My name is Anna, a sophomore sociology major and social justice minor at St. John’s Queens campus. I’m from Cheverly, Maryland and I’m involved in the Ozanam Scholars Program, Campus Ministry, Stressbusters and Earth Club. All of these activities, along with my academic classes, incredibly gifted professors, and lasting friendships that I have formed here are the reasons I absolutely love St. John’s!
November 26, 2012
Since I am from Maryland, I had already voted VIA absentee ballot when election day rolled around. So, since school was cancelled and I had already fulfilled my duty as an American citizen, I traveled with the InterVarsity Christian group on campus to the Far Rockaways to help with Sandy Relief. I am so thankful that I was able to go to the Rockaways that Tuesday because it gave me a clear picture of how extensive the damage from Hurricane Sandy really was. As we drove towards the donation site where we would be volunteering, we passed cars and even boats stranded in the middle of the road, placed there from the winds and waves. FEMA and National Guard patrolled the streets and sidewalks, providing bottled water and other necessities to displaced people. There were bulldozers moving trash and sand that had been blown from the beaches by the winds.
Our group was helping at a small house that houses volunteers doing community service in Queens throughout the year. With Hurricane Sandy, however, this house had been converted into a donation center where people walking by could stop and pick up anything they needed. There was hot food, like soup and hot dogs, and other food like non-perishables, pasta, marinara, juice, water, rice, etc. They had every clothing item you could imagine, blankets, baby products, and so much more. I was astounded at the generosity of both the people who dropped off entire trucks filled with donations and those walking by who realized that their needs might not be as dire as someone else’s. Everyone only took what they needed, an act that I really found inspiring.
This experience in the Far Rockaways is only one example of the incredible service experiences I have had with St. John’s. The importance of service is instilled in every student from their freshman Discover New York course, where Academic Service Learning is required to pass the course. Campus Ministry offers service nearly every day of the week, ranging from Midnight Runs to the St. Nick’s Men’s Shelter. As an Ozanam Scholar, I do service two times a week at Project ID, a branch of St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in Brooklyn. Vincentian service is all around St. John’s-it’s impossible to miss it! Even when it’s not required by a class or scholarship, people come together and help those in need, just like the trip InterVarsity took to the Far Rockaways this past election day to help with Sandy Relief.