Campus & Culture

Hawk Hill Proud

by Gabrielle Lacherza

Students create their very own Hawk plush during the "Stuff-a-Hawk" event that was part of the Welcome Week activities organized by Hawk Hill Productions, the student-run union board. Nearly every Welcome Week event was sold out. 

Student tie dye T-shirts as part of the Welcome Week activities organized by Hawk Hill Productions. The group instituted pre-registration for activities this year to ensure physical distancing. 

Students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in outdoor classes run by Campus Recreation, including this yoga class. 

Participants in a recent outdoor rowing class. The move over the summer to make Campus Recreation part of the Department of Athletics will open up new opportunities for the campus community, including Campus Recreation partnering on initiatives with SJU's Division I coaches. 

Students check out one of dozens of tables set up in physically distanced "pods" during the recent Student Activities fair. 

Students at the recent SJU Activities Fair. Representatives at the fair included student government, club sports, career and professional organizations, cultural groups and art, drama and the student newspaper. 

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  • As the campus community returns to Hawk Hill for the fall semester, campus life is in full swing while adhering to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 
  • The move to have the Department of Athletics oversee campus recreation has created new synergies, including the chance for recreation programs to partner with Division I coaches from Athletics.
  • In addition to outdoor recreation programs, Saint Joseph’s is also offering students the chance to participate in dozens of clubs and activities, and cultural and social opportunities, including tie dye, a painting class and virtual events.

From virtual painting with a twist to outdoor rowing group fitness classes, campus life has been in full swing – with health and safety precautions in place – since students, faculty and staff returned to Hawk Hill for the fall semester.

The reimagined Student Activities Fair on Sept. 3 brought dozens of student organizations to physically distanced “pods” placed throughout campus. Masks in place and adhering to limits on the number of people allowed to peruse each table at a time, students chatted with representatives of activities including student government, club sports, career-oriented associations, cultural groups and those representing the arts, drama and the student newspaper. 

Megan Azzalina, assistant director of student leadership and activities, was extremely pleased with the participation in this year’s Welcome Week activities, with nearly every event selling out. Activities included virtual mind reading, tie-dyeing tees, stuffing your very own Hawk plush and a live Q&A with Netflix star Jonathan Daviss from the popular series “Outerbanks.” 

“It was exciting to see so many students, freshmen and upperclassmen, participate in events during our first week back,” says Azzalina. “A lot of students that joined us seemed to be participating with roommates or suitemates, which is great to see they’re taking the time to share these unique experiences together.” 

According to Azzalina, one of the ways that Student Life has ensured that COVID-19 health and safety procedures are followed is to ask students to pre-register for events and activities. 

“Our students are used to walking past Villiger Lawn and being able to participate in something fun on a whim,” she says. “We encourage students to familiarize themselves with the registration process, which will make it possible to still participate in these opportunities.”

Additional opportunities have been created by the move to have the Department of Athletics oversee the University’s campus recreation program. The change was motivated primarily by the desire to optimize the student experience and become more efficient. This transition happened amid campus recreation reimagining programs and fitness classes for the fall semester. 

“This time has challenged campus recreation, like many other units, to be more creative than ever before. Our transition to the Athletics Department has also allowed us to collaborate with individuals on campus we haven’t always connected with like our Division I coaching staff,” says Angie Nagle, assistant athletics director for campus recreation. 

One of those new collaborations was with Men’s Track and Field Head Coach Mike Glavin, who helped create a variety of campus running routes for students, faculty and staff ranging from 1.1 miles to 4.7 miles. As part of a new, multi-faceted esports initiative, the Saint Joseph’s esports student club has been elevated to a club sport team and is looking to expand. Other available activities include reserving a time to swim laps in the O'Pake pool. Students, faculty and staff have also been enjoying open-air rowing classes and perfecting their downward dog and tree poses during sunset yoga sessions.

“Right now, a large part of what we’re focusing on with campus recreation is providing opportunities for our community to move, stay healthy and safely engage with one another,” says Jill Bodensteiner, director of athletics.  

These event offerings from Student Life, Campus Recreation and more continued over Labor Day weekend, including a corn hole tournament and an outdoor movie night. 

The University community is encouraged to reference the Student Life Events Calendar for upcoming opportunities. Student Life and Campus Recreation also actively share updates and information on Instagram.