunteer would then write a selected phrase from the participant’s story on their skin in black marker and lastly, the participant would step into the photography studio to have their portrait taken. “I find it interesting, because everyone gets to show their story. I think everyone has something to say, so it’s really nice that Dear World is helping to show that,” Sara Kazi, a freshman biology major, said shortly before joining a group. “I think the impact of Dear World is found in the people who either take the photograph, have their photograph taken, or people who see their friends’ and their colleagues’ photos,” the Dear World founder, Robert Fogarty, said. “What I hope is that they discover something new about their friends and their colleagues.” A private VIP portrait session was held the evening before the public event, where a group of student leaders, faculty and staff shared their own stories and were photographed in the Little Theatre. These im-

ages were projected onto a screen in the DAC living room the next day, so participants from the general public could glean a sense of what being a part of the Dear World project entails. “We invited people who students know of, but maybe don’t know the full story behind them or the full journey that they’ve had,” Associate Director of Residence Life, Sue McNeilly, said. McNeilly is also a member of the Student Affairs Community Inclusion and Diversity Committee, the driving force behind Dear World’s presence on campus. McNeilly said that the idea for having Dear World come to the University came from what she described as a post-election lack of communication among the student body, faculty and staff. “Our committee works to create spaces where we can help educate students and staff about things like inclusion and diversity,” McNeilly noted. In November, we found that our students were in a really tough place of being able to talk to each other, because they were really just honing in on the differences between them as opposed to maybe some of the commonalities and things that we share,” McNeilly said. Later that evening, the portraits were screened in the Little Theatre and a group of student leaders from both the Queens and Staten Island campuses were asked to share their story again, with a larger audience. “Unfortunately, not everyone has a voice in the world today and I feel like that’s something that’s invaluable,” Anthony Pryor-Calloway said, a senior and Resident Assistant who assisted in facilitating the event. “I feel like Dear World does a good job of just allowing people to tell their stories in their own voice, and at the same time allows room for people to just come and understand each other.”

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF/DEAR WORLD

TORCH PHOTO/KYLE ACMA


6 Features

torchonline.com

Most memorable spring break From studying abroad to volunteer trips JULIA KOTAEV

Contributing Writer Spring break is coming up on Feb. 27-March 4 and all of St. John’s University students have exciting plans coming up. Whether you’re going somewhere warm or staying on campus and enjoying the city, make it one for the books. Natalie Artiles is a junior who studied abroad spring 2016 and was a part of the Discover the World program, where she traveled to Seville, Paris and Rome. Her spring break abroad lasted a week. She and her friends took a trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy with a student travel agency called Bus2Alps, and went there with other study abroad students from other universities. They went to the island of Capri on a boat cruise and went under the Blue Grotto, which translates to ‘cave in the water.’ Artiles said, “When you get to the top of the island of Capri, there's a beautiful edge of the mountain cliff, so we all jumped over to it and took sick pictures.” On the last day, she and other study abroad students had a beach day on the Amalfi coast consisting of gelato, paninis and sunshine. The beach has black little pebbles and the water was super clear. Her friend Michael Johnson, also a junior on the trip, said something memorable to her that she’ll never forget, “We’re never going to be able to relive this moment. We won't be able to be in Europe with all of our friends at four months at a time with our friends.” It's a once in a lifetime experience. Artiles suggests that everyone studies abroad. Katarina Guerrero is from Miami, Fla. This is the glorified spring break destination for several college students. Being from Miami, Guerrero never really planned a spring break trip. She dedicated it to volunteering for the Sony Miami Open which she’s been participating in for four years. What Guerrero loved most about volunteering for

the open was the atmosphere and being around a sport that she loves. The location was amazing as well, being on an island called Key Biscayne. She never had to plan a trip with friends because her friends would volunteer with her at the Open. She would tell her par-

Spring break is a week of partying and depending what week your break falls on, students can go to Ultra or Nikki Beach, but overall, there are always lively spring break events occurring. Guerrero says it’s the perfect escape from cold weather, which is something all of us

Natalie Artiles in the Blue Grotto during her trip to the Island of Capri over her study abroad trip. PHOTO/NATALIE ARTILES

ents, “You can go on a trip, but I’m staying here in Miami.” There were foreign people from all over the world at the Open, so she always met new and interesting people. She cites this as what makes volunteering for the Sony Miami Open memorable. Guerrero would say the “hype” for going to Miami for spring break is definitely true.

St. John’s students can relate to. Alejandro Martinez is a sophomore who dedicates his spring breaks to family and work. He’s actually never been on a vacation during spring break and feels that spending the week with his family is the best thing to do. His best memory with spending his spring break with his family is being to-

gether at a big dinner table, with a lot of delicious food, and telling jokes. Many college students enjoy vacationing during spring break, but there are the many of us that go back home and spend it with family. This is always great, and wonderful to catch up with family members in midst of our hectic college schedules. One of his favorite memories from his spring break with his family is waking up and playing basketball all day with his cousins until they got tired. It’s always great to spend time with his brothers because they partake in activities they did as children, and it’s always a wonderful, youthful reminder. He looks forward to stuffing his face with food with his cousins and playing gamecube till they pass out this year. Xitaaz Rampersad spent her spring break in her native Trinidad last year. Spring break always falls around carnival season, which Rampersad loves participating in. It is a two-day masquerade festival where people wear costumes, dance and celebrate around the city for almost 10 hours a day. Her senior year of high school was her first time participating and she signed up at 16 since individuals need to sign up for a band one year in advance. She has met Amber Rose at Carnival and Diplo at a pre-Carnival party. Being in a band means going on stage and dancing collectively; there are 20 bands overall. There is pretty mass, black mass and traditional mass. Rampersad has also been featured on TV dancing in Carnival. Even though the festival is only two days, the partying is nonstop the whole week. Rampersad says participating in carnival is the highlight of her life and everyone should go experience carnival at least once in their lifetime. Whether you’re traveling internationally, nationally, or even going back home, make sure your spring break is memorable. Life is too short to not come back to campus with a great story to tell.

Don’t be bored this spring break Check out these activities that will keep you busy

CRYSTAL GRANT

Staff Writer In a city where we have world renowned museums like the MET and Museum of Natural History, smaller museums like the Neue Galerie tend to go unnoticed. But like they say, size doesn’t really matter because the Neue Gallery boasts an extraordinary collection of early 20th century German and Austrian art that is absolutely worth checking out. And you’re in luck. On March 3, the museum is hosting their monthly ‘pay as you wish’ night which takes place every first Friday of the month from 7-9 p.m.

MUSEUMS

Speaking of larger museums, maybe you have never even bothered to check out the MET or Museum of Natural History because of the hefty price of admission. What you might not know is that their admission prices are actually just suggested donations and you can leave any amount you want for a ticket. Now you have no excuse not to go, especially since you will have the free time over break, and oh, you’re welcome by the way. But you know what, maybe you don’t want to spend all your time sifting through fancy museums staring at old pieces of art by people that died before your parents even thought to conceive you. Maybe you’re a bit more in touch with

the modern world and want to see what great creations people living in the now are making. If so, then you should make your way down to Chelsea to view the works of independent arts at the Clio Art Fair. The fair takes place from March 2-5 and you may end up liking some of the works so much you need to take one home.

ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE

Even though St. Patrick’s day isn’t until until later this month, Queens is holding their annual St. Patrick’s day parade on March 5th at Newport Ave. and Beach 130th Street in Rockaway Beach. Don’t feel like you’re going to be getting a watered down experience just because it isn’t the big Manhattan parade.

It is going to have the same bagpipes, marching bands, dancers and firetrucks without the additional crowds.

FRENCH CINEMA FILM FESTIVAL

Are you one of the few people walking on this planet that wasn’t doing backflips when the sequel to the Fifty Shades of Grey sequel was announced? Maybe your taste in film is a little more avant garde than the rest. If that is the case, then maybe the Rendez Vous with French Cinema Film Festival held March 1-12, might fit your taste. This festival boasts some of the best of contemporary French films and the special price for students is only $10.


Features 7

torchonline.com

SJU students experience NYFW WANDY ORTIZ

Staff Writer On Saturday, Feb. 11, Alexander Wang held his New York Fashion Week runway show entitled “No After Party,” for Fall/ Winter 2017. Sebastian Rico-Cintron, a journalism major at SJU and a NYC fashion/lifestyle blogger, was one of a select few to gain access to this email invite-only show, held at the abandoned RKO Hamilton Theater in upper Manhattan. Designer Alexander Wang is most widely known for two things within the fashion industry, what Cintron describes as “monochromatic, always all black” runway pieces and “huge after parties” following NYFW events. Cintron, as a regular attendee of New York fashion events, notes that Wang typ-

ically throws his biggest parties following the September fashion week, as fashion week shows happen approximately every six months. September fashion week 2016, which covers fashion that will be on sale in Spring/Summer of the following year, featured a splash of color from Wang, including white and pastels. Aside from color, one thing fashion week 2017 did not feature, as noted in the show’s theme, was a famed Alexander Wang after party. According to New York Magazine, invitations clearly stated “standing room only. no after-party.” Upon entry to the theater’s lobby, Cintron was met with signs stating the very same. This came as a shock to many, who Cintron says crowded into “an abandoned

PHOTO/SEBASTIAN RICO-CINTRON

Model walking down the runway at the Alexander Wang fall/winter 2017 fashion show in Harlem.

theater with graffiti all over the walls, very skatepark-esque, no chairs anywhere at all.” The crowd of fashion bloggers, journalists and fashion editors stood on the slanted floor, where one would usually find rows of theater seats leading up to the stage. Instead, the closer to the stage onlookers stood, the steeper the incline was. With people shoving and crowding around to get close to the stage Cintron said, “It was so packed, it was like a concert. Everyone was towering over each other’s head with phones and hands in the air. If you weren’t in the first couple rows, you could barely see anything.” He caught a glimpse of those with the best view in the theater’s Opera Box, high above the crowd, including Kylie Jenner, Ansel Elgort and A$AP Ferg. Models, among them Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, sauntered down the runway in black leather pants, jackets and cutout dresses. Sheer fabric, rhinestone-encrusted accessories and a pop of silver glimmered amongst ensembles. To dispel myths that “No After Party” was anything less than the truth, the phrase was written in clear, black lettering down the stockinged legs of some runway models. The show in total lasted approximately five minutes, with an ambiance akin to a heavy-metal concert at Terminal 5 on the West Side of the city. “People like Wang so much because he does the unexpected with everything,” Cintron said. “Everything is all black and people really like that. They also really like that he does crazy, expensive stuff for his parties, so he probably would rather budget a lot of money for a big after party following Spring/Summer fashion week, than two smaller ones between the two.”

PHOTO/SEBASTIAN RICO-CINTRON

Sebastian Rico-Cintron at the fashion show.

Insight on interning during fashion week

KYRA DONAHOO

Contributing Writer New York Fashion Week is the most raved about event during the fall, winter, spring and summer seasons. This gives upcoming and experienced designers the opportunity to showcase their visions to the world through a runway show or a fashion presentation. I have been granted the opportunity to work my second season for NYFW as a casting director assistant for Gilleon Smith-Mercado. As an assistant, it is my responsibility to create presentations of potential models for our client’s shows, input models into our database for deliberations, create check-in lists of models for makeup artists and hairstylists for documentation and direct models during rehearsal and the start of the shows. Although the fashion industry seems glamorous, which it is at times, there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears put into the preparations for NYFW.

During the season, there are long working hours because there is so much work that needs to be done. After the models have been picked for a show, it is our responsibility to have them come in for a fitting to get their measurements and see what garments they will be wearing, which can be difficult because models have busy schedules and come late to fittings. Occasionally, there can be problems with models that a designer has picked because some of them are TRADE, models who receive designer clothing in exchange for their services, and others who cost money to booked for shows. This season, I was able to help cast models for Berenik, Chromat, Anne Amour and Pamplemousse. In an article featured on The Cut, Chromat was recognized for having the best models during fashion week; which is a huge accomplishment for Gilleon-Smith Casting. Fashion week may be hectic and stressful, but I cannot imagine having a better job than I have now.

PHOTO/KYRA DONAHOO

Male and female models presenting and dancing during New York fashion week for fall/winter.


8

Features

torchonline.com

Women on Wall Street

Encouraging women in the workplace

Left to Right is Bailey Molnar (Treasurer), Meitar Levy (Vice President), Catherine Felle (President) and Gabrielle McDyer (Secretary) for Women on Wall Street standing in the D’Angelo Center. PHOTO/ANOINTING ONU

REZA MORENO

Features Editor Wall Street is one of the most well known streets in New York City. It is a big tourist attraction and also a placeholder for our economy. Many people would assume that a majority of men work on Wall Street or even the business industry. Catherine Felle is a junior from New Jersey currently studying business management and is the founder of a recently Student Government Inc. approved organization, Women on Wall Street. She decided on the name due to the organization being a resource for undergraduate women who are seeking a career in financial services. “Women who want to go into communications, public relations or journalism are more than welcome to join, but we focus mainly on financial services and what your career will look like in that spectrum,” Felle said.

She first came up with the pivotal idea after interning this past summer. “This summer I had an internship at BNY Mellon and I noticed that women were underrepresented, so in that internship pool and internship class women were immediately at a disadvantage,” Felle said. She worked in investment management at BNY Mellon, specifically retirement marketing. She doesn’t plan on going into this section post graduation, but truly enjoyed the experience and thought of it as a good place to start. Felle noticed how there were less women in the room at a time, and specifically in the company. The idea came to her after meeting different women and asking about their experiences in the workforce. She spoke with the women at her firm in different departments to get an insight of what each do, which then led to a conversation on different challenges women face. “They were very encouraging women in the workplace,” Felle noted. One thing she noticed was that there

were different issues that men don’t necessarily deal with, so she wanted to help better prepare women for that, and it only made sense to start within a university for future female employers. “I want to prepare my friends, other students for when they graduate,” Felle said. During her internship she was given a manager and a mentor as she assisted with their assignments, but also got to work on her own first hand assignment which was a resource guide on social security. Although Felle is the founder and president, she has the help of her other executive board members such as her junior vice president, Meitar Levy, freshmen treasurer, Bailey Molnar, and junior secretary, Gabrielle McDyer. “We decided for this semester we’re really looking to find our own identity on campus and to really make a mark for ourselves,” Felle said. Women on Wall Street has four main objectives which concentrate on personal and professional development. Felle said, “Our four objectives are eating

conversation in the recent change seen on Wall Street, providing technical training specifically for women, establishing a professional network and empower women’s leadership roles in the professional and personal goals.” As of now the organization has five general body meetings planned with different organizations represented at each of those meetings. Then they have two of their own events this semester. “I know women typically question or doubt themselves more than men and they really struggle with confidence; I feel it really weaves out to what we wear, how we do our makeup and hair, and how we present ourselves,” Felle said. “But then you may doubt yourself about speaking up or about asking questions you may think ‘oh, that’s a dumb question, I don’t want people to think I’m dumb.’ “So really it’s just finding a voice and speaking up and letting others know your opinion is worth valuing,” Felle said. “That’s something I hope members are able to take away from this.”


Features 9

torchonline.com

Student journalist brings NABJ to SJU

President Beverly Danquah is eager to diversify the newsroom

ANGELICA ACEVEDO

News Editor

ALL TORCH PHOTOS/LAUREN FINEGAN

Beverly Danquah president of the NABJ chapter on campus.

An organization that focuses on diversity in the newsroom is making its way into St. John’s University. In an interview with the Torch, Beverly Danquah, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), spoke about her career as a journalist so far and the organization’s inception. During their general body meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Torch was also introduced to their e-board. What does it stand for? The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) was founded in 1975 in

Washington D.C. It’s not only the largest organization of journalists of color in the U.S., but it also awards nearly $100,000 for scholarships and internships. The NABJ seeks to assist students pursuing a career in the media. Whether a student is a communications, public relations or journalism major, NABJ wants to help them get the most from the connections they share. Most importantly, they want to help diversify the media, as it’s an institution that, until this day, tends to be driven by white males. However, Danquah emphasizes that this organization isn’t limited to black students only, as students of all races are welcomed. “NABJ is open to everyone,” Danquah said. The students who run it There’s no doubt that the students involved in the NABJ team members are passionate about their individual careers, with resumes full of extra-curricular and professional experiences. Nevertheless, they are just as passionate about helping their peers succeed. Danquah, a Bronx native, is currently a sophomore in St. John’s. She’s had an extensive career in journalism since she was in high school—even receiving the Most Enterprising Reporter award from the New York University’s Urban Journalism Program when she was merely 16 years old. Now, she interns at CNN, writes for the Torch and is a R.I.S.E. mentor— among other endeavors.

How does she have the time to do this you might ask? “Don’t ask me, I don’t know,” Danquah replied. The other e-board members are all sophomores, involved in clubs such as WREDTV and RedHouse. They include Crystal Simmons, VP of Programs and Activities; Imani Jasmin of Public Affairs, VP of Public Affairs; Zoe Stanley, Treasurer; Destinee Clowe, Secretary; Christina Grierson and Vice President. Plans for the future According to Danquah, NABJ began on October 2016. Therefore, as an almost brand new organization, it’s still in the process of becoming fully-organized. They plan to help their members go to

journalism conferences all over the nation, as they see this is as an important way to network and learn from seasoned journalists. Additionally, Grierson said that they are working on setting up tours at organizations, like the Wall Street Journal and various public relations firms. They applied to be recognized by Student Government, Inc. but, to their surprise, did not receive it. “We felt like we were well prepared,” Grierson said. However, Danquah said they will consider applying for recognition in the years to come. For now, NABJ will focus on their main goal, “to bring about a union of diverse journalists dedicated to the truth and excellence in news.”

The e-board for the National Association of Black Journalists at their general body meeting on campus.

NEXT LEVEL

IN OUR CLASSROOMS, INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS TELL IT LIKE IT IS. At the NYU School of Professional Studies, you acquire real-world, practical experience from renowned industry experts and thought leaders in their fields. Our graduate programs provide an insider’s view to an education that is immediately applicable in the workplace. Immersed in the heart of NYC, you benefit from an unmatched global perspective, invaluable networking opportunities, and professional experiences at top companies and organizations. Fifteen career-focused master’s degrees prepare you for the challenges that lie ahead and the successes within and beyond your reach. Construction Management • Global Affairs • Hospitality Industry Studies • Human Resource Management and Development • Integrated Marketing • Management and Systems • Professional Writing • Project Management Public Relations and Corporate Communication Publishing: Digital and Print Media • Real Estate Real Estate Development • Sports Business • Tourism Management • Translation

ATTEND: A Graduate Information Session on Tuesday, March 14, 6 p.m. REGISTER: sps.nyu.edu/graduate-events1h VISIT: sps.nyu.edu/graduate1h

CALL: 212-998-7100

REQUEST INFORMATION: sps.nyu.edu/gradinfo1h APPLY TODAY: sps.nyu.edu/applygrad New York University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution. ©2017 NYU School of Professional Studies.

NYUSPS Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications Job Number: a1617-0687

Pub/Issue Date: St John’s U Torch 3/1/17


SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW

READY FOR THE SPRING SEASONS? We are too! Head to torchonline.com to see the schedules for each of the four spring seasons. All photos credited to Athletic Communications

Brian Gaffney

Troy Dixon

Josh Shaw Grace Kramer

BASEBALL DYLAN HORNIK Assistant Sports Editor

Make no mistake about it: winter is still here. Freezing temperatures and strong winds render it nearly impossible to make the short walk from the residence halls to the D’Angelo Center for something to eat between hibernation-like naps, and the motivation to go to class is at an all-time low across the St. John’s student body. While spring may feel like a lifetime from now, the St. John’s baseball team is already working towards some warm-weather paradise. After an up-and-down 2016 season that saw them finish just a hair above .500, the Red Storm is already back to the grind, kicking off their 2017 schedule with a trio of tournaments in the Carolinas. Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer, now in his 22nd season at the helm, hopes that his relatively young squad will benefit from their trying season a year ago. The team returns eight starters to a lineup that led the team to a conference-leading .284 batting average. “If you look at our group on the field, they have a lot of experience in Big East play,” Blankmeyer said in his 2017 season preview video. “I’m expecting those guys as well to have very good years.” The Red Storm, even with half of the roster comprised of underclassmen, have some elder statesmen ready to make the program the class of the Big East again. Outfielder Michael Donadio, a three-time First Team All-Big East selection, returns for his senior season after starting all 55 games and hitting .315 with 16 doubles in 2016. They also return redshirt junior John Valente, who ended the season on a ferocious 12-game hitting streak, and junior Jesse Berardi. He hit .298 and led the the team with five homers. The Red Storm should have no problems at the plate this season, but their fortune on the mound is questionable. They lost 2016 Big East Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hackimer to the MLB Draft, and their most experienced starting pitcher, senior Ryan McAuliffe, had a less-than-stellar 2016 campaign. With Hackimer, the all-time saves leader in program history, gone, the Red Storm needs to find a new hurler to close out games. There is a bevy of options, but none quite hold up to the standard set by Hackimer. Even with his outstanding 1.17

ERA, the team finished second-to-last in the conference with a 4.75 ERA. “Obviously, our major concern is the back end of our bullpen,” Blankmeyer said. “The personnel is there, we have a lot of different options, it’s just trying to figure out, ‘who are the guys?’” Still, there is hope that the Johnnies can slug their way through the season, similar to the way they mashed opposing pitchers in 2015 en route to one of the greatest seasons in program history. They recorded an absurd .288 team average and won 41 games, the second-highest total in team history. Playing in those early season tournaments could make a coach’s head spin. The Red Storm plays four games in a row on a back-to-back weekend to open up the season, then plays four games in five days before starting their conventional three-game series schedule. Blankmeyer, however, said that mixing up the schedule early on pays off later in the season. “Matching up in series versus matching up in a tournament is kind of like potluck,” Blankmeyer said. “I like the fact that we’re playing different styles of teams to see where we need to work and what areas we need to develop in.” Part of sorting through the team, as Blankmeyer said, is figuring out how the new pieces fit into the roster. Assistant coach Mike Hampton, who also serves as the recruiting coordinator, put together a nine-player freshman class made up almost entirely of players from the tri-state area; seven of those newcomers hail from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. They are not just local. The freshman class brings with them some mighty accolades from their high school days. All told, the freshman class boasts five players with high school All-State honors, and all of them could figure into Blankmeyer’s game plan at some point this season. “We have an outstanding recruiting class that’s currently here that we’re very excited about,” Blankmeyer said. “We certainly have added some depth to our lineup.” That depth will be sorely needed if the Red Storm wants to get through their tough schedule. They play a slew of potential NCAA Tournament teams in their first three weekends, and their non-conference schedule is littered with territorial rivalries. “It’s an interesting group,” Blankmeyer said. “We have a nice group on the field, and we certainly have some additions that I think are going to challenge for playing time.”

Sean Byrne

Colin Duffy McKenzie Murray

SOFTBALL KAYLEE HERNDON Staff Writer

Soon after being chosen to win the Big East in the Coaches’ Preseason Poll, receiving six of the available eight first place votes, the St. John’s softball team opened their season with split games, a loss to Florida and a win against Delaware. The softball team has brought on five freshman this season. “The expectation is that they all truly learn the game and our system as well so that they can instill it into the new people each year. Peer education is a big part of what we look to within our program. We want them all to gain valuable experience, learn from mistakes, mature, adjust and adapt to the speed of play at this level,” said Coach Amy Kvilhaug. The team also has eight of their starters returning and retained their entire pitching staff. “As far as the upperclassmen, the expectation is really the same as the freshmen. We expect adjustments, learning and an even keeled mentality and approach to the season,” Kvilhaug said. “No one person stands out in our program as we believe that every role has extreme value for us. A bench player or pinch runner brings every bit as much significance to our team as a starter,” she continued. Despite the significant number of new and returning players, the transition into this season has been smooth. “Our team chemistry is coming along

very nicely. It has been an enjoyable process watching the team mesh as a unit. I only see our bond getting stronger with each game. It’s been a fun challenge.” Gretchen Bowie and Madison Morris both received a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll after helping the team win three games at the `Strike-Out Cancer’ Tournament in Boca Raton, Fla.. Morris held hitters to a .119 batting average and had seven strikeouts. Bowie, a rookie, was only a single shy of the cycle and also finished the game with three runs scored in her fifth collegiate game. The week before, Kaitlin Mattera, McKenzie Murray, and Kaitlyn Wilkens were named to the honor roll. Mattera, a rookie, led the team in their opening weekend with a batting average of .667. Murray stood out in the game against Delaware, pitching six strikeouts. Wilkens also stood out in the game against Delaware, hitting a three-run home run to break the 2-2 tie The team’s record is currently 4-5. They will compete this weekend in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, a renowned competition in Cathedral City, Calif.. The Johnnies will make their way through the Collegiate Classic, Buccaneer Classic, and the St. John’s Invitational in their attempt to make the Big East tournament that takes place mid-May. Every game has equal importance to us. The most important game is always the next one we are preparing to play. Our approach is very much one game at a time. We firmly believe that no one opponent is any more or less important than the other.

LACROSSE DERRELL BOUKNIGHT Assistant Sports Editor

Jason Miller’s primary message to his team this season has been brief. In his 11th year as head coach of the St. John’s lacrosse team, Miller has gone through his ups and downs as the top man. But as the spring season nears and the competition of the Big East hovers above the 2017 campaign, Miller has given his new and returning players words that, in their simplest team, resonate in a number of ways. “Be ready to go.” Following a 2-12 record in 2016 and a 1-4 Big East record, the Red Storm look forward to what many are calling one of the toughest schedules in recent memory. Along with playing Syracuse, Yale and Marquette, all of which won their respective conferences last season, St. John’s will also face seven teams that ranked in the final 2016 USILA Coaches Poll. Aside from their record, one of the aspects the Johnnies look to improve upon is playing and working better as a team. Jason Debenedictis, a junior attack from Holbrook, N.Y., believes that the team is making significant progress. “As a team, I think it’s very important to get team camaraderie,” he said in a phone interview. “Being a group together. The freshmen have done a great job, they’ve gotten better. The sophomores have gotten better, and we have a lot of returning guys.” Debenedictis, who made the All-Big East second team following a 33-goal season, echoed Coach Miller’s sentiments of preparation for each player. “Coach said it doesn’t matter if you’re a captain,” he said. “Be a leader.” Seven starters from last year’s team are

returning. Debenedictis, who believes he’ll be looked at as a leader by his teammates, said that from what he’s seen on the field this year, the talent level has improved greatly. “Team over everything,” he said. “We have a ton of talent this year.” Already one game in, and the team has been awarded for their play. Senior midfielder Nick Heller, who Debenedictis mentioned several times, was named to the first Big East Weekly Honor Roll of the season following a two-goal, one-assist performance against Rutgers. Yet after a tough stretch last year in which they lost eight consecutive games before winning their final game of the year, Debenedictis reiterated that despite last season’s struggles, the fans have a lot to look forward to this year. “I think once [the fans] see us this spring, they’ll be excited. Working six days per week, 7 a.m. lifts,” he said. Fans and supporters in Queens should expect more this year from a team that has experience and expect more, even with a challenging schedule. “As usual, we are playing the best teams we can get, with maybe as good a home slate as we’ve ever had,” Miller said to RedStormSports.com. “There is not a game on this schedule that we won’t have to scratch and claw to win. We’ll need to be at our best every time out.” For St. John’s, it has never been about the individual, but players have improved in individual areas. The team as a collective unit is what will deliver and improve upon the down season from 2016. One day, one opponent at a time. “Take every game,” Debenedictis said. “Don’t look past one game.”

Giuseppe Truglio

GOLF NICHOLAS MCCREVEN Staff Writer

The St. John’s men’s golf team is excited to begin a new spring season coming off a successful fall season filled with potential. During the fall, the team placed in the top-10 in every invitational and tournament they attended, including a fourth place showing in their final invitational of the season, the Lehigh Invitational. Sophomore Andrew Baek placed third at the Alex Lagowitz Invitational in September, while freshman Gerald Mackedon finished his season off in October with first place at the Connecticut Cup and second place at the Lehigh Invitational. “He’s gotten a lot more comfortable with the other players on the team and that’s how he’s been able to flourish here. He’s got a big future here,” Coach Mal Galletta said about Mackedon. Now the Johnnies look forward to this coming spring season, starting Feb. 25 when they will attend the Loyola Intercollegiate in Arizona. They have had access to the golf room in Carnesecca all winter which has allowed them to continue practicing, albeit not an actual course, through the cold weather.

“We like to get into the golf room five days a week to keep our game sharp,” Coach Galletta said. “They already got out onto the course for practice once and plan on returning once more during days in which the temperature reaches the 50s.” As their tournaments approach, Galletta says that, “The goal is to eliminate high rounds. So everyone has to focus on their own game and it will help the team.” Baek and Mackedon both are looking to lower their stroke average, and also become more consistent. The team will head to Dallas on March 14 for the Bob Sitton Invitational, then to Villanova March 27 for the Wildcat Invitational. In April the Red Storm has three tournaments in the span of one week, going from Yale to Rhode Island then down to Navy. This doesn’t worry them, as they feel great about the schedule. Coach assures that the team’s grades aren’t a concern for them either, as they have the highest GPA of any team on campus and an incredible work ethic. They finish their season off with the tournament they look forward to the most, the Big East Tournament from April 30 to May 2.


12 Entertainment

torchonline.com

Bad Astronauts strike back! RACHEL JOHNSON Staff Writer

Have you ever seen “The Dating Game” where the three contestants were Shakira, Megatron and an emotionally distant rock? Probably not, unless you were at SJU’s Improv Club’s show on Feb. 15. On that Wednesday night in the DAC Coffee House, I found myself, as did many others, laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. SJU’s Improv Club, a.k.a. the Bad Astronauts, is a group of absolutely hilarious students with an affinity for improv and comedy. The show opened with a “celebrity guest,” the identity of whom the audience decided on. One of the actors stepped outside, out of earshot, and the audience chose a celebrity for him to be. After picking on Kanye West, the actor was invited back and the other actors began asking him questions, interview style, while he tried to figure out who he was based on the questions. The rest of the show was comprised of a bunch of short skits, each with a theme or idea, with a few long form skits in between. Long forms are where the audience gives a one word suggestion to inspire a set of skits that follow one another. One of the short skits was the aforementioned “Dating Game.” In this skit, one of the actors goes out of earshot and the

audience gives the three ‘contestants’ identities for the person choosing a date to pick from. The audience chose Shakira, Megatron and an emotionally distant rock. The actress choosing a date asked each contestant questions to figure out who they were. One question she asked was, “What is the ideal date you would take me on?” To this, ‘Shakira’ said that she would take her to Africa, ‘Megatron’ aggressively replied that he would take over the world and the ‘emotionally distant rock’ replied that it would take her to a garden to sit and do nothing. Another amazing skit was called “HalfLife,” where the audience gives a topic suggestion and the actors must improv a scene for two minutes. But then, they must redo the scene in half the time. This continues until the time allotted dwindles down to five seconds. The word given from the audience was ‘bees,’ so the scene began with one of the actors becoming a beekeeper talking about his bee farm. Two of the other actors jumped in as bees, one of them hyperactive, the other depressed. The final actress joined as the cameraman for the commercial the beekeeper was shooting. The bees kept interrupting the beekeeper as he tried to do the commercial, he threatened to bring out the spray if they didn’t behave, and then the bees stung him and he sprayed them just a time

ran out. This two minute scene then had to be redone in one minute, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, and finally, five seconds, each time becoming more ridiculous and more hilarious. I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard by the end. One of the other hilarious skits they performed was “Family Vacation” where two actors describe a set of photos of their family vacation to Bushwick, a location suggested by an audience member, with four actors posing as the photo slides, forcing the two actors to explain the ridiculous scenes they came up with. The show con-

tained many other short and long form skits, all of which were gut-bustingly funny. The Bad Astronauts are creative and absolutely hilarious, and I would highly recommend attending their next show on Wednesday March 8 at 8 p.m. in the DAC Coffee House. All of the performers are extremely talented and they were all able to portray completely different personalities throughout the show. As a first time viewer, I know this will not be the last time I attend one of their shows.

PHOTO BY AMANDA NEGRETTI


Entertainment 13

torchonline.com

Java Johnnies draws a big crowd

St. John’s rousing music event spotlights Black History Month ARIANA ORTIZ Assistant News Editor

This past Friday, Feb.18, the weekly Java Johnnies Coffeehouse was themed “Black in America Again” in honor of Black History Month, and was centered on the experiences of black people in the U.S. Each performer embodied one of eight emotions and concepts, including tragedy, anger, action and revival. The event took place in the DAC living room, which was filled to capacity and thrumming with energy and anticipation well before the first performer took the stage. The first performance of the night was by Amber Reese, who recited “Water,” a poem by Porsha Olayiwola touching on the resulting tragedies of oppression black communities face in the U.S. Reese’s performance, which symbolized “tragedy,” was powerful and solemn. The audience went completely still and silent as Keyome Johnson performed a wrenching rendition of Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit.” Even the usual Friday evening din of DAC settled down as soon as she sang the first note. “Being able to sing and be a part of tonight is huge for me. I think it’s really important to share our talents, especially the black community, and being an African-American female, it’s so big for me,” Johnson said after the event. She also stated that her performance was emotional

PHOTO BY AMBER VALENTIN

Cameron Tulloch, Roberto Benoit and Kevante Williams performing at Java Johnnies.

and personal for her. Cameron Tulloch, Kevante Williams and Roberto Benoit recited “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, followed by Queenise Foster’s stirring cover of “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Sophomore Chi Igbokwe sang and rapped the entirety of Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” to fervent applause.

One of the most memorable performances of the night was a live art show with accompanying live music. Zen Welch painted a piece promoting self love as Keith Buxton and Caleb Merlain played a soothing freestyle piece on the saxophone and piano, respectively. At the end of the performance, Welch triumphantly showed off her artwork to

the curious audience. Performances were interspersed with short presentations by on-campus organizations such as Food for Thought, Spectrum, Lambda Pi Upsilon and Alpha Kappa Alpha. Spectrum president Sean Sweeney gave a short speech on the disproportionately high rates of domestic violence and police brutality transgender women of color face, and Kennisa Ragland performed “Say Their Names,” a piece inspired by Tamir Rice and Trayvon Martin. Chris Stephens, Todd Davison, Maya Wade and Mariana Gomez briefly spoke between each performance, introducing the respective emotion or concept behind it. The event was catered by KeepIt Chef Culinary services, owned by St. John’s alum Justin Allison. Vice president of the University’s NAACP chapter, Morgan Bell, came up with the idea to host a special Java Johnnies focused on Black American experiences. Bell says that the inspiration for creating the event came from the current political climate. “I was just looking at how my friends, my family and my peers that are black handle the situations that are going on around them, and I wanted to take that and put it into song, or spoken word, we even had someone do live art with music,” Bell said. “The theme itself can seem a bit depressing, can seem a bit heavy, because it is something that should be taken seriously.

Powerful “13th” screens at SJU

Ava DuVernay’s slavery documentary stuns audience of students IRIS DUMAUAL Staff Writer

“The U.S. is home to five percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners,” former President Barack Obama announces in the opening of “13th.” As a part of its ongoing programming for Black History Month, a screening of “13th” took place in the D’Angelo Center’s Org Lounge on the evening of Feb. 16. In the 2016 documentary “13th,” Ava DuVernay, perhaps best known for her film “Selma,” takes a scathing look at both the history of racism against black people in the United States and its ongoing effects on the black community. The documentary traces the legacy of slavery through the lynching era, segregation and the civil rights movement, to the state of issues such as the prison-industrial complex, mass incarceration of primarily black and Latino men, police brutality and racial discrimination in the justice system. The showing was followed by a discussion lead by members of St. John’s LASO and Haraya. “This was the first time I watched ‘13th,’” one attendee, sophomore Nailah Fisher, said. “So I didn’t know what to ex-

pect. While I know the U.S. prison system is extremely flawed and biased against minorities, actually seeing the clips and the brutality that occurs behind those walls is disturbing. They treat people like animals and expect rehabilitation by the end. It’s ridiculous and just upsetting overall. But the film definitely made me want to take action against issues like this.” “13th” presents the history of racism against African-Americans in order to contextualize modern day issues, but it is not a historical documentary. Particularly in its third act, “13th” emphasizes the fact that we do not live in a “post-racial” era. Racism and slavery are not dead. The same systems of oppression that upheld Civil War-era slavery and Jim Crow segregation have only adapted in newer, more insidious ways, and are present as ever in modern-day society. “We haven’t abolished racial caste – we’ve redesigned it,” Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” said. Ultimately, “13th” is not a reflection on the past of racism against the black community. It is both a dose of reality and a call to action – a reminder that both self-awareness and activism are necessary to tackle the issues that communities of color continue to face today.

PHOTO/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Feature/documentary filmmaker Ava DuVernay at the American Film Institute Festival.


14 Entertainment

torchonline.com

A real American horror story? The popular FX series chooses the 2016 election as its season seven theme We all know American Horror Story (AHS) is infamous for having explicit, gory and downright bizarre plots. And now, news of their upcoming installment suggests that an even scarier story will be introduced—the 2016 election. The creator of the FX drama, Ryan Murphy, revealed some small details on an interview earlier last week. When asked about any new things happening for AHS on the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen interview, he said, “I don’t have a title, but the season that we begin shooting in June is going to be about the election that we just went through. I think that will be interesting for a lot of people.” Then, Cohen asked probably the most important question, which is whether there will be a Donald Trump character. To this, Murphy candidly replied, “maybe.” An uproar began on social media shortly after the news spread, as people began to speculate about what exactly the show will focus on and how they will portray the main characters of last year’s tumultuous elections. Junior Mary Servidad, said she was

“excited.” “I think it’s really ironic and controversial—I’m sure they’ll see a rise in viewers,” Servidad said. “I hope the show is as compelling as the plot suggests.” Whether you love or hate AHS, there’s no denying this series gives audiences fascinating stories to watch and talk about. Sure, this might be a sly way to

son. However, there are some who believe that the series goes a tad too far at times—which might explain the dip in viewership in 2015’s very carnall Hotel season. Like many fans who are apprehensive about the upcoming AHS season, junior Danny Iannello doesn’t like the newest theme. “Of course I’m going to watch it, but I feel like they’ll lose a lot of viewers. Or maybe it’ll be good because it’ll get more people talking about it and more people may watch it?” Iannello said. I think it’s really ironic “Overall, I’m not happy that’s the and controversial... I’m theme but it is the seventh season, sure they ’ll see a rise in maybe they’re running out of ideas.” While it makes sense that some viewers. people are afraid that the show might make matters worse in America—es- Mar y Ser vidad pecially between the media and the government—by exaggerating the negative aspects of last year’s elections, it’s clear why AHS would take that risk. boost their ratings, but why be so The 2016 elections were in no way cynical about the intentions for their a traditional affair, with the campaign upcoming project? trail, as well as the end result, impactThe fact of the matter is that AHS ing the whole world. has never been a conservative (pun Everyone was talking about it, evintended) TV show. eryone had an opinion. It uses current events, history and Therefore, AHS’ new season will pop culture to create an elaborate be just as controversial and buzzwordrama that’s never been done before. thy—just the way they like it. It pushes the limits every single sea-

ANGELICA ACEVEDO News Editor

DESIGN BY STEVEN VERDILE

“John Wick: Chapter 2” “The LEGO Batman Movie” DAVID ROSARIO Staff Writer

“The LEGO Batman Movie” is a movie inherently designed to sell toys, while simultaneously flaunting two of the most popular toy brands in one shiny package for 100 minutes while quietly hoping that the sheer entertainment value becomes enough to cancel out any cynicism. The gamble pays off, as “The LEGO Batman Movie” is not only the most joyous interpretation of this character ever put to film, but also the most heartfelt. When you peel back the many layers of satire and pop culture references that this film has to offer, you start to understand that at the core there’s a genuinely thoughtful character

study of Batman going on. In telling a story about Batman’s reluctance to take Robin under his literal wing, his insistence on working alone and his adamant refusal to acknowledge the Joker as a worthy nemesis, the film uses those opportunities to explore some of our hero’s deepest psychological fears. Diehard Batman fans will appreciate all of the little in-jokes scattered throughout, while anyone with the

most rudimentary knowledge of who Batman is can still have a great time watching it. Thanks to previous films, television series, cartoons, videogames and comics, most audiences are already more familiar with Batman than any other superhero, and the filmmakers wisely used that to their advantage. “The LEGO Batman Movie” simply exemplifies the very best of the genre it parodies.

PHOTO/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

MICHAEL AMBROSINO General Manager & Entertainment Editor It’s easy to love Keanu Reeves, isn’t it? Especially his John Wick character, who shoots through bad guys like the Patriots shot through the Falcons in the second half of this year’s Super Bowl. “John Wick: Chapter 2” is the sequel to the surprisingly amazing, action-packed and beautifully shot and choreographed 2014 film. It takes place about five days after the first and opens with John Wick on a hunt for some blood. Later in the film, John Wick becomes the hunted, which isn’t quite as fun – and therefore makes the original the slightly superior film – but still displays the same relentless energy that made the first so great. My one, personal qualm with the film is that there is never any real feeling of tension. We know John Wick is a badass, we know he’s going to take down everyone in his path, so we know he will more than likely not die. It drains the film of some of its suspense, but who cares? Keanu Reeves owns the role and has a lot of fun with it, and along with the quality camera-work and choreography, Reeves is truly the one who gives the movie its zealous life. “John Wick: Chapter 2” is an amazing action film – fast, ferocious, visceral and great, great fun from start to finish.


Entertainment 15

torchonline.com

Artist to watch: Maggie Rogers

ISABELLA BRUNI Chief Copy Editor Maggie Rogers. Remember that name, in fact, just add her to your Spotify playlist because once you do you definitely won’t forget her. This new artist’s captivating folk meets electronica sound is one to take this coming year by storm. The Maryland native got her official start into the industry from a masterclass for music students at The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where Pharrell Williams listened to students’ projects, offered constructive criticism and discussed the nature of the creative process. After listening to Rogers’ now first single “Alaska,” Williams said, “Wow. I have

zero notes for that. And I’ll tell you why, it’s because you’re doing you’re own thing, it’s singular.” Now almost one year since that masterclass, Rogers has released just this past weekend her album “Now That The Light Is Fading” comprised of five unique yet cohesive songs. “Color Song” is just what the title describes it to be. Rogers’ sings of a silver and purple sky at twilight and blue flowing water with the sounds of birds and crickets chirping softly and soothingly behind her haunting harmony. The first line of the song is the same as the album title, “Now that the light is fading.” The opening song to the album exposes her connection to her folk music roots from her first two albums “The Echo” (2012) and “Blood Ballet” (2014). Her

love of the banjo is the only non-folk sound in “Color Song.” Written in just 15 minutes, “Alaska” not only moved Pharrell Williams to tears, but casts a spell on any listener to dance to the happy pop tune. Rogers sings, “Cut my hair so I can rock back and forth, without thinking of you.” This song is the heart of the album and tells her story of hiking in Alaska and becoming at peace with things going on in her life. She sings to those epiphanies, “And I walked off you, and I walked off an old me.” The music video features Rogers dancing at dusk to the addictive tune in her homestate’s vast outdoors, just adding with visuals the making of a beautifully structured pop song. Rogers has said that after studying abroad in Paris she grew a new love for dance music, and that influence in seen within “Alaska.” “On + Off” comes in close to “Alaska” for non-stop replay clicks. This song has a glitchy beat and choppy sound which sounds not right, but is so right. “I’m coming up slowly, I’m high on emotion, with waves of this feeling, as light as the ocean” opens the song and dives right into electronic greatness. Rogers continuously shouts “take me to that place,” making you want to jump right into the computer screen and into her music video where she and three other dancers seem to be having the time of their life. Following an upbeat jam comes “Dog Years.” Rogers’ sweet voice mixed with a hopeful chorus of her singing “We will be alright, in the afterlife” will melt your heart. The quirky woods and cabin based music video with Rogers walking around in her flared jeans a microphone adds some extra flavor to the somewhat melancholy song.

Closing the album is the song “Better” that is the perfect mix between calming and eerie. She sings about “the silence” and going somewhere “better.” The beat and low snaps pick up, becoming more electronic, and the song fades to an end with Rogers repeating the word “better.” Maggie Rogers’ wondrous sound is refreshing in our current age of music. She will perform April 11 at the Bowery Ballroom if her album “Now That The Light Is Fading” tickles your fancy, as it should.

ALL PHOTOS/@maggierogers via Instagram

On-campus DO IT! art exhibit CARISSA HERB Assistant Features Editor

For the first art exhibition to take place on campus for the spring semester Yulia Tikhonova, the current gallery director brought DO IT! to life. The DO IT! Exhibition contains interactive pieces that spark hands on involvement with the work. Hoping to promote interaction between students from different academic backgrounds. Meaning that you don’t have to be an artist in order to make art. Curator Hans Ulrich Obris organized the set of instructions of various works that artists partaking in this exhibit can recreate. Instructions for the collections of works that can be chosen can be anything from extremely simple to elaborately complex. Faculty members in the art department worked with Tikhonova to decide which pieces would best to help translate the overall purpose of the exhibit. To do it, some engaging professors have gone as far as incorporating the exhibition into their class syllabus in order to get more student involvement.

Fortunately, the Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery space has made it possible for participating artists and Tikhonova able to display over three separate projects including a take on Yoko Ono’s “wish tree (1996),” a homage of red things, and an open opportunity to color different pages of coloring books. The wish tree has taken up a portion of the gallery’s open floor space in order to draw more attention to it. The wishes are displayed to represent flowering blossoms from afar, but they are collections of individuals’ sincere wishes. The larger piece that graduate students from the school will participate in is the drawing that the DO IT! exhibition is largely focusing on. On a wall space located just outside of the gallery the students will draw lines of different alternating colors. There is no stencil so that piece itself will take up quite a bit of time. This DO IT! exhibition is different from other exhibits that have been hosted here on campus because it is challenging every person in the process to step outside of the production comfort zone. Separating art from the original artist and give it a whole new purpose is what is seen at this exhibition.

ALL PHOTOS BY LAUREN FINEGAN


16 Opinion

torchonline.com

Flames of the Torch Why change the meal plans? Managing Board XCIV Suzanne Ciechalski, Editor-in-Chief Gina Palermo, Managing Editor Michael Ambrosino, General Manager Angelica Acevedo News Editor Bryant Rodriguez Opinion Editor Steven Verdile Design Editor Gina Palermo Photo Editor Isabella Bruni Chief Copy Editor Troy Mauriello Co-Sports Editor Carmine Carcieri Co-Sports Editor Reza Moreno Features Editor Michael Ambrosino Entertainment Editor

torchonline.com

@stjtorch

@sju_torch

@sjutorch

Ariana Ortiz Erin Bola Assistant News Editor Social Media Coordinator Sabrina Lau Alyssa Dugan Assistant Opinion Editor Social Media Coordinator Sahn Choi Jim Baumbach Assistant Editor Adviser Lauren Finegan Assistant Photo Editor Courtney Dixon Assistant Copy Editor Dylan Hornik Assistant Sports Editor Derrell Bouknight Assistant Sports Editor Carissa Herb Assistant Features Editor Yves Nguyen Assistant Entertainment Editor

Staff and contributors Yenny Ng Naomi Arnot Morgan Popek Crystal Grant Julia Kotaev Kyra Donahoo Amanda Negretti

Kyle Acma Wandy Ortiz Victoria Lohwasser Beatruz da Costa Rakesh Singh Marybeth Gerdelman Kaylee Herndon

Editorial policy

Nick McCreven Brianna Pace Brendan Myers Iris Dumaul Rachel Johnson David Rosario

About the Torch

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

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

Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administrations 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.

To contact the Torch by mail:

The Torch, St. John’s University 8000 Utopia Parkway Queens, NY 11439

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

Last week, the University announced that it would begin requiring all on-campus resident students — including those who live in the townhouses — to have a meal plan. This is a change from the past, as townhouse students, who have full kitchens in their rooms, have not been required to have meal plans. In response to this, some students who spoke with the Torch said that they’re changing their living plans for next year because they don’t want to be forced to purchase a meal plan — a sentiment that we can’t say we disagree with. We asked the University about the change and they said approximately 65 percent of students in the townhouses usually enroll in a resident meal plan. Even still, the reasoning seems unclear and we’d like to get more answers. This decision is taking away townhouse students’ choice when it comes to meal plans. And it doesn’t seem to make sense, given the fact that these students’ rooms are e kitchens. For the 2016-2017 academic year, a double room costs $11,720 per year and a triple costs $10,520. Adding the meal plan tacks on at least an additional $4,300 per year. This has the potential to cause an unnecessary financial strain on those students who would otherwise choose to cook their own meals or buy their meals from surrounding restaurants. If approximately 65 percent of students take a meal plan, the remaining

35 percent of students choose to go without one. With the rising costs of college education, including room and board, the University should clarify the reasons for the change and the benefit of forcing students to enroll a meal plan. An additional $4,300 is no small number, especially for students supporting themselves. It also takes away autonomy from students. To live in the townhouses, students must have a certain GPA and be a junior or senior. Clearly they are meant for students who are not only older, but who are also dedicated to their studies. Among students, getting into the townhouses is considered a perk of being a good student and being an upperclassman — so why take away some of these students’ independence, and force them to take a meal plan? Citing statistics on how many students take meal plans is not sufficient enough for imposing an extra cost on students living in the townhouses. Because of this, students are changing their minds about living arrangements for next year due to this announcement, so it’s clear that the choice of taking a meal plan factors into students’ final decision on whether to live in the townhouses. We’re calling on St. John’s to make the reasons for this requirement more clear — it’s what students and their families deserve.

Letter: St. John’s should honor former and alum Gov. Hugh Carey ADAM SACKOWITZ Special to the Torch It was heralded as New York’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and a St. John’s University graduate had the opportunity to change it for the better. The St. John’s graduate was Hugh Carey who was elected Governor of New York in 1974. Carey inherited a New York City which was $5 billion in debt and state agencies, municipalities and school districts which were on the brink of insolvency. In 1975 the newly elected Governor would warn New Yorkers “that the days of wine and roses are over.” In his tenure as Governor, which lasted for two terms between 1975-1982, Carey made the necessary and difficult decisions to get New York back on track. Matt Schudel of the New York Times wrote on Carey’s passing in 2011 that, “Mr. Carey maneu-

vered the state through a series of tough choices that led to increased taxes, reduced government services and lower state and city budgets, but he managed to keep PHOTO COURTESY/NY POST the city and state afloat.” The late Mayor Ed Koch would also credit Carey by telling the New York Times in 1982 that, “He saved the city and the state in 1975. If the city had gone down, the state would have been two days behind. He did it by bringing together the best minds and making everyone work together.” A World War II veteran who received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from St. John’s in 1942 and 1951, Carey is sadly not memorialized on campus. I call on the St. John’s University president to allocate $35,000 for a bust of Hugh Carey and an

art piece to be displayed on campus. Governor Carey was someone who brought all New Yorkers together, was admired both by Democrats and Republicans and shared the values of St. John’s University as a devout Catholic, and the father of 14 children. It is time for St. John’s University to honor Governor Carey. -Adam Sackowitz is a graduate student at St. John’s University studying history and is currently writing his graduate thesis on Senator John Glenn.

If you're interested In contributing to the opinion section, send us an email! torchopinion@gmail.com


Opinion

torchonline.com

17

Problems with dorming

“A Cure for Wellness” tor Gore Verbinski, whose filmography includes the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, as well as “The Ring,” “Rango” and “The Mexican.” I am an admirer of Verbinski’s work. He’s known ‘A cure for weariness’ is much needed especially for making pretty weird films, after sitting through the 146-minute “A which I usually enjoy. “A Cure for Wellness” is definitely Verbinski’s nuttiest Cure for Wellness.” Movie theater chains should consider film yet, which is fun in spots but once running a Starbucks advertisement at it starts to meander in its second half, it loses its eerie tension. the end of the film. The film’s first hour-or-so is quite While I have trouble stating that “A Cure for Wellness” is a terrifically good good. It’s mysterious and eerie, it has a film, I cannot deny that the ambition strong sense of atmosphere and gleams with a ghostly horror. and sheer artistry Then, unfortunately, on display is impeccable. It’s a massive, it begins to fall apart, Movie theater chains should with only a few notahugely ambitious consider running a starbucks bly scary moments in and inspired film with a few standadvertisement at the end an otherwise intermiout moments of nable latter half. of the film. genuine horror and The film builds and beauty. builds and builds to The film’s primary a final act that feels problems, however, lie with the script, very unsatisfactory and a climax that’s which underwhelms in its second half unforgivably schlocky. The feeling of and throws a bunch of extraneous and suspense that’s present early on disap“who-really-gives-a-crap-about-this?” pears, and the obnoxious lead characmaterial into the mix, extending its run- ter – played well by the talented Dane time to a punishing 146 minutes. DeHaan – grows tiresome, whose backThere is a very good 100-minute thrill- story feels tacked on and without much er somewhere in “A Cure for Wellness.” reason other than to take up time. The movie follows a young, New York “A Cure for Wellness” has a visual aesCity business executive, Lockhart (Dane thetic that’s an absolute marvel to beDeHaan), who is sent to a blissful yet hold. It doesn’t save the film’s second bizarre and creepy wellness center in a half from being underwhelming, preremote location in Switzerland. Upon tentious schlock, but it offers viewers his arrival, Lockhart quickly suspects something to grab a hold of. My recommendation: skip “A Cure that things aren’t exactly what they seem. “There’s a terrible darkness here,” for Wellness” in theaters and wait for it to hit Netflix. In the meantime, watch one of the patients informs Lockhart. This is the newest movie from direc- “Shutter Island” or “The Shining.”

MICHAEL AMBROSINO General Manager

BEATRIZ DA COSTA Staff Writer St. John’s University can stand to improve on some issues, specifically issues surrounding room and board. My first experience with St. John’s room and board, was the summer of 2016. It was May, and by choice, I had not chosen my roommates. However, after countless reminders from SJU to get started on the lottery process, I finally gave in. Surprisingly, it was easy to get through the steps of describing yourself, stating what your quirks and qualities are. However, what was incredibly difficult was the lottery itself. It was complicated, especially for freshmen or perhaps transfer students who had no idea how to work St. John’s process of picking a roommate. My intention while I was looking through the profiles in the lottery was to simply see if my personality matched with any of the ones listed on the program. That is a problem in itself, the exception is that it is not only unique to St. John’s. Obviously their intentions are pure, however from my point of view, colleges seem to think that by asking future students five or so basic questions about their sleeping habits, and preferences, those students will meet their match. How often is this the case? The questions are too broad, and usually lack depth, which is why potential students find themselves searching for roommates through Facebook group chats, rather than the school’s flawed system. Reverting to the lottery, I personally felt that St. John’s was too strict. Al-

though I ended up adoring my suitemates and roommates, I had zero choice in choosing any of them. That is due to the fact that SJU has a policy that once you “choose” your roommate, you cannot go back and change that until fall semester begins. And even then, it is not guaranteed that you will get to switch roommates. Although it was stated that you could not go back and change your roommate, I feel that SJU should have been more lenient. As a newcomer to the school you should not have to stress about psychotic roommates, which could lead one to feeling more homesick than ever. The only stress that one should truly feel is school-related stress. Aside from the process of just choosing a roommate, I think an issue that many students agree upon is the price of rooming and even the price of the meal plan. As freshmen who live on campus, we are required to have the most expensive meal plan. For the school year, freshmen must shell out $6,250 a year for the meal plan. That’s on top of board, which can be up to $12,630 a year. Obviously there are families that can afford that, but there are also families that find themselves struggling. As a freshman, I believe that if we are required to pay that much, plus how much it costs to get an education, then the least the school can offer is perhaps a 24-hour dining place on campus, and dorm buildings with better functioning elevators. However as previously stated, nothing is perfect and nothing should be perfect. No university in the United States is without flaws, and just because St. John’s has a few of its own does not make it any less of a great school.

Doing Spring Break the right way in New York VICTORIA LOHWASSER Staff Writer Spring break is right around the corner and I know that I can’t wait. It feels like we just got back, and yet we already seem to be in need of another vacation. So the proposed question is: How do you do spring break the right way? Most importantly, catch up on your sleep! You always want more, but never get enough during school, so this is your chance. However, try not to sleep the break away; if you’re perfectly content laying in bed, start a new series on Netflix or Hulu. Better yet, catch up on all the shows you’re currently watching. I know that’s what I’ll

be doing. Something useful to do would be updating your LinkedIn profile or your resume. And you can do it all from the comfort of your bed. Summer is coming soon, so the internship and even job search frenzy is about to begin. Get ahead of the game, and get everything ready to be emailed and handed out. Completing some upcoming assignments or even finishing up past ones will be a good way to catch up over break. Midterms will be awaiting our return, so start studying. We say we will try, but in reality we’re lucky if we even glance at our work. However, I am determined to get my papers done—remember, we can do this. If you’re more interested in escaping

your responsibilities for a week, take a day trip to the city or even venture into Long Island for some new scenery. There’s so much to do in both places. Long Island is full of history museums, vintage boutiques and even though it’s too cold to go swimming, the further toward the water you get, the prettier the view is. There are so many beaches and lighthouses to go to in little beach towns. Huntington Harbor, Fire Island, Port Jefferson—the possibilities are endless. You can even pick up a souvenir while there. The city is home to numerous bars, clubs, theaters and eateries. If you’ve never seen a Broadway show, now is the time. Get dressed up a little, call your friends or make it a date. If you’d prefer a more casual evening,

go to one of the many movies that are out right now. If you like thrillers, “Split” is quite freaky, “Fifty Shades Darker” offers a dramatic love story and “Fist Fight” will have you peeing your pants. Tis’ the season for sports, so call up the boys and go to a game, have a viewing party or go to a sports restaurant. Do something a little different and go to a concert, even if it’s for a band that you’ve never heard of. Remember, it’s about the adventure—you don’t have to love it as long as you’re having fun. Whatever you end up deciding to do with this week off, make sure that you have fun. Don’t say no to that spontaneous city trip or trying a new place to eat. Live a little and have a great spring break.


18 Sports

torchonline.com

Johnnies drop two straight on the road Winless week for the Red Storm is capped off by blowout loss at Marquette

St. John’s travelled to Indianapolis and Milwaukee this past week to face off against Big East opponents Butler and Marquette. The Red Storm (12-16, 6-9) dropped their first game of the week to Butler. The Bulldogs pulled away with the lead early and the Johnnies were never able to close the gap. Federico Mussini led the Johnnies with 20 points for the third time this season. Mussini also knocked down his 100th career 3-pointer at St. John’s. Mussini was 7-of-13 shooting and 4-of-7 from three. Shamorie Ponds stayed hot, sinking nine free throws and finishing the day with 18 points. Ponds also recorded four assists and rebounds for the eighth time this season. The other half of St. John’s young talent, Marcus LoVett, earned 15 points during his 30 minutes on the court. Bashir Ahmed also scored 15 points as well as tallying four rebounds. Overall though, St. John’s struggled with rebounds. They were outrebounded 40-25 on the night. “That has been a problem of ours. [It’s] something that’s just going to come as we get stronger,” St. John’s Coach Chris Mul-

lin said on his team’s rebound struggles this season. Both teams came to the free throw line an unusually high amount of times. St. John’s was 27-of-37. Butler went 29-of-40. This was a season high of attempts for both Butler and St. John’s. Butler started the contest on a 7-0 run and St. John’s was never able to catch up. St. John’s got within 14 points with 8:25 left in the second half, but that was as close as they got.

BRIANNA PACE Staff Writer

You can’t get outre bounded, lose 50/50 balls, play selfish and all those things. - Chris Mullin -

Butler pulled away with the lead in the closing minutes of the game. The game ended 110-86, with Butler coming away with the win. On Tuesday night St. John’s made their way to Milwaukee to face off against Marquette.

St. John’s started the game with the lead but it quickly got away from them. Marquette avenged their loss from earlier in the season, beating out the Red Storm 9371. St. John’s struggled to defended Marquette from beyond the arc. Marquette went 12-of-24 from 3 while St. John’s went only 6-of-22. The Johnnies started strong from the free throw line but started to lose it towards the end of the game as the hope of a win began to slip away. They finished 17-of-26 from the line. Ponds ended the night with 14 points and team highs in assists and rebounds with six assists and seven rebounds. He was 4-of-10 in field goals and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. LoVett led the team in free throws finishing with 6-of-8. He ended his night with 5-of-14 field goals and five assists. Ahmed led St. John’s in points, scoring 21. He hit 7-of-14 field goals with a total of three three-pointers. Ahmed finished with 4-of-6 from the free throw line. St. John’s was only able to hit 40 percent of their field goals while Marquette finished above 56 percent. Their defense struggled versus Marquette as it had in the Butler game. St. John’s will look to bounce back Saturday at home versus Georgetown.

RED STORM UPCOMING SCHEDULE

GEORGETOWN 02/25

creighton 02/28

SJU dominates Friars, falls to Bluejays BRENDAN MYERS Staff Writer

The St. John’s University women’s basketball team finished off their road games in Big East conference play this weekend, winning at Providence, 71-47, and losing in Omaha to Creighton, 67-60. The Red Storm were led across both games by senior forward Jade Walker, who averaged 16 points and eight rebounds in the two games. On Friday night in Rhode Island, the Johnnies got out to a fast start and never looked back. On offense, the team established a presence in the paint through Walker, leading to more space on the perimeter for the guards. Despite Walker getting in foul trouble, senior guard Aaliyah Lewis picked up the slack. Lewis had eight points in the first quarter alone, while the entire Providence team only had six. “I thought we really locked in and guarded well, which allowed us to control the tempo of the game,” Coach Joe Tartamella said after the game. St. John’s held the Friars to just under 38 percent shooting from the field and forced them into 13 turnovers. Lewis was joined by teammates Walker and Akina Willere in double figures, while junior college transfer Maya Singleton chipped in nine points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes. St. John’s led by as many as 25 points, reflecting the control of the game that Tartamella noted. Then the team traveled to Omaha on Sunday to take on the Bluejays of Creighton, who were ranked second in conference play. It was senior day at D.J. Sokol

Arena, and the early minutes reflected that emotion. The game had a frenzied pace at the beginning, with Walker leading the scoring in the opening minutes of play. However, the Red Storm struggled to keep the Bluejays out of the lane, which put St. John’s on the back foot. The Creighton guards were able to control Lewis on the offensive end, forcing her to be more of a facilitator after her 17-point outing in Providence. Lewis was held to only nine points and four assists. The team was able to fight its way back behind Alisha Kebbe, Wellere and Singleton, taking a one-point lead with about three minutes left in the third quarter. Kebbe and Wellere both finished in double figures with 10 and 12 points, respectively. Singleton had a double-double, doing most of her damage in the third quarter. She finished the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Despite St. John’s effort on the defensive end, Creighton’s backcourt of Marissa Janning and Sydney Lamberty proved to be too much to handle. Anytime the Johnnies took a slight advantage, the Bluejays’ guards had an answer. Janning had 20 points, while Lamberty had 17 on six-of-nine shooting. Creighton also did their damage from the free throw line scoring 26 points, while St. John’s only scored 19. St. John’s finishes conference play next Sunday at Carnesecca Arena for senior day against the Seton Hall Pirates. Last time these two met, the Pirates prevailed 64-59. The Red Storm are currently slated for the fifth seed in the Big East Tournament, set to kick off on March 4 in Milwaukee.

PHOTOS/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

Aaliyah Lewis scored 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting in St. John’s win over Providence on Feb. 17.


Sports

torchonline.com

SIDELINE STANDOUTS

A Look at four of the longest-tenured coaches currently at SJU

19

TROY MAURIELLO CARMINE CARCIERI Sports Editors

Now entering his 23rd season on the sidelines for the Red Storm women’s soccer team, Coach Ian Stone hasn’t always been the face of the program. In fact, his time in Queens began with a part-time position that, over time, turned into a fulltime head coaching job. But Stone looks back on those early days with clear fondness. “I have just immense pride in what we’ve been able to do with the program, from the day that I got there now to 23 years later,” he said. “So that kind of makes it a little bit different from another position where you just kind of go in and follow up what someone else has already done. I was still kind of responsible for building the program here.” Now as the winningest coach in St. John’s women’s soccer history, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has had nearly as much impact on this program as Stone. He has guided the Red Storm to three NCAA Tournament appearances in the last eight years, and has won a pair of Big East Tournament titles. One of those titles came in 2015, and it is what Stone calls his greatest accomplishment at the school to date. “I won the Big East Tournament in my first year in 1994, but I didn’t really know what that meant at the time,” he said. “Whereas doing it for me and going 19 years until we won another Big East Tournament, that was a little more special for me.” As one of the elder statesmen that roam the sidelines at St. John’s, Stone noted one of the main reasons that he’s been here so long has been his fellow coaches. “I think a majority of the people in athletics are really in it for the student athletes,” he said. “And I think that’s why we all stay, because you’re kind of surrounded by people that are in it for the right reasons and you’re able to be effective in the job that you do.”

IAN STONE For Coach Amy Kvilhaug, who is now entering her 11th season in the dugout for the Red Storm softball team, her decade-plus at St. John’s has had a lot to do with the people around her. “I think the thing that makes St. John’s are the people who I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” she said. “From the support of administration to the support of some really bright colleagues, with my fellow coaches.” After spending four years as a head coach at Radford University in Virginia, Kvilhaug was named head coach of the Red Storm’s softball team in July of 2006. Since then, she has turned the program into the Big East powerhouse that it is today. In 2015, Kvilhaug led St. John’s to its first Big East Conference championship and guided the Johnnies to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history. Despite that, she was hesitant to note that as her favorite moment in her time as head coach. “Even when we didn’t have the best seasons there were a lot of good people and a lot of good memories,” Kvilhaug said. As Kvilhaug enters her 11th season with St. John’s, it’s hard not to ask her about her future with the school. But it doesn’t seem like she’ll be going anywhere any time soon. “If I for some reason had softball taken away from me, would New York be somewhere I would want to be? And my answer is absolutely,” she said. “Because outside of the softball program, and the university, and my job, I have a lot of things that are really important to me here.”

AMY KVILHAUG Jason Miller has been the St. John’s lacrosse head coach for the last decade and has helped the program gain relevancy within a loaded Big East Conference. Miller led to Johnnies to a record breaking campaign during the 2013 season as they finished 9-4 and earned the second most wins in a single season in University history. Miller’s relates his success to the environment at the University and the support it gives to its athletics. “I really like the quality of the kid that the University attracts,” Miller told the Torch. “It’s a good kid to work with. I believe in the mission of the University, the importance of giving back and certainly giving back to those less fortunate. If you tend to think that way, then this is a really good place to be. “I’ve been here 10 years, one athletic director, two interim athletic directors, two presidents, an interim president, so there’s been a lot of leadership change but it’s very evident that athletics is important to the University,” he said. “They want to be good in athletics and they want to commit to it to be good, and I think that’s a really comforting thing to go to work every day because regardless of who’s in charge, the commitment to being good in athletics is here.” In 2015, the Johnnies had three All-Big East Team selections, Eric DeJohn, James Bonanno and Jason DeBenedictis, and the team was awarded with its fourth Big East Team Academic Excellence Award in the past five years. The Johnnies haven’t finished over .500 since the 2013 season, but are on an upswing with Miller in charge. “When I got here, we wanted to make this program relevant in the landscape of Division I Lacrosse and I think we’ve been able to do that,” Miller said.

JASON MILLER As the only head coach in the history of the St. John’s volleyball program, Joanne Persico just recently completed her 23rd year on the job, making her the longest tenured female coach in St. John’s athletics history. She has led the Johnnies to two NCAA Tournament appearances, one Big East Tournament Championship and nine 20-win seasons. Persico is also an active member in the community and has consistently had teams with a high level of academic success. “I have always stated and still believe today that coaching at St. John’s University made me a better person,” Persico told the Torch. Persico has a long history at the University as her mother worked at the school for over 20 years, her sister played tennis in college and her older sister also attended St. John’s and worked for student government in the 1980s. “I love my work here as a teacher through sport -- a mentor and motivator of young women,” Persico said. “I also value a workplace that includes a strong Catholic mission. I grew up in the area and attended St. Gregory the Great Grammar school and St. Francis Prep High School so the opportunity to come home and build a program from the ground up on March 1st, 1994 up seemed exciting to me.” The Red Storm finished the 2016 season with a 16-15 record and did not receive a berth in the NCAA Tournament. However, they won three of their final four games and had just two seniors on their roster. Most importantly, the Queens native has no plans to leave the University that she calls home anytime soon. “Our president has been a tremendous supporter of our team and players and as long as our alumnae continue to come back and express their gratitude for the work we do here as a staff I’ll continue to keep my whistle around my neck,” Persico said.

JOANNE PERSICO


SPORTS February 22, 2017 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 16 |

TORCHONLINE.COM

LET'S SPRING IT

THE TORCH'S SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW PAGE 10

Profile for The Torch

Volume 94, Issue 16  

Volume 94, Issue 16  

Profile for sjutorch
Advertisement