Volume 94, Issue 17

Page 1

VOL 94 : 17 March 16 , 2017 torchonline.com

The independent student newspaper of St. John’s University




INSIDE THE ISSUE: The Food Edition All our favorites

winning meals

From pages 6 to 8, the Torch staff shares all of our favorite recipes from breakfast dishes, to delicious desserts.

Have you ever wondered how St. John’s athletes prepare their meals on game day? We got the scoop on page 12


Students talk lack of vegan food options The Torch spoke with four students who aim to maintain their vegan lifestyles ISABELLA BRUNI

Chief Copy Editor While St. John’s has vegan food options for students, the question remains, how substantial are they? Vegans do not eat or use animal products and it is well known that people who choose the vegan lifestyle may have a difficult time finding foods they can eat. Some St. John’s students have resorted to finding food off campus to meet their dietary needs. Some have even moved off campus. “I currently don’t live on campus, but my precious two years living in the dorms certainly prevented me from living that lifestyle,” Hannah Pruzinsky, a junior physician assistant major, said. “Sure, it’s possible to throw together a jumble of different vegetables at Monty’s and occasionally stumble across something good. However, there’s no consistency. Every day you swipe in is a mystery as to what you’ll be able to eat, and that’s why moving off campus where I wouldn’t be locked into a plan came in handy,” she added. In the Marillac Cafeteria, Burger King (veggie burger), Freshens (salad), Subway (veggie delight), 2mato (pasta with marinara sauce) and Sono (rice and burritos) have some type of vegan option. The D’Angelo Center also has its fair share of vegan food from The One Sushi (sushi), Green Street Grille (veggie burger), Mondo (veggie sub and salads), Tong (steamed rolls) and Salty’s Pretzel Place (pretzels). Montgoris is fairly unpredictable, despite having a vegan station, and the Red Storm Diner can only offer vegans a small salad

and just recently a veggie burger. Being a commuter, Anna Evseev, a sophomore psychology major, finds the lack of options “stressful and annoying” when she’s hungry between classes. Dineoncampus.com tells students what type of food is at locations on campus, but it is not always accurate or does not tell exactly what food is there. “The school does need a change, I signed a petition last semester [for more vegan foods] and I don’t think it went through,” Evseev said about not hearing news from the petition she signed. Sophomore communications major, Talia Nanton, talked about the main dining hall for resident students, Montgoris, and her predictable meal, “I can only get soup or make a salad and that’s not enough.” “I’ve been eating off campus more often since becoming vegan,” Nanton, a vegan of three months, said. “I’m done with being pushy, three months ago I was probably more angry,” Ceci Sturman, a junior English and government major, said on her feelings about the few vegan options. Sturman argues that people with a special diet, like vegan or vegetarian, should not pay the same meal plan prices as other students. “That’s terrible ... or even allow us to opt out of paying for the meal plan,” she said. Sturman has also recently found out about the campus dietitian. “If only her role was advertised better and she had an office in Monty’s,” Sturman said. “I didn’t even know about her until an athlete told me.” Sturman said she thought it was “unfair” that her role isn’t advertised more so that students can be able to utilize her. She added that, “She knew a lot about veganism so it was helpful.”


Sophomore Anna Evseev is vegan and is disappointed in her lack of food options at the University.

Spoon University: Another year unrecognized ANGELICA ACEVEDO

News Editor


SJU’s Spoon University chapter has Instagram and Twitter accounts where they post about food.

Spoon University, an online food publication that was created by college students, for college students, was among the organizations that didn’t make the cut to be recognized by Student Government Inc. (SGI) this school year. Lauren Majid, who created the chapter last year as a freshman, said that although she doesn’t remember the exact reason that SGI gave them for not recognizing the publication, she recalled it being “along the lines of us not needing their assistance.” Majid said that she believed this was the case because their Spoon University chapter—which is just one of many chapters that the organization has, both nationally and internationally—has made a name for itself on campus already. “We have done pretty well without being recognized,” the sophomore said. Majid was the community director, before she stepped down from her position in order to study abroad this semester. However, she thinks the organization is on the right track to grow its presence on campus. “I think we have a really strong foundation and have big plans for the future,” Majid said. Deanna London, the editorial director

of St. John’s Spoon University chapter, thinks that the organization needs to recruit more students in order to really be noticed on campus. “It’s just a matter of finding people who are interested in writing about food. I know a lot of writers, but they want to write about fashion or music ... We also need more photographers, videographers and just creatives in general,” London said. London, who is currently a freshman, thinks that her current staff writers do a “phenomenal job” of engaging readers and publishing interesting food oriented stories. “I really love the content that we put out because it’s very diverse,” London said. “We don’t just talk about your typical ‘five ways to get fit this summer,’ we do a lot of things like ‘five different breweries you can go to in New York City’ or ‘the best place in Jersey to get seafood.’” Some of the main goals of Spoon University is to put out fun, food-related articles for students and teach them how to eat properly. “We’re very concerned with making sure that everybody knows how to eat and what they should be eating,” London said. All of their material can be seen on their social media pages, including Instagram and Twitter; as well as their website spoonuniversity.com/chapter/stjohns.



Editor-in-Chief Student Government Inc. is responsible for representing and advocating on behalf of the students at St. John’s. But when a policy change mandating townhouse students purchase a meal plan starting in fall 2017 was announced to students last month, the group said they weren’t informed beforehand. Scott Lemperle, executive director of Conference and Auxiliary Services, told the Torch that a majority of townhouse residents—approximately 65 percent— are already on a meal plan. But that number wasn’t the only contributing factor to the change in policy, he said. “We know that just a large majority of the students are already on the meal plans,” Lemperle said. “And yes, we get a lot of feedback from the students and student government as we meet monthly and meal plan discussions come up.” However, according to SGI Secretary Frank Obermeyer, student government was not informed of the change until it was made public. He said that the group has since received numerous student complaints. “Many students feel that the change is too sudden, and that [their] experience was not taken into account when making this decision,” Obermeyer told the Torch in an email. At SGI’s floor meeting this past Monday, Obermeyer said that members of SGI would be meeting with University administration soon to discuss the change. A date for the meeting has not been set yet. The new policy, which requires all townhouse students to purchase a resident student meal plan, came as a surprise to many when an announcement landed in the inboxes of St. John’s students in February. However, some students said they had no idea that the change was taking place until the Torch reported on it in the Feb. 22 issue. Others said they only heard through word of mouth. “I think it should have been more widely spread,” Courtney Clark, a junior at St. John’s, said. “Or, possibly given students [the opportunity] to take a survey of what they prefer before implementing it.” Eric Finkelstein, director of Residence Life, said that the announcement was sent via email through the University’s student affairs email account. Information on the policy can also be found in the Housing Selection guide for 201718. The email was sent to all St. John’s stu-

dents on Feb. 8—nearly one month after the University began accepting housing deposits for the upcoming school year. Lemperle told the Torch in February that the dining contract with the food vendor Chartwells has been renegotiated for the upcoming academic year. In an interview with the Torch, Lemperle said the contract hasn’t been changed in about three or four years. Sophomore Jacob Dibble, who is part of ROTC, said he felt the school should have been more up-front about the meal plan policy being part of a contract negotiation with Chartwells. “My thoughts are that it’s totally ridiculous,” he said. “It goes against the school’s values of integrity and excellence, as it [the change] is neither.” The meal plan also drew ire from some who say that the kitchens in each townhouse suite are used by students who elect to not take a meal plan. “We’re paying more to live in the townhouses and in return get a kitchen, so I don’t think people should be forced to spend more money on a meal plan if they won’t even use it,” senior Danielle Killwey said. Killwey is in a five-year program and said that she’ll continue to live in the

townhouses next year. She said she’d still get a meal plan if it wasn’t mandatory, but doesn’t think her peers should be forced to do so. “I don’t agree with it being mandatory because I know some people prefer to cook for themselves and wouldn’t use the meal plan,” Killwey said. When asked whether the kitchens are factored into the price of the townhouses, Finkelstein said, “The meal plan and the room are priced separately, that’s intentional. Each of those facilities are priced at a certain level and as the university makes decisions about tuition and room and board from year to year, those are incrementally adjusted.” The Torch asked if room prices would be decreased because of the new meal plan, but a definitive answer was not offered. “There’s different amenities, different access, different square footage that play into the pricing,” Finkelstein said. For students who don’t wish to purchase a meal plan, Finkelstein added that there is the option of SJU’s off-campus properties—the Henley, Goethals and Seton housing complexes, for undergraduate students. But rooms in these complexes are al-

The Torch conducted a poll on students’ favorite place to eat off campus. And the winner is:

most as expensive as living in an on-campus dorm. “Before, I was going to go [to the] townhouses, but since the new plan [was announced] I am going to live in Goethals instead and am going to ditch the meal plan,” Dibble, the ROTC student, told the Torch. Dibble receives a grant from the school for ROTC cadets that pays for his room, but not his board. “I should have a right to choose where I eat,” he said. “And the school, as a school of ‘excellence,’ should be able to provide housing while maintaining that right.” Some students feel frustration toward the mandatory meal plans, while others feel that they aren’t getting the full value out of them. Clark said she has the 10 swipe/300 points meal plan this year, but said she never ends up using all her swipes. “With a kitchen in the townhouses, I don’t think it’s necessary to have a meal plan,” she said. “It’s a great option if you know you won’t be cooking every night, but I was thinking about not getting one next year because I see how much money I can save, especially if I don’t find myself using the full value of my meal plan.” Lemperle said that for the plans that aren’t unlimited, meals don’t roll over. He said the points make up for that, though. When asked if the school would consider formulating new meal plans in the future, Lemperle said, “We had those discussions with student government, who make recommendations for meal plans and if there’s a way to develop something differently, we’d be open to it.” The last time an on-campus meal plan was added was about five years ago, Lemperle said. This was the 14-meal plan, which he said was designed based on student feedback. “I think we did get to a really good place where we’re at with a balance where there hasn’t been any requests for changes,” he said. “We have a good flexibility in between the four that we do have.” As for meal plans being mandatory, Finkelstein said it guarantees that St. John’s students are getting at least one nutritious meal per day. Still, students remain bothered that the University did not seek student feedback on the policy change. In response, SGI says it’s committed to ensuring that students’ voices are heard. “SGI hopes to be consulted with regard to any potential change that affects students,” Obermeyer said. “We look forward to meeting with administration to find out how this decision was made.” Bryant Rodriguez contributed to this report.


RecycleMania gears up for more student interactions

Full Service Organics shows students about the role that the University has in food recovery ANGELICA ACEVEDO

The ninth annual RecycleMania Tournament kicked off the raffle portion of its efforts to raise student awareness of post-consumer food waste in Montgoris Dining Hall on Monday, March 6. This means that every week, one lucky student will win a mountain bike, until RecycleMania ends on April 1. One student has already won a bike, according to Thomas Goldsmith, the director of the Environmental and Energy Conservation department in the Office of Sustainability. Goldsmith and his team see this as an opportunity to engage students and teach them about the University’s Full Service Organics. Their campaign for food waste reduction may even count as Academic Service Hours (ASL) for students by Monday, March 20. Goldsmith said that students created the Full Service Organics brand to show what St. John’s does in regards to overall food sustainability. It’s now displayed above the conveyor belt in Montgoris.

Everybody hates a waste. - Chef Kelly Heefner -

Brandon Hickey, Phil Plourde and Joe Costa, student workers for the Office of Sustainability.

in—as a symbol of their awareness. According to the Office of Sustainability, the students who eat at Montgoris generate approximately 780 pounds of post-consumer food waste per day. This is why one of RecycleMania’s main goals is to reach a campus-wide 50 percent decrease of its post-consumer food waste. So far, Goldsmith said that “early results show post consumer food waste dropped by 2,000 pounds for week one of campaign.” Joe Costa, one of Goldsmith’s student workers, said that, so far, students are understanding the importance of having this conversation. “We’re trying to reduce the amount of food taken, because when you leave more in the kitchen, more gets donated to Bread and Life, through Chef Kelly, Campus Ministry and other service orga-


“We created a storyboard so that we show what Full Service Organics is at St. John’s,” Goldsmith said. “[It’s] awareness, participation, contributing towards fighting global climate change and help feeding hungry people at the same time.” During the RecycleMania Tournament, a table is set up right next to the conveyor belt in Montgoris at 5-8 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Students have a chance to talk to the student workers of the Office of Sustainability, fill out a survey that asks them why they didn’t finish the food on their plate and sign their names on a board with the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy—another program that the University’s involved

News Editor

Chef Kelly Heefner said it’s important to get student’s feedback so that the can improve the options in Montgoris Dining Hall.

nizations on campus,” Costa said. An important part of the University’s sustainability work is also to pulp and compost the pre- and post-consumer food waste. “The benefits of composting in fighting global climate change is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the soil for growing produce and cleaning up the waterways by using less chemical fertilizer,” Goldsmith said. According to Costa, through their surveys, they’ve also found that students’ two main reasons for leaving food on their plates are that they either “take too much” or were “disappointed in the taste.” In response to this, the University’s Regional Executive Chef, Kelly Heefner, who went to see the kickoff, said that initiatives like these help them accommodate the food they serve to the students. “It’s important that the students know that if something doesn’t taste good, we can change the recipe or take it out of our menu cycle,” Heefner said. “We also are starting to think about how [to] have the students taste the food before they take it.”

Heefner said that they might put up a sign where they remind students that they can ask the workers in Montgoris to give them samples before they fill up their plates, in an effort to reduce the food waste. In addition to RecycleMania’s sustainability initiatives, the University also participates in Imperfectly Delicious Produce (IDP), which means that they buy and use food that may not look perfect but is perfectly edible, and purchase Fair Trade produce whenever they get the chance, according to Heefner. Students in the Food Recovery Network SJU chapter—a month-old University initiative—are also working with Heefner to deliver about 250 pounds worth of food that doesn’t get touched to a local food pantry. “All the food waste that [Goldsmith] is trying to eliminate will help us because if they don’t fill up their plate and eat what they want it helps with everything,” Heefner said. “It helps with our cause, helps with St. John’s cause, helps with everyone’s cause. Everybody hates a waste.”

Meet St. John’s campus dietitian: Lauren Marino


Editor-in-Chief Adjusting to meals in college can be a difficult task for any student, but thanks to the University’s new campus dietitian, settling on the right meals has gotten a bit easier. Lauren Marino is a registered dietitian who worked in the New York City hospital system prior to coming to St. John’s. With a master’s degree in nutrition and food science and clinical experience, she decided to move on to more preventative nutrition and education. Now, as the campus dietitian at St. John’s, she’s helping students navigate their own nutrition, all while holding wellness fairs and other events, such as a monthly “superfood” table. “The biggest things that I offer to students is free, one-on-one, confidential appointments, covering whatever nutritional issues they may have,” Marino said.


Lauren Marino is the new campus dietitian.

Some of the issues she covers can be, but are not limited to, weight loss, weight gain, allergies and specialized diets. “Majority of times, [students] are just looking to change their eating and lifestyle habits,” she said. “Especially freshmen, transitioning maybe from home

where they didn’t have to worry about making food choices, to now, they’re at Montgoris, they’re a little overwhelmed, they don’t know what’s best for them to choose. So I’m sort of guiding them through that process.” One thing she doesn’t do, however, is help students create a specific diet plan. “I hate doing it and it’s not useful,” she said. “I like to give them freedom.” Marino said a lot of what she does with students is introduce them to new food, and help them identify what better choices are. Students from out-of-state or international students might not be accustomed to the types of food choices that are available in the city. “That’s like one of the most exciting parts of the job for me, watching students experience something that they thought may have tasted gross, but they actually like it,” she said. For students to learn more about nutrition, Marino runs “super food” tables

in different dining locations on campus every Thursday. The superfood changes each month, and the location changes each week, she said. March’s superfood is leafy greens. “I just do samplings of different recipes, give information about the superfood, what makes it a superfood, things like that,” she said. Marino publishes weekly newsletters online, and also said she honors requests from students. Her office is located in the Health Center in the back of DaSilva Hall, and students can make an appointment with her either by calling the office, or by scheduling an appointment online. “[Students] should take advantage of my services, because when they graduate and they’re in the real world, insurance doesn’t cover it!” she joked. “I think it is important to learn about diet and lifestyle changes now when you’re young and before things develop.”





TORCH RECIPES: When it comes to cooking your own food in college, the options can be limited. Cooking utensils and special ingredients for your favorite home-cooked meals can be hard to find sometimes, and there’s always that burning desire to try something new. That’s why, in the spirit of our special food edition, the Torch editorial board put together some of our favorite recipes to share with our readers. From frittatas to mac and cheese, we’ve got you covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! And we made our recipes with a budget in mind. So read on--we promise you’re in for a delicious read.

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nager Ingredie nts A dozen eg 6 tablesp gs oo 3 tablesp ns of mayonnais e oo Paprika s ns of Dijon mus tard easoning Salt and pepper (o ptional) Directio ns Use a pin to poke a hole in egg. Use th a spoon to gently e broad end of e boiling w ac p ater and lace eac let boil fo h egg in h you don ’t have tim r twelve minutes. e to let t them int If hem coo o cold w l a o t e egg she ff r , fo p lu r two minu n lls by ge tes. Rem ge ntly hittin face. Cu o v g e the t each eg them on a solid s g in half fully rem urthe long ove the way and yolks to egg yolk c p a ut in a b sw owl. Mas rethree tab ith six tablespoo h the ns les oughly. S poons of dijon m of mayonnaise a nd po ustard an d mix th and sprin on the filling ba o c rkle the t op of ea k into the egg w paprika. hites ch with a You may light gar also sprin desired. nish of kle salt a nd pepp er if Overall time: 20 minutes


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Ingredients: or Chocolate) 1 Box of Cake Mix (Vanilla eferably Vanilla) 1 16 oz. tub of frosting (Pr 1 Cup Water ½ Cup Vegetable Oil 3 Eggs ces 2 15 oz. bags of Reese’s Pie Directions es and grease the bottom Preheat oven to 325 degre cake mix, water, vegetable of a 9” circular pan. Mix the . Pour the mixture into the oil and eggs in a large bowl Let it bake for roughly 20-25 9” pan and place in oven. ve k every few minutes. Remo ec ch y all dic rio pe , tes nu mi nd let it cool for about 10 mi the cake from the oven an frosting has been applied, utes before frosting. After of a ese’s Pieces in the design add orange and brown Re ing yellow Reese’s Pieces. basketball. Eat the remain Overall time: 40 Minutes

Spinach and bread crumb pasta Suzanne ciechalski - Editor in chie


Ingredients 1 cup of breadcrumbs (Panko wo rk best because they’re crunchier) 1 bag of spinach 1 tbsp. Olive oil 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped ½ lb angel hair pasta ½ tsp. salt Grated parmesan (optional) Directions Start boiling your water for the pas ta. When it gets close to boiling, put in half a teaspoon of salt. Chop up your garlic and rinse your spinach. Sau tee the spinach in a large pan with the oil and garlic. In a separate pan, toast the breadcrumbs. They can burn easily, so after 2-3 minutes, take them off the heat. Cook your pasta. When it’s done, drain and put back in the po t. Slowly mix in your spinach and breadcrumbs, alterna ting between the two until they’re completely mixed in. If the pasta seems a little dry, add some extra olive oil. Finish it off with as much cheese as you desire! Overall time: 30 minutes

Potato and Leek isabella bruni ch

Ingredients: 6 eggs 1 small leek 1 large potato ½ cup grated par mesan 1 tablespoon oliv e oil Salt Pepper


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Directions Peel and dice pot ato in small cubes and chop leeks. In a medium bow l, beat the eggs w ith salt and pepp until well combin er ed, fold in the par mesan. Set aside. an oven-safe dee In p frying pan, heat olive oil on med heat. Stir in the p iu m otato cubes and cook until golden Stir in the leeks an . d cook until soft. Add more olive needed. oil if Pour in the egg mixture over the potatoes and co until eggs becom ok e firm on sides of the pan. Place the pan in a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 20 minut es until golden. Frittata can be se warm or cold. It rved can be stored in th e refrigerator for week. one Overall time: 30 minutes

ns e annedwsbedeita e ric whit or oangelica aceved Ingredients Beans to beans ce Ri 1 can of Goya pin ium 1 ½ cups of med 1 tbsp. of water grained rice ½ tsp of oil tomato er at w 2 cups of A pinch of Adobo, d garlic A pinch of salt paste, granulate peppers ½ tsp. of oil Onions and bell

water Directions boil a small pot of a to g rin b e, ric your For the ts bubbling, add ar st it n he W l. oi until with salt and lid cracked open e th e av Le it. ir rice and st ose the lid h. Then, stir it, cl g ou en ry d is e pathe ric the beans, in a se r Fo . at he w lo , and put it on n of Goya beans ca ur yo d ad , an p ir it. rate small sauce seasonings and st ur yo l al in d d A . water and oil. on medium heat r he et g to e m co Let it all Overall time: 30



food 9

Flames of the Torch 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





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 To contact the Torch by mail: Assistant Sports Editor Carissa Herb The Torch, St. John’s University Assistant Features Editor 8000 Utopia Parkway Yves Nguyen Queens, NY 11439 Assistant Entertainment Editor

Staff and contributors Samantha Brimberry Crystal Grant Victoria Lohwasser John Cavanagh Brendan Myers Tiffany Heravi Alexia Dolamakian

Beatriz da Costa Angela Kellett Naomi Arnot Carlos Ortiz Alexander Brewington Annastasia Marburger

Editorial policy

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.

We learned this week that Student Government Inc. was not informed of the University’s plan to change the meal plan policy for townhouse students before it was public. This is stunning. SGI leaders are elected by their peers to be the face and voice of students to the University. And as our representatives, they should be informed, if not consulted, of changes that directly affect students--especially when it affects their finances. The decision to bypass SGI—which hasn’t been explained publicly, or, to our knowledge, to SGI itself—begs the theoretical question regarding why SGI even exists. Surely the University had to know that the decision to mandate meal plans for townhouse students was not going to be popular. If the University won’t at least pretend to engage them on an issue like this that directly impacts students, then what purpose does SGI serve? SGI’s primary purpose is to advocate for and represent the student body at St. John’s, according to its official website. But how are the students in SGI going to do their jobs to the fullest extent if the University doesn’t engage them? The short answer: they can’t, and in this case, it was out of their control. The University had several avenues it could have explored prior to setting the meal plan policy. And with the help of SGI, through input from students, they may have found useful data that could have contributed to their final decision. We wish the administration would have reached out to SGI’s Research and Development committee and had them

send out a survey to students regarding meal plans? This could have gauged student interest, and maybe it could have led to a discussion between Campus Dining and the Student Services committee on what kind of changes could have been possible in lieu of mandating meal plans for townhouse students who may not want one. Or they could have reached out to SGI’s e-board to consult them on their proposal. At the SGI floor meeting Monday, it was revealed that SGI will meet with University officials regarding the meal plan decision. This is long overdue. But now there are two issues that beg an explanation. Why did the University make this decision? And why did they bypass SGI— and bypass any student input—in the process? As students and believers in openness and transparency, we hope SGI gets the answers it deserves in their meeting. The meal plan policy has been set. But we hope that the University has taken a lesson from this. In our reporting, we’ve heard from students who said they are moving off-campus now; students who expressed wishes that the University had sent out a survey before making the change; and students who were, like us, shocked that SGI wasn’t consulted prior. SGI is here for the students. We implore the University to seek their feedback in the future--especially on matters that directly affect students. Without consulting them, how can students trust that policies are being formed in their best interests?

College diet: Tips on eating healthy foods

TIFFANY HERAVI Contributing Writer

The old adage is true: you are what you eat. Eating an array of healthy options, like vibrant colored fruits and vegetables, will make you both look and feel better. There is scientific data to support this, but all you need to do is evaluate the way you feel after eating a greasy meal compared to a nutritious one. Fast food options are high in sugar, fat and chemicals that will not only make you feel sluggish, but cause damage to your body. P eople tend to take healthy eating advice as only the high or low end of the spectrum so you are either a regular at the drive-through or frequently doing a juice cleanse. This is not true. You can still enjoy all the foods you love, but just create them as a healthy alternative. Take a burger and fries instead of buy-

ing a combo from the dollar menu, order from an establishment that promotes the use of grass fed meat products and organic produce. You will be amazed at how much better real food tastes. Eating healthy in your day to day life does require some preparation. Packing a healthy snack will Johnny U by Alexander Brewington keep you from getting enticed by tion comprised of these more natural need to get a little creative with it. the vending machine, so keep an You can do things like purchase pouchoption like some nuts or a granola bar in snack options. es of precooked rice that only need a miUnfortunately, cost has become a sigyour bag. crowave, again a search online can offer nificant factor to maintaining a healthy On that note I advise you to be condiet. a lot of inspiration. scious of the content of these snacks, so When making use of the dining hall, This is where my previous mention of yes you should become that person in make sure to have as much fresh produce food preparation takes place. the store who reads all the labels. It is much more price efficient to cook as possible on your plate. On a shelf, two boxes of granola bars Making healthy dietary choices is not at home than to eat out at the trendy orcan have very different content. about losing weight or following some ganic place down the street. Do not be fooled by pseudo healthy new diet fad. But do not be intimidated by cookoptions that actually just pack a lot of It is part of promoting a good lifestyle ing, just a quick search of the web will sugar and hidden ingredients such as showcase an assortment of simple recifor yourself both physically and mentalhigh fructose corn syrup. With the rise of conscientious eating, pes. Especially for students in dormito- ly, and do not forget to stay hydrated. typically grocery stores will have a sec- ries cooking can be difficult, but you just


10 food

Without enough options CARISSA HERB Assistant Features Editor

When I first decided to come St. John’s for my undergraduate career I had to make sure that I was going to be able to eat on the meal plans being offered. Luckily, St. John’s is largely accommodating to a vegetarian lifestyle. Depending on what you personally altered in your diet, St. John’s, in my opinion, made it easy to be vegetarian and not complain or even think about it. Last May while on summer vacation I decided to go completely vegan and I didn’t think about whether or not it would be okay to eat on a meal plan again because the year before had been so easy. Unfortunately, I did not pay enough attention to how often Montgoris Dining Hall actually had vegan meals prepared. If there are not any vegan meals the kitchen staff on campus is usually quite accommodating and they always answer any questions to the best of their ability. More than often I would find myself getting tired of having to ask to have something special cooked for me and the staff members having to find someone who could cook it for me. I always felt bad dragging an employee away from what they were

working on so they could make something for me. They already do so much for us without question. For the times I didn’t want to ask I would find myself stuck with only salad as an option, and even though I am vegan I’m still not a big fan of salads. Something I pride myself on, and I think most vegans do too, is my creativity to find something plant based even if there seems to be only animal products available. Eating on a campus meal plan made it hard. It limited me to only one sandwich at Subway, Taco Bell, a salad at Green Street and Montgoris. It was like dining roulette. I never knew what I was going to end up with. Where I feel very lucky that every day I am guaranteed a meal I began to miss out on key nutrients that when cooking my own meals I was sure I was getting. After being vegan at St. John’s for this academic year I have chosen to actually move off campus in order to prepare my own meals. The mandatory meal plan has made it impossible for me to still live on campus and get all of the necessary components in my food that keep me healthy. If anything, I feel that the meal plans have encouraged others to not cut animal products out of their diet. I know I had a hard enough time.

Being a foodie on the go ANGELA KELLETT Staff Writer

I am a foodie. I love eating my meals and I snack religiously throughout the day. As a commuter, I initially planned to pack my food, but planning out food to eat as a college student, especially as a commuter, is rather daunting. Certain professors will dictate whether you can eat in class and other professors do not want you to eat foods that are crunchy, have a strong scent, or are deemed “messy.” This becomes a dilemma, and I came to the conclusion that the solution is eating out. When I became accustomed to the campus and the food places around it, I began to venture out. I began buying bubble tea at either Green Lotus or Crepe ‘N’ Tearia. I also found out the Caffe Bene sells bubble tea lattes, which I tend to pair with a croissant. If you prefer your boba with ice, go to Green Lotus. If you prefer stronger boba with more tea flavors, go to Crepes

‘N’ Tearia. We all know and love Regina’s pizza, but I do love the white slice at Mato Pizza in Marillac. If you are on a budget, yummy pizza on 169th street will sell you a dollar slice of pizza. Whenever it is a cold or rainy day, I will be at Outtakes having some soup with either a Jamaican chicken patty or a chicken roll. I will stock up on cheap snacks at the local dollar stores by campus. There are two different dollar stores by the 169th street subway going towards Manhattan that have a lot of good snacks. I often buy chips, gum and trail mix. The fruit carts in Kew Gardens sell pre-packaged fruit. This is essential for me, because who can afford the price of fruit on campus? I will stock up once a week and throw fruit in my bag every morning. As a student at St. John’s University, I have an abundance of options depending on my mood. Being in the heart of Queens provides me a multitude of food choices and price ranges.

by Annastasia Marburger

24 hour eatery needed BEATRIZ DA COSTA Staff Writer

There is not a place on campus where food is available 24/7. Montgoris Dining Hall, Marillac Cafeteria, D’Angelo Center’s food court, the Marketplace and the Red Storm Diner all have a multitude of food options that are tasty and fulfilling, depending on who you ask, but they’re not open all the time. Montgoris Dining Hall, known as “Monty’s” closes at 10 p.m. through Sunday, except for Friday and Saturday when it closes at an early hour, 7 p.m. The only logic that justifies this is that St. John’s must assume that most students are off campus visiting the city and friends, by 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. With this outlook, they are neglecting the students who live on campus, who are forced to pay for food, when they already pay for a meal plan, simply because the school decides to close Monty’s incredibly early. Maybe it is the school’s way of getting more revenue at the Marketplace, which closes at 1 a.m., Mondays through Sundays. Students can either pay for food through their Storm Card’s flex dollars, which is real money, or they can pay with cash or their own debit and credit cards. Although the restaurants in DAC and Marillac all have different closing times, none of them stay open past 10 p.m. on any weekday.

The Diner and the Marketplace are the only places on campus that stay open past midnight. However, after 10 p.m. at the Diner, a premium swipe must be used or the student’s personal cash and buy food. This is one of the biggest flaws I believe St. John’s has. It is mind blowing to me that St. John’s does not offer a 24-hour food option, that allows the use of Storm Cards and that does not require the use of your premium swipes. Perhaps it’s too much to ask, perhaps it would be too much work to find people willing to work at a 24-hour place on a college campus, but I genuinely feel that the school could use it. It’s more than frustrating when it hits 7 p.m. on a Friday, for instance, and I realize that Monty’s has already closed. DAC and Marillac’s food options open past 7 p.m. on Fridays, are more fast food than anything and there are few options the Diner offers that won’t cost a student their premium swipe. The Marketplace would seem like the best option, but as previously said before, it costs students. I think it would be incredibly beneficial to St. John’s if they considered the idea of having a 24-hour restaurant, café or deli of sorts. A place where students could use a regular swipe or pay with cash or card would be unnecessary.

by Carlos Ortiz

food 11

St. John’s food workers

There’s more to them than meets the eye REZA MORENO

Features Editor On-campus dining is such a big part of what makes a university, especially St. John’s University. But there’s one part of campus dining that doesn’t always get enough attention: the workers. Students really only see the people who work in SJU’s dining locations during their meals when they’re busy doing their jobs among all of the hungry students. But do we actually know who they are, anything about their lives or how they got their position at St. John’s? The food workers at St. John’s are one of the important groups of staff members on campus. They are the ones who help put food in students’ stomachs after those stressful day of classes. One of those people in particular is Executive Chef, Kelly Heefner. Heefner grew up on Long Island and as a kid he and his dad would always cook together. Heefner is a French Culinary Institute graduate, and he now oversees all of the menus for all the dining services locations and catering on campus.

He has worked at a lot of restaurants on Long Island before he went corporate. Some well known restaurants Heefner worked at on Long Island include Milleridge Inn in Jericho and the George Washington Manor, which recently changed their name. He also worked at many well known restaurants back in the 1990s. Some other places he worked at include Morgan Stanley, Stony Brook University and Wagner College. “Catering is my favorite just because all the menus are customized where we don’t have to look at that recipe and we have some freedom to really create,” Heefner said. “When I was a kid my father taught me what to do, we started off with breakfast then moved it to lunch,” Heefner said. At the age of 14 he would admire the workers at Margo Luncheonette, a once busy food spot near him that is no loner open. Then one day, two years later, at the age of 16 he got his first job there. “I noticed them flipping burgers, and back then I was putting together papers, like the New York Times,” Heefner said. “I was always watching them

and they liked me so they asked, ‘how would you like to work behind the line one day’ and I got all excited.” “When I turned 16, I was able to flip burgers and eggs and had a great time,” he said. Heefner has had a passion for food since day one and now brings that energy to St. John’s. His role here is to look over everyone that works at the dining services and prepares the menus a month in advance. He also works on the catering for the school with Chartwells. Under Heefner, there are several people who work in the food venues on campus. Veronica “Ronnie” Durante is one of them. A mother of two, Durante has worked as a cashier at the Burger King in Marillac Hall since 2005. She is from Manhattan and currently lives in Hells Kitchen. Durante worked with American Broadcasting Companies for years before she had her two daughters, so she then stopped working to be a mother full-time. After her youngest left for college, she started a part time job at Burger King on campus as a cashier. “I knew nothing about the food busi-

ness until I got here,” Durante said. It was during her college years when she first got into media. She worked for ABC as a supervisor for many years before she became a mother. While at ABC she traveled and was able to attend conventions. “It was wonderful, until I had my girls,” Durante said. Her girls are her life, she said, which is obvious by the way she describes their accomplishments. Durante loves being able to interact with the students, especially when she is behind the cash register. “We’re friendly, we want to welcome them,” she said. When she is not working at Burger King, she can also be seen volunteering for animal rescue groups, which is one of her passions. These two St. John’s food workers give so much of their time and passion to help make our campus a better place. They are just a few of the other amazing women and men who give so much of their time to St. John’s. We never know the passions behind the people we interact on a day to day life here on campus. But if you just take the time, you’ll be surprised what you find out.

12 food

Volleyball Pre-Game Meals

Take a look at what fuels two volleyball stars


Sports Editors

“My pregame meal varies a lot, especially when I’m on the road, because we have to find whatever is available, but I like the variation! For me, what is important is that I don’t eat anything too heavy or anything that I’m not used to eating before a match.

21 S


24 L/DS


“Usually I will have a light breakfast such as oatmeal or a some eggs. Then about 3 hours before the game I will have a small salad, a small portion of pasta with olive oil, and grilled chicken. I don’t like to eat too much before games for obvious reasons, but I definitely make sure I eat enough to not be hungry through the duration of the game. I make sure to eat things that will give me sustainable energy to compete my best.”

I love comfort food, but on game days I stay away from filling meals. I typically avoid dairy (your body has to work a little harder to digest it), simple carbs like white bread or pasta (these aren’t fuels that will sustain me for the amount of time that I need), and any processed sugar that could have me crashing. The important thing on a game day is maintaining a high level of performance through all the prep, travel, pregame sessions with the team, warmup, AND the match. So I try to get some complex carbs in the morning with some steel cut oats, with fruit, almond butter, and honey on top. Then, in the afternoon (3.5 hours pregame), if we’re at home I make myself an omelette with veggies, like onions, peppers, and broccoli (sautéed veggies are easier for your body to deal with pre-game than raw), and I have some smoked turkey or ham on the side. Before warmups I eat an apple, for a little burst of sugar and energy. I try to have almonds on hand for the break in between games, too. That way, I’m feeling light and active, but definitely fueled- all the way through the match.”

Features 13


Jumping to make a difference After-school program receives help from SJU VICTORIA LOHWASSER

Staff Writer In making a mark on this world, one can also make a difference in someone’s life. Ashley Bhuanlall, a senior public relations major, is one of those people. This past year, Bhuanlall joined Jumpstart at St. John’s University as a core member. Jumpstart is a program that serves in lower income neighborhoods, assisting children ranging from ages three to five to prepare for kindergarten. “The main objective of Jumpstart is to close the kindergarten readiness gap that is prominent in these areas,” Bhuanlall said. Jumpstart members are placed in groups of five to seven people and go to different low income preschools twice a week to teach reading, writing and science to students. “We focus on bringing awareness, comprehension and alphabet knowledge to these kids,” Shanaz Ali, the Team Leader for Bhhuanlall’s group, said.

Jumpstart members various types of activities with the children, such as playing games, painting and reading aloud. “I joined Jumpstart to make a difference in children’s lives. We’re there to lessen the kindergarten readiness gap by teaching the kids the skills they need to be ready for school as well as to be confident and aware,” Bhuanlall said. Bhuanlall’s primary focuses during her sessions with the children are reading and writing. There are units to go over that concentrate on handwriting, phonemic awareness, comprehension and the alphabet. She makes practice booklets for the children to practice their penmanship as well. “I realize now that teaching is very rewarding and a great profession to go into,” Bhuanlall added. “It will definitely be a challenge if I decide to pursue a career in education, but I know that it will be worth it in the end.” In addition, to Jumpstart, Bhuanlall is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, TARA Club and the Women Gender Studies Club on campus.


Ashley Bhuanlall and Shanaz Ali from Jumpstart posing with the children books they use at work.

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14 News


Meet SGI's 2017-18 E-Board Candidates Assistant News Editor Student Government Inc.’s (SGI) elections will soon take place. The Torch spoke with some of the candidates for next year’s SGI e-board and they told us about their platforms as well as their school involvement. The only ticket running in the election is the REAL (Realizing Excellence through Advocacy and Leadership), headed by presidential candidate Frank Obermeyer. All other candidates are running

independently. The Torch was unable to secure interviews with the following candidates, whose profiles are not in this piece, which includes: independent candidate Carl-Edward Fetiere for treasurer; REAL ticket candidates Alissa Santolo for secretary, Brian Wagner for senior senator and Domonic Haire for sophomore senator. Elections will take place on March 23 and 24. They’re open to all undergraduate students. Students may vote via MySJU as well as in booths that will be set up in the D’Angelo Center.

Continued on Page 15

William Pugh,

SGI’s Relay for Life co-chair, is running unopposed for vice president on the REAL ticket as well. Pugh, a junior biology major, is also president of his fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, and has been involved with the R.I.S.E. Network since his sophomore year. Pugh believes that the main way for

Tahmir Williams,

is currently a junior representative for CPS and co-chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. He’s running independently for vice president. Williams, a legal studies major, is also the president of the University’s NAACP chapter and treasurer of the

students and organizations to succeed is through setting clear standards and goals for each committee to meet. “One thing I’ve learned in my experience with SGI and R.I.S.E., is that structure is needed so we can reach the fullest potential possible,” Pugh said. “If there’s no goals or definitions to anything, you can’t really ever expect anything to get done. You can’t really evaluate how well a job is done.” He also aims to ensure that SGI leaders of upcoming years will not be left to rebuild a new system at the start of each year. “I see the vice presidential job not as a takeover of what the committees are doing, but to oversee them, to give them a voice and a clear picture of where we want to be by the new year,” Pugh said. “I don’t want SGI to start itself from ground zero with each new year, but to be able to pick up from last year’s work, and to truly empower the people within SGI so they can be leaders.” Pugh’s main goal is to set a precedent for SGI that will continue on after he graduates. “If I can leave knowing that I’ve left the situation in a better place than how it was when I stepped into it, then I know I’ve accomplished my real goal,” Pugh said.

Legal Society. Williams’ focus is on expanding students’ understanding of SGI, and working to serve their needs. “I would like to make SGI more available to students,” he said. “I would like students to know that we are here to help them.” He hopes to accomplish this through the creation of more events centered on increasing direct interactions between SGI and students. Another one of Williams’ goals is to improve services for students such as the shuttle bus schedules and campus dining. He believes the best way to address students’ concerns is by listening to them. Williams wants to extend these methods to ultimately bolster student retention rates, as well as give student organizations more tools to accomplish their own objectives. “I would like to help the University receive higher retention rates through working with administrators and give organizations better support through communications with advisors, operations and facilities,” Williams said.



Anthony Savino

is a sophomore running independently for the position of junior class senator. He is a journalism major and currently serves as the chair of Altruistic Campus Experience (ACE), a philanthropic project of his fraternity, Sigma Pi, as well as a campus tour guide. In addition, he is a staff writer for the Torch and is involved with the TV Club. He wants to place an emphasis on SGI’s visibility on campus, and bolster collaboration between different organizations and students. “I think what can always

Atem Tazi,

College of Professional Studies sophomore representative in SGI, is running for the position of Junior Senator. Tazi is a part of the REAL ticket. A health and human services major, Tazi is also the community service chair of the African Students Association (ASA). She is a mentor with the Student and Faculty Engagement (SAFE) program, which provides freshman with an upperclassmen mentor to assist them in their adjustment to university life. Tazi is also a mentee of the R.I.S.E. Network, which provides academic and career advancement tools and support to black and Latino students.

get better is visibility, especially on campus,” Savino saidw. “I feel like so many people don’t know how much SGI and St. John’s offers in general, I want to get that information out to the publi,” he said. “Improving the visibility of SGI would be one of my main focuses.” Savino sees the diversity of the St. John’s community as a strength that can be utilized through communication and collaboration. He proposed accomplishing this through encouraging organizations to collaborate not just with those they are already familiar with. “I want to help people embrace the diversity of St. John’s, I want to co-sponsor events with different organizations that usually wouldn’t work together, to create more connections and friendly faces around campus for everyone,” he said. Savino also plans to work directly with his classmates by listening to their ideas. “I will place importance on hearing out the students’ concerns, hearing out what the class of 2019 wants to do about certain issues. I will be the listener, I will be the person really trying to implement events and spread the word,” he added.

Tazi created an action plan this past year which she hopes to put into action. The plan consists of three main goals, one goal being to put together individualized town hall assemblies tailored to each college. The meetings will allow students to “speak directly to faculty and deans,” according to Tazi. “I really want these meetings to be run by the representatives because I really plan on empowering them more, and teaching them how to use their platforms as student leaders,” she said. Keeping the junior class constantly informed of SGI decisions and events is an additional priority for Tazi. “I want to ameliorate forms of communication between the upcoming junior class and myself by being more present with organizations, being active and responsive on social media and promoting our floor meetings where students who are not in SGI can come speak to me anytime,” she said. Tazi also believes that when it comes to all the responsibilities junior senator entails, experience in planning and delegation are central to being effective and helpful. “When meeting with deans and administrators about concerns that students have about the curriculums, availability and rigor of particular majors and the standard of teaching in the classroom, you need to be able to present ideas and concerns that may conflict in a focused and organized manner,” she said.

Student Government Inc.’s e-board debate will be held on Monday, March 20 in DAC Room 416, during common hour. The Torch’s Editor-in-Chief, Suzanne Ciechalski, will be moderating the debate. Send in your question suggestions to torcheic@gmai.com.




Meet SGI's 2017-18 E-Board Candidates

Frank Obermeyer,

current SGI secretary, is running unopposed for the position of president as a candidate on the REAL ticket. Obermeyer, a junior and mathematical physics major, has been involved in SGI since his freshman year as a representative. In addition, he conducts research with Dr. Charles Fortmann and is a Career Services Career Peer. Obermeyer believes the standard of SGI thus far has been to bridge the gap between students and administration, but he envisions it primarily as a means for students to voice their concerns. “In my years in SGI, we’ve been mostly a programming board,” Obermeyer said. “We have always

been a little bit behind in advocating for students, so my main goal is to improve on that. I want student input to be taken into account in every single decision the school makes.” “SGI’s role is to be the official voice of the undergraduate student body,” he added. To improve on this, Obermeyer wants to implement town hall events open exclusively for students to voice their concerns, and to have these events organized by college in order to tackle issues more efficiently. “Right now there’s no system in place where we, as SGI, reach out to each individual college. Problems tend to face a whole college of the University, rather than classes,” Obermeyer said. Another change Obermeyer seeks to make is establishing a consistent framework for SGI, beginning passing an updated constitution. “I’ve seen three different presidents of SGI carry themselves in different ways, and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t,” Obermeyer said. “We as SGI need more structure. This year, I spent the majority of the year meeting with the constitution committee; we have rewritten it and we look forward to getting that passed as we move into this next year.” “[REAL] is the strongest ticket I’ve ever been on running for e-board, we have people from all aspects of student government and the University…we’re excited to start standardizing things, introducing bylaws and we’re excited to be better advocates for the student body,” he said.

Teresa Ehiogu,

current cochair of SGI’s Budget Committee, is running for the position of SGI treasurer as a candidate on the REAL ticket. She is a junior healthcare administration major, and is also involved within SGI’s Events Review Committee. Ehiogu is also manager of the women’s track and field team and a resident assistant in Hollis Hall. In addition, Ehiogu is on the Campus Activities Board and has been a student manager of the University’s Operations since her freshman year. “I believe my experience in structuring and organization will help with our overall goal of bringing more structure and trans-

parency,” Ehiogu said. “I’ve also been on both sides—having been a part of organizations since my freshman year, I have an idea of what they need.” Ehiogu, who participated in establishing the Budget Committee’s new bylaws, which were passed earlier this year, seeks to bring “structure and transparency” and better communication between organizations. This includes streamlining the way organizations budget through the use of programs on OrgSync. “We’re going to utilize OrgSync for all these budgetary processes to get things running smoother, and get that transparency and efficiency in giving organizations their funds,” Ehiogu said. Ehiogu believes her qualifications for treasurer lie in the leadership roles she has served in throughout her college career and the resulting connections she has made throughout the University community. “All the experience I’ve obtained in my leadership roles these past three years will be brought together in this position,” Ehiogu said. “I can bring better communication not just with my financial and organizational experience, but also knowing the resources here for organizations, and knowing who to contact for better communication with the administration,” she said. “I want to communicate this information to organizations, and bring more structure in that respect.”

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16 Entertainment


SJU’s Gallery of Empowerment SAMANTHA BRIMBERRY Contributing Writer

The Gallery of Empowerment was hosted on March 8, International Women’s Day. Memoirs, original artwork and novels were on display, all of which celebrated the power of femininity. One facet of the

display encaptured the progress made with the aid of pioneering women, such as Selena Quintanilla, Celia Cruz and Frida Kahlo. The gallery inspired the viewer through the past and present as the incorporation of student works sat alongside these avant-garde woman. Raven Jackson, a student and one of the poets displayed, used the challenges she faces and “channels [her] emotions in a positive way” by creating art and encouraging others to find their own niche. Jackson’s poem “Angry Black Bitch” questions a stereotype by guiding the reader throughout seemingly mundane situations, forcing the reader to question themselves or possibly others they have encountered. Most importantly, Jackson’s poem ends on the note of empowerment and reiterates to the reader how crucial it is to advocate for what is right. Kyra Donahoo also wrote an exceptional poem. Titleless, the poem still speaks for itself by epitomizing the balance of strength and softness of a women. Viewers were also able to transition through time based on achievements made in women’s rights, starting all the way back to the 19th century. Accompanied with women empowering soundtracks, quotes were placed along the ways. Some of my favorites were,“No one can make you feel inferior without

your consent,” from Eleanor Roosevelt and, “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves,” said by Barbara Corcoran. The gallery also featured a woman named Berta Cáceres from Honduras, “an environmental activist, indigenous leader of her people and co-founder of the council of popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, an organization to support indigenous people’s rights in Honduras.” She sadly was assassinated, along with many other activists in

2014. However, the outrage of the brutal treatment of activists in Honduras shed a light on Càceres and her cause. In 2015 she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. One of the directors of the galley, Kayla Berry, an RA in Hollis Hall, said that she portrays feminism by, “Realizing [her] potential, being a silent role model and being a leader in the community.” She tries to relay the message to other girls that, “once you find your passion, your ability to achieve whatever you want is within you.”


“Logan” poignantly ends Wolverine’s journey DAVID ROSARIO Contributing Writer

Seventeen years after introducing film audiences to the character in Bryan Singer’s original “X-Men” film, Hugh Jackman returns to play the clawed mutant Wolverine for one last time in a film that’s wholly unlike any other previous comic book adaptation. Director James Mangold, who helmed the last Wolverine standalone feature back in 2013, also returns to tell a far bleaker and bloodier story. Set in the future, “Logan” explores the titular character at a particularly low point in his life. With his self-healing powers not working like they used to, and the X-Men who once gave him a sense of belonging no longer in the picture, Logan


has little to live for other than looking after his old friend and mentor Charles (played by Patrick Stewart). The call to action comes when he discovers a young mutant on the run from a shady government agency, forcing him to go on the run along with Charles and deliver the girl to safety. What sets "Logan" apart from the majority of superhero films, aside from the R-rating, is the emphasis on character development over spectacle. Hugh Jackman has never had the opportunity to portray such a human version of this larger than life character in the other X-Men films. He reaches a place of vulnerability and raw emotion seldom found in genre films, taking compelling material and elevating it to greatness with each passing scene. If this really is goodbye to his take on Logan, I don't think he could have went out on a higher note.

Sports 17


Katz, Burawa head from SJU to WBC JOHN CAVANAGH Contributing Writer

The St. John’s baseball team is off to a ground breaking 12-2 start this season after the Red Storm finished a disappointing 28-26 last year. This season is more accustomed to a baseball program that has accomplished much success over the years. A big reason for St. John’s success this season has been the dominance of their pitching staff on the mound. However, two St. John’s baseball alumni are taking the mound in another country. Alex Katz and Danny Burawa are currently pitching in the World Baseball Classic for Team Israel in Seoul, South Korea, but got their start right here in Queens. Burawa, 28, spent one year at St. John’s after transferring from Suffolk Community College. His short stint at St. John’s was very successful, as he led the Johnnies to a Big East title in 2010. Burawa recorded 12 saves that season along with 30 relief appearances. Burawa grew up in Riverhead, N.Y., not too far from St. John’s, and chose the school because of its reputation as a prestigious Catholic university with a great baseball program. Burawa continued to play baseball in New York when he was drafted by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He made one major league appearance for the Yankees and 12 appearances in relief for the Atlanta Braves after they traded for him midway through the 2015 season, pitching to a 3.65 Earned Run Average

(ERA) in just over 12 innings of work. Katz, 22, started as a freshman and spent three years at St. John’s. He left the school in 2016 after completing the fall semester. He led the Johnnies to a Big East title in 2015 and was hailed as one of the top southpaws in the conference. The Johnnies went on that season to make the final of their NCAA Tournament region before seeing their season come to an end. That season, he ranked seventh in the league with 52 strikeouts. He cited the esteemed baseball program that St. John’s has as his main reason for attending the university. Katz was right, because he was one of six players at St. John’s drafted to the major leagues that year. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 27th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. Katz played baseball at Herricks High School in New Hyde Park and, like Burawa, also grew up in New York. Team Israel was ranked 41 in the world by ESPN, making them the biggest underdogs in the tournament. However, if Katz and Burawa make an impact for Team Israel like they did for St. John’s, their pitching will surely be in good shape. So far Israel has been the Cinderella’s of the World Baseball Classic. They went 3-0 in the Opening Round of pool play, and are currently participating in the Second Round. Katz has already made an appearance for Team Israel so far, as he threw one shutout inning of their opening game of the tournament against South Korea on March 6.


Alex Katz made his World Baseball Classic debut on March 6, joining former St. John’s teammate Danny Burawa on Team Israel.

Baseball surges to best start in 30 years DERRELL BOUKNIGHT Assistant Sports Editor


Jessie Berardi has been at the forefront of the Red Storm offensive barrage this season. His 17 runs batted as of March 13 in lead the team.

Prior to a 16-1 win over Fairleigh Dickinson in March 2016, Ed Blankmeyer’s ball club sat at 4-6 through ten games. Their first two games at Brooks Field in North Carolina were loses. A four game losing streak loomed over the team’s head. Just over a year later, St. John’s is on pace to surpass last year’s 28-26-1 record. Their 12-2 start, including a 10-1 start to the season, has the Red Storm placed among the best teams in the country. Ranked as high as number nine on the young season, the team sits at No. 19 as of March 13, their first loss coming at the hands of then-ninth-ranked ECU. The team has seen a number of players be honored by the NCAA, including senior Ryan McAuliffe being named the Big East’s Pitcher of the Week. McAuliffe improved to 2-0 on the year following a no-hitter he carried into the sixth inning against Western Carolina. In seven innings, he gave up only two hits and struck out seven. In more than 24 innings, McAuliffe has given up three earned runs, backed by his 1.123 ERA, best among St. John’s starting pitchers. His 16 strikeouts are second on the team. Infielder Josh Shaw made the Big East Weekly Honor Roll. The sophomore saw his batting average increase by more than 70 points in the last week, batting .444 with a home run and a team-high seven

RBI’s. In the team’s loss to ECU, Shaw tied a career-high with three hits, highlighting the second of three consecutive multi-hit outings. Early in the season, junior Jessi Berardi and sophomore Michael LoPresti each made the conference’s Weekly Honor Roll. Redshirt senior first baseman Gui Gingras was also honored the week of March 13 after a 7-11 showing over the weekend. As of March 11, the Red Storm were batting .331 as a team, holding their opponents to an average of .214. Pitchers are giving up just under three earned runs per game, maintaining an ERA of 2.64. St. John’s is off to an 8-0 start in neutral territory, their four other wins and only two losses having come on the road. The team is set to play a three-game weekend series against Holy Cross starting Saturday, marking the first games at Jack Kaiser Stadium this season. Blankmeyer, the winningest coach in St. John’s baseball history, entered his 22nd season with the team with an all-time record of 716-447-4, good enough for a winning percentage of .615. With seven 40-win seasons at the helm, Blankmeyer has witnessed 103 of his players recognized as All-Big East selections, with 75 of his players having been drafted and/or signed to professional contracts. Although they have yet to play a conference game, St. John’s sits atop the Big East with an overall record of 12-2. Their first conference game will come in Nebraska against Creighton in early April.

18 Sports


Sour end, bright future for St. John’s Men’s basketball season ends in dominant defeat, but hope lies in future

There’s a slogan popping up all over social media that has become a rallying cry, of sorts, for floundering athletic teams. Thanks to the newfound success of the young, yet infinitely talented, Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA, “Trust the Process” has firmly established itself in sports lexicon. Well, “the process” made its way to St. John’s basketball last year, the first under Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. After essentially starting from scratch in 2015, most expected the Red Storm to lie dormant at the bottom of the Big East for at least three years, maybe more. It is safe to say, now that the Red Storm have concluded their 2016-2017 season, that Mullin’s process is nearly complete. St. John’s basketball is relevant again, and may be on the verge of contention, even after an ugly loss to Villanova in the conference tournament. “We definitely progressed, as you can see from last year, and that’s what we need; each and every year to get better,” freshman guard Shamorie Ponds said after the loss to Villanova. “That’s what we did this year. We did great.” Expectations may have been at an alltime low after Mullin’s first season was nothing short of a disaster; the Red Storm lost a school record of 16 consecutive

games and were victorious in just one Big East matchup. Then, almost all at once, Mullin and his staff received a massive influx of talent, especially in the backcourt. Marcus LoVett, finally eligible, went to work with Ponds, his partner-in-crime-to-be. When the student body returned to campus after summer break, the Red Storm looked nothing like they did in 2015. New players began to mesh with those that survived the previous season’s torture, and all of a sudden the Johnnies were an offensive force, scoring nearly 77 points per game in regular season play. The team’s frontcourt depth took a hit early in the winter. Yankuba Sima transferred to Oklahoma State, and four-star commit Zach Brown was released from his letter of intent after a robbery arrest. It did let players like Darien Williams get more playing time, and freed up a pair of future scholarship offers, which could be more beneficial as the team nears true contention. The season may have reached its apex in a 76-73 win over 13th-ranked Butler in front of a packed Carnesecca Arena, which speaks volumes of the troubles of both playing in the Big East conference and getting a young team to give everything they can possibly muster for all 33 games. After that victory, the Red Storm sat at 7-7 with almost all of conference play

ahead of them. They already weathered a five-game losing streak and beat New York rivals Syracuse and Fordham by a combined 61 points. Having a young, unproven team in one of the toughest conferences in America is never a good omen, but the Johnnies responded well to the pressure, finishing with seven times as many Big East wins as they did in 2015-2016. There were troubles though, they were not nearly as worrisome as they were a year ago. Perimeter defense has taken a backseat to scoring, and they were streaky on offense. Another offseason of practice could quell these issues, though, and the maturation of the team’s biggest stars, like Ponds, LoVett and Owens, could put the team over the .500 mark for the first time under Mullin. “I think defensively we need to improve,” Mullin said. “I do think a lot of that will come with strength and maturity. I think a lot of people, me included, players improve a lot in the offseason. That’s the best time to do it.” 2017-2018 could be the year of the Red Storm. That doesn’t mean that Shamorie Ponds will be cutting down the net after a national championship win, but they will definitely be prepared to chase an NCAA Tournament spot. While other Big East teams, like Villanova, will be turning their rosters over, the Red Storm will only be getting more comfortable with each other.

stormin' forward sju's largest single-season win improvements, since 2003 year





+ 6 Wins



+ 5 Wins



+ 4 Wins



+ 4 Wins


DYLAN HORNIK Assistant Sports Editor

Shamorie Ponds was one of the Big East’s top freshmen in 2016-2017.


After a loss in Milwaukee to number 18/17 DePaul on March 6 in the Semifinals of the Big East Tournament, the St. John’s women’s basketball team’s quest for a return to the NCAA Tournament ended. After an upset of the higher seeded Villanova Wildcats the day before, the Johnnies struggled to contain Jessica January, who finished the game with 20 points en route to a 59-41 victory for the Blue Demons. Despite the loss, there were a lot of positives for the Johnnies throughout the season. Head Coach Joe Tartamella picked up his 100th win at St. John’s with a 60-50 home win against Providence. Tartamella became the fifth coach in the program’s history to do so. The team’s first big win came against cross-city rival Fordham, in which the Johnnies pulled away for a 59-45 win against a team with a current 21-11 record. St. John’s found themselves extremely competitive once conference play started. The team’s highlight of the conference season came when completed a season sweep of Marquette, a team that only has five losses in the league. Leadership from the upperclassmen was a constant theme throughout the entire season for the Red Storm. Senior guard Aaliyah Lewis was a perpetual floor general, averaging just over 11 points per game while tallying 190 assists compared to 84 turnovers. Lewis also led the team in minutes with just over 37 per game. Last Wednesday, Lewis was named to the Big East All-Tournament team. She averaged 18 points,

four rebounds and three steals across the two games. Inside the Johnnies were led by Jade Walker, another senior, and juniors Imani Littleton and Maya Singleton. All three players averaged over five rebounds a game, while Littleton led the team averaging over six boards a game. Walker was the team’s leading scorer with 13.7 points per game. She was named to the First Team All-Conference, while Lewis was named an honorable mention. Despite losing Lewis, Walker, Kendyl Nunn and Sandra Udobi to graduation, the Red Storm should be confident heading into next year. Alisha Kebbe returns, who was named to to the Big East Freshman team, and was named a Big East Freshman of the Week four times. The Philadelphia native averaged over 11 points a game, while hitting her career high of 17 against Seton Hall at the end of February. The team also returns Akina Wellere, who was their best three-point shooter. Wellere shot at the three ball at a clip of close to 50 percent. The team also bolsters the roster with recruits like McDonald’s All-American Qadashah Hoppie and forward Kayla Charles. St. John’s struggled against top opponents this season, losing all five games, of their games against Top 25 teams. However, the Red Storm also does not have any particularly bad losses. The Red Storm will now gear up for the NCAA Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which they last participated in 2015, making a run all the way to the Round of 16.


Red Storm women headed to WNIT

Seniors Aaliyah Lewis and Jade Walker finished out their final season with the Red Storm in style. Despite not returning to the NCAA Tournament, the duo has combined to average just under 25 points per game this season, leading St. John’s to its fourth straight 20-win season.

Sports 19



Mike Francesa

Francesa’s path to radio stardom began at SJU

He has been the voice of New York City sports fans for over three decades. Fans know every version of his show’s iconic jingle by heart and can imitate his distinct New York accent almost on cue. There is even an annual festival in New York City bearing his name where fans can pay homage. That name, if you haven’t guessed it already, is Mike Francesa, arguably one of the greatest sports talk radio hosts of all time. Francesa, a St. John’s alumnus, is noted as one of the major reasons why WFAN Sports Radio in New York City has grown into the nationwide powerhouse that it is today. After 30 years at the FAN, Francesa, 62, will be moving on to the next stage in his career in November. But the king of sports talk radio’s career to this point has been marked by decisions that even he couldn’t have planned out. That theme stretches all the way back to Francesa’s childhood. Growing up in a poor New York City family, his career goals were typical for a sports-loving kid. “I wasn’t one of these guys who grew up with a tape recorder, wanting to be a play-by-play guy or wanting to be a broadcaster,” he said. “I was like a typical kid, you know, as a youngster I was a player.” As that goal went by the wayside once he got older, Francesa set his sights on a more practical career path. He began studying athletic communications and playing baseball at the University of South Florida, but returned back north after a knee injury his first semester. After deciding that he would not be returning to South Florida, Francesa enrolled at Hofstra. His time at school on Long Island, however, lasted even shorter than it did in Florida. “I actually enrolled at Hofstra for a day, and then when I looked deeper into St. John’s, I actually asked Hofstra to release me, which they did,” he said. “I thought the St. John’s communications program fit me better than Hofstra did… So I actually went to Hofstra for one day.” Now at his third college in just over one year, Francesa had finally found a home in Queens. He doubled-majored in athletic

communications and athletic administration as one of the first St. John’s graduates of the athletic administration program. Despite not being a member of the school’s radio station or TV Club, Francesa valued the experience that he received in his years at St. John’s. He noted former broadcasting professor Bob Wolff as one of the major influences on his career. Francesa’s big break came in 1980 when he was given a job as a researcher with CBS. He excelled in this role working with CBS on-air talent like Brent Musburger and Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, calling himself Musburger’s “right-hand man.” “I traveled all over the country with him for whatever he did,” Francesa said on Musburger. “So whether he was doing football, baseball, basketball, or doing the NBA playoffs, or doing the NFL playoffs, I traveled with him.” In 1987 when WFAN launched as the nation’s first 24-hour sports talk radio station, Francesa decided to try his hand at radio. Never before interested in appearing on the radio, he was denied a job originally. That’s right. Mike Francesa, the Mike Francesa, was originally denied a job hosting a show for WFAN. Eventually though, he persisted and was given a job with the new company. That is where the cliché of this story, “the rest is history,” finally comes into play. Francesa was teamed with the eccentric Chris Russo to form a pair billed as “Mike and the Mad Dog.” But working with a partner was not something that he was interested in at the time. “I was reluctant to do it, I was against it at the beginning when they first told me that I could go to afternoon drive but then I would have to be teamed with him,” Francesa said on the pairing. “When it first started I didn’t think it would work very well.” And at first, Francesa was correct in his thinking. In their first few episodes, the duo frequently talked over each other as listeners could hear their disdain about this radio “arranged marriage” echo through the airwaves. But over time, “Mike and the Mad Dog” found its groove. Francesa and Russo were “overnight hits,” and the two sky-

rocketed to the number one spot in New York within nine months. From 1989 until 2008, “Mike and the Mad Dog” ruled the New York sports talk radio scene. Francesa and Russo’s contrasting styles played beautifully off of one another, and the duo took home a Marconi Award, the highest honor in radio broadcasting, in 2000. “We were always really able to be the guys who kind of were there to be the witnesses and to chronicle all the big sporting events,” Francesa said. “So that’s what ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ was synonymous with doing.” But all good things must come to an end, and for “Mike and the Mad Dog,” that end came in 2008 when Russo was granted a release from his contract and signed a new deal for his own show on Sirius XM Radio. With Russo’s departure, the time came for Francesa to begin hosting the show solo, as “Mike and the Mad Dog” was transitioned to “Mike’d Up,” and later, now currently, “Mike’s On.”


You can’t fool the audience, they know what’s real and what’s fake, they know the difference. And they’re the ones that count. - Mike Francesa -

Despite having experience hosting a Sunday morning football show solo, Francesa admitted that he did feel some pressure to keep his main show at the prominent rank it had been at for nearly two decades with Russo. “I had always done a show by myself on Sunday morning anyway,” he said. “But the idea of whether or not I was gonna be able to keep our show by myself at the same level was really gonna be the key. And fortunately that happened.” Russo and Francesa have since reunited a handful of times, including for a show that sold out Radio City Music Hall last

year and a one hour special on radio row for this year’s Super Bowl. Now in his final months at the company that he has called home for the majority of his career, Francesa is beginning the reflection period for his stellar career at WFAN. “It’s really just starting now. You check off things, I have eight months left, you check off things like for the last time,” he said. “There’s like an event every month that will be the last time I do a certain thing…it’s really just been like checking off the events right now.” And in between checking off events, Francesa will also have the opportunity to hold meetings regarding his future employment, something that he vows he hasn’t done since the 1980s. “As far as regular, day-to-day employment, this was the first time that I’ve ever spoken to anybody since 1989 or before about a new job,” he said. “So it’s very interesting, and also the business has changed so radically. There’s so many different ways to approach this now.” Francesa leaving WFAN also means that the arguably most coveted seat in sports talk radio is now up for grabs. While an official replacement hasn’t yet been made, rumors have been swirling the internet for months. Who knows? Maybe the next Mike Francesa could be someone walking the halls of St. John’s right now, just as he did decades earlier. If that is the case, Francesa offered up some advice for anyone aspiring to one day be in his shoes. “A lot of it’s right place, right time, there’s gonna be four or five times in life where you’re gonna come up against a decision or you’re gonna come up against a moment that’s gonna define your career,” he said. “And you gotta be fortunate enough to make the right decisions at those times.” “You can’t fool the audience, they know what’s real and what’s fake, they know the difference. And they’re the ones that count; in essence, they are the ones who decide,” he said. “The best thing about what I do is, you get a report card, you get judged, you know if you’re doing a good job or not because your job is to get ratings… if you don’t get ratings...you’re not gonna be there.”

SPORTS March 16, 2017 | VOLUME 94, ISSUE 18 |


radio legend

francesa talks time at sju, final year at wfan Story on page 19


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