Johnny Thunderbird with open arms

Employee Engagement

Engaging employees in work and life

Why be engaged?

... because work is simply better when you are!

The goal of this webpage is to offer you many ways to connect to colleagues, students and the University in your daily life. Gallup research tells us that employees want opportunities to do what they do best, to develop and grow in their roles, to have strong coworker relationships, and to share in a common mission or purpose. And while your manager may play a pivotal role in helping you feel engaged, Human Resources, too, wants to help you feel involved, respected, appreciated and successful at St. John's University.

However you choose to connect with us - whether joining an ERG that shares your interests, meeting coworkers at a Mets game, participating in service with students, or cheering on the Red Storm from the sidelines, we want you to be a part of St. John's and to love working here.

Human Resources Policy Manual Employee Handbook

Values and Inclusion Program

The Values and Inclusion Program (VIP) recognizes employees who demonstrate a commitment to inclusion, thereby emphasizing and promulgating the University’s core values: truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence, and service. All faculty, administrators, and staff are eligible for nomination; all campuses are encouraged to participate.

On an annual basis, nominations will be accepted for employees who demonstrate a commitment to inclusion in the workplace or learning environment. It can be an employee’s consistent trait or the result of a significant, one-time event. Nominations will be received by the Office of Human Resources (HR) during the nomination period. A representative from HR will present the nomination to the nominated employee’s department head, dean, or chair for review and approval. HR will prepare a feature story to highlight all recognized employees, drawing statements from the nomination forms about how the employees embody the University’s commitment to inclusion. HR and representatives from the University’s Equity and Inclusion Council will review all nominations received and select three employees to be recognized during the annual Employee Convocation.

For questions about the VIP employee recognition program, contact Human Resources at: 

Cynthia Fico Simpson
Director of Human Resources Services

Karen Crowley
Human Resources Generalist

Any member of the University community can nominate an employee for recognition (e.g., a peer, supervisor, employee in a different department, department head, student, faculty member, etc.). Employees are nominated for demonstrating one or more of our six core values (i.e., truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence, and service) to further inclusion at St. John’s University.

Eligible employees who are nominated will be announced to the University community and featured in a video slide show shared via email. In addition, the Human Resources website, the Office of Equity and Inclusion website, and other department news feeds will showcase VIP recipients.

A VIP review committee will select three nominees to be the recipients of a special recognition during the annual Employee Recognition Convocation.


Knowledge in accord with reality, behavior faithful to ethical standards. St. John’s affirms the threefold mission of a University to seek truth through research, to disseminate it through teaching, and to act on it. The University values and utilizes the perspectives of different cultures to assist its members in seeking truth and developing ethical standards, while affirming the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Focusing and extending minds and hearts to nurture one’s own and another’s good. Love expressed in the University community is not a feeling but an action for the corporate good manifested through the time, talent, and energy of its members. It is a responsible dedication to utilize available resources and turn them toward humanity’s good.


Awareness of and esteem for all individuals. A courteous regard for all people whose diversity is embraced and shared in learning, teaching, and service to others within the University community and beyond.


Circumstances favorable to serving others and preparing one’s self for a fulfilling life. Guided by its central commitment to equality, justice, and Christian morality, the University makes its resources available to all its members to pursue their individual and collective interests.


Striving, growing, never being complacent: the St. John’s community empowers and inspires students, faculty, administration, and staff to succeed in programs which assist them in every area of achievement.


Vincentian spirituality in action, a response to God’s call to give of ourselves. Our obligation and commitment to service lie not only in our active compassion as an institution, but in the cultivation of these priorities and values in the members of our community. We are committed to a life of stewardship as a caretaker of God-given talents, resources, and knowledge, and caregiver responding to the needs of others.

A dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the heart of our mission. As a Catholic and Vincentian University, St. John’s is committed to institutionalizing practices of inclusive excellence to ensure that we welcome and celebrate the intrinsic worth of all members of our community.

We will become an even stronger University as we enhance equity at every level of our institution. As noted in our Vision Statement, our graduates will excel in the competencies and values required for leadership and service in a rapidly evolving world.

Congratulations to the 2021-2022 VIP recipients! View the list of nominees.

Congratulations to the 2020 VIP recipients! Click here to view the list of nominees.

Congratulations to the 2019 VIP recipients! Click here to view the list of nominees.

Employee Resource Groups

In the Fall of 2020, the University announced the launch of formal Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) at St. John’s. ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that help to foster an equitable and inclusive workplace, as well as cultivate a greater sense of belonging. ERGs are open to all St. John’s University faculty, administrators, and staff. An ERG may form around a shared identity, a shared interest or concern, or a professional/career affiliation.

Preference in the initial launch will be shown to ERGs that support minoritized social identities in our workplace. Employees who are interested in starting a group are encouraged to review the ERG resources, and then identify two co-leaders to complete the required proposal information online. Should you have questions, a Human Resources representative can be reached at

An ERG Proposal Form and Getting Started Guide, along with a comprehensive ERG Guidebook and other program resources, are available on St. John’s Connect. To learn more, login to St. John's Connect and click on Campus Resources. From the Resources header, click the "Employee Information" icon and then "Employee ERGs."

For assistance, contact a Human Resources representative at

We are pleased to inform employees that an application was approved for the creation of the LGBTQ+ ERG. At this time, we invite all faculty, staff, and administrators who may be interested in participating to complete an interest form. Below you will find information on the group:


To create a group for LGBTQ+ St. John’s University faculty, staff, and administrators to serve as a resource for each other, to provide a safe space for colleagues to come together and share experiences, to provide an avenue for improving the experience of members of the LGBTQ+ community within the broader St. John’s community and to serve as allies in advocating for St. John’s to become an anti-racist, accessible, and inclusive university. The hope is to provide a space for deep engagement with members of the LGBTQ+ community, and to enable members to cultivate a sense of belonging within the ERG and within the University.


To enhance the experience of LGBTQ+ employees at St. John’s by providing them with connection, support, resources, and information.


We envision an LGBTQ+ network for St. John’s employees that provides connection, support, and resources, and that actively contributes to the larger efforts of the university in its efforts to become equitable and inclusive. We will only succeed in realizing our vision when members can participate in this ERG as their full selves, which means we are committed to exploring intersectionality and positionality both in the context of each person’s role at St. John’s and in their larger communities. We also hope to connect with existing and future groups focused on current students and alumni.

Goals and Objectives

  1. To provide a space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to come together and build relationships.
  2. To demonstrate the breadth and depth of the LGBTQ+ network within the University.
  3. To improve the experience of LGBTQ+ employees throughout the University.
  4. To cultivate a sense of belonging among LGBTQ+ employees.
  5. To provide resources and guidance to individuals and departments wishing to more fully engage with the LGBTQ+ community (e.g., via outreach, support, events, or research).
  6. To actively and vocally champion St. John’s anti-racist and other equity and inclusion endeavors.


Sample programs would include social/networking lunches, a Pride event that could be open to the full University community, local outings (e.g., to the Mets Pride baseball game), volunteering with LGBTQ+ organizations (e.g., the Trevor Project or God’s Love We Deliver), and hosting guest speakers or panels.


We are actively seeking faculty and staff members interested in becoming co-leaders of this ERG. The current co-leaders are Sarah Kelly, Law School; Matthew Pucciarelli, Office of Global Programs; and Linda Romano, Marketing and Communications.

If you are interested in becoming a member or co-leader and wish to learn more about the LGBTQ+ ERG, fill out an interest form and one of the co-leaders will be in touch with you. 

More ways to engage...

On campus educational and student events provide significant opportunities to share time with students, explore learning together and show your support for their achievements.

Academic Lecture Series
St. John's University's Academic Lecture Series provides students with thoughtful and stimulating intellectual discourse in a setting outside of the classroom.

University Events
Events held throughout the year, such as Convocations, Commencements, Homecoming and Family Weekend, Spring Week activities, fairs and other programs are always announced on the Web events calendar and on My SJU.  You can also visit Campus Life Activities online for more ideas on how to engage with students at events all year long.

There are many ways to make a gift to the University and make a difference in our community of learners.

It is through the sustained generosity of donors and special friends, dedicated alumni, parents, employees and students that St. John’s is able to spread its mission throughout the world and impact global change through a commitment to academic excellence and social justice.  There are many ways to make a gift to the University and make a difference in our community of learners.

Employees may make financial contributions directly through payroll deductions.  The Loughlin Society Patrons Program recognizes outstanding donors who are also St. John’s employees.  In addition to special recognition in the annual Honor Roll of Donors, members receive VIP seating at selected on-campus events and invitations to Loughlin Society gatherings and other special events held throughout the year.  To enroll in employee payroll deductions, contact the Director of Annual Giving at 718-990-6927 or email

Programs run by University Career Services, such as COACH, give employees incredible opportunities to directly help shape a student’s professional development and career path. Other opportunities, such as the SAFE program, which was created by a faculty member in partnership with the University Freshman Center, partner faculty and employees with first year students to support them during their first college year. If your specific interest is to mentor an international student, the Language Connection has programs in this area as well. Read about opportunities to mentor a student:

Coach Program
COACH stands for Count on Alumni for Career Help.  While centered on the idea of alumni-student mentoring, COACH allows employees, too, to share their diverse career experiences with students in a coaching role.  Find out more and get involved as a COACH!

SAFE Program
Consider mentoring a freshman or sophomore student during the upcoming academic year by participating in the Student and Faculty Engagement Program (SAFE). SAFE provides mentorship to freshman and sophomore students with the goal of helping them successfully transition to the University and develop a sense of belonging. The program was created in 2011 and has grown from a small cohort of 20 faculty to 75 mentors that include faculty, staff, administrators, graduate students and upperclassmen from across the University. To find out more about how you can mentor a student through this program, visit SAFE.

Conversation Partners Program
International students who are learning English may feel comfortable in the classroom, but less so with everyday, colloquial language. This program will connect an employee with an international student for informal weekly conversations for one semester. The student and employee can arrange to meet at a mutually convenient time and location and practice conversational English together. To find out more and complete an online volunteer form, visit Conversation Partners.

International Host Family Program
The IHFP is an immersive opportunity for international students to be paired with St. John’s employees, who serve as their “host families” for a year of their education. The program’s goal is simple: to improve the international student experience by connecting them with the campus, the community, and more broadly, with U.S. culture by giving them a sense of how “locals” live. The program aims to build cross-cultural ties that will make international students feel more at home at St. John’s and in New York, while helping them gain familiarity and comfort with U.S. traditions, customs, and expectations. To find out more and and participate in the program, visit International Host Family Program.

There might be an opportunity for your area to support an academic internship for credit, so elevate the idea to your supervisor and connect with the appropriate college for additional information. for guidance and tips on how to host an academic internship, download the guide. The Career Services website lists the academic internship contact information for each college, as academic departments have specific guidelines and requirements that vary by major.

Employees and students are encouraged to continue the great mission of St. Vincent de Paul by integrating service to the poor into both academic and employment experiences at St. John’s.

Some of the ways you may choose to engage students through service are to participate in the following:

Founder's Week Celebration
Founder’s Week is held annually during the week of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul in September. The University organizes a full week of events. This week helps us to deepen our understanding of the Vincentian mission of St. John’s University and to celebrate the many ways that our Vincentian heritage continues to guide our entire University community. Find out more about our Founder’s Week celebration opportunities.

University Service Day
On the fourth Saturday in September, in celebration of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, St. John’s organizes a University Service Day. This annual event unites the University family on all campuses in volunteer efforts at service sites throughout the community. To participate, contact the Office of Mission in Queens at 718-990-6353.

St. John’s Bread and Life
Employees and students can volunteer in the Bread and Life Soup Kitchen in Brooklyn. On Monday afternoon, students can volunteer in the Mobile Soup Kitchen from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. On Fridays, employees can volunteer for Friday in the Soup Kitchen from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can also learn more by visiting the Bread and Life website, or by contacting Campus Ministry.

Faith and Mission Opportunities
Employees are welcome to join in many of the student-centered service opportunities made available by St. John's University. Walks and runs, sponsor a family, and many others are open to employee volunteers.

Campus life at St. John’s is rich with a multitude of cultural and social experiences.  We hope that you take advantage of the diverse cultural and social opportunities, and that your participation serves to further broaden and enrich your life and the lives of our students.

Events and activities can be found on the St. John's web site, or you can contact the Office of Student Life in Queens at 718-990-6567, Staten Island at 718-990-4445, or Manhattan at 212-277-5170.

Faith and service engagement opportunities abound at St. John’s. Find out about how you can engage with students on a spiritual level.

Campus Ministry coordinates many opportunities for the University community to come together through spirituality.  Some of these include interfaith services, liturgical ministry, music ministry, retreats, Lent programs, Catholic men’s and women’s groups, prayer and reflection.

St. Vincent de Paul Society
This student-run organization reaches out to the poor and those in need in New York City through volunteering, retreats and reflection.  Employees can participate with students in many activities throughout the year.  In Queens call 718-990-6115 and in Staten Island 718-990-4497, or call the main number, 718–990–6255.

Catholic Lecture Series
Our Catholic Lecture Series is intended for both Catholic and Non-Catholic adults, and addresses issues of Catholic belief and teaching.

Vincentian Mission Certificate Program
This compelling 16 month personal and professional development program rooted in our Vincentian charism.  The program is centered on three major components:  Education; Service; and Reflection; and is designed to empower staff and administrators to live out and reflect upon our Vincentian Mission.  For more information, contact Program Coordinator Lucy Pesce at 718-990-3004 or

Join the campus community as we celebrate Mass together. Visit St. Thomas More Church on the web for more.

The entire University community comes together to support our athletic teams.  By coming out to the games, you show your support for our student-athletes and the University.

Red Storm Sports
The entire University community comes together to support our St. John's athletic teams.  By coming out to the games, you show your support for our student-athletes and the University. View the Red Storm Sports web site for information and game schedules.

Intramurals, Recreation, Health and Fitness
The Campus Recreation Department provides the entire University community with the opportunity to participate in formal and informal activities ranging from team sports to individual and dual sports, as well as competitive and non-competitive activities.  Fitness centers and a variety of courts on the University campuses offer great ways to engage students in healthy activities.  All staff, administrators, students and faculty currently enrolled or employed, who present a valid St. John’s StormCard, may participate in any of the University’s Intramural sporting programs.

Abundant opportunities exist to engage student workers in your department in informal mentoring and by collaborating with them on meaning work assignments.

Talk with, listen to and help the student workers in your office.  To speak with the Student Employment Manager in the Office of Human Resources, call 718-990-2479 or email Darren Russell at, or review the Supervisor's Guide to Managing Student Workers or the Toolkit located on the Student Employment website.

Past Employee Events

In 2021 and 2022, St. John’s University and the Office of Human Resources with University athletic partner Teachers Federal Credit Union thanked faculty, staff and administrators for all their hard work by hosting monthly employee raffle drawings. Each month, employees had multiple chances to win prize packs that included gift cards from such popular shopping destinations as Amazon, Target, GrubHub, Dunkin Donuts, as well as St. John’s merchandise and other surprises. Over 2000 entries were received. 

Congratulations to all 56 employee winners who were selected during the raffle period!

More than 200 St. John’s employees and guests gathered for a fun-filled evening at Citi Field as the NY Mets took on the St. Louis Cardinals on September 14. The weather was perfect, and the game went into extra innings before the Mets fell to the Cardinals 7–6 at the bottom of the 11th inning. Fans throughout the stadium recognized Johnny Thunderbird and were eager to be photographed with the St. John’s mascot.

It was a special night for three Johnnies who celebrated birthdays: Hillary Appiah, Ciaran Brennan, and Pamela O’Brien. They received a free bobblehead courtesy of the NY Mets. View photos from the event.

St. John's University held its second Employee Night at Citi Field on September 25 as the NY Mets took on the Miami Marlins, winning 10–3. More than 160 tickets were sold to employees, who brought their family and friends to enjoy perfect weather and a night of baseball and camaraderie.

The group witnessed history when first baseman Pete Alonso hit his 51st home run to bring him closer to the rookie home run title. Jacob deGrom also pitched his last game of the season that night, and because of his strikeouts and earned run average, he is now eligible for a second Cy Young Award

Johnny Thunderbird was warmly welcomed by the crowd—he had a long line of greeters waiting to take a selfie! St. John's T-shirts, provided courtesy of University sponsor Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., were tossed in the stands to lucky St. John's employees. It was certainly a memorable evening for all who attended; the Office of Human Resources looks forward to hosting more employee events.

Click here to see the photo gallery. 

St. John's University held an Employee Night at Citi Field to watch the NY Mets take on the Cincinnati Reds on May 1. More than 243 tickets were sold to employees, who brought their family and friends. The weather was not ideal, but attendees enjoyed the game and the camaraderie. Some opted to stay dry in the Foxwoods Club, where they had an excellent view of the game. 

With a steady rain falling, Johnny Thunderbird worked very hard to lift our spirits! St. John's employees were outfitted in red St. John's T-shirts provided courtesy of our sponsor, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. One of our lucky guests, Joseph Pascullo, participated in the Mets trivia game on the field and won $125 in Mets money. It was a fun evening; the Office of Human Resources looks forward to hosting more employee events this year.

Click here to see the photo gallery.

Employees were in for a real treat in October, as a series of appreciation events were held across the Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan campuses. Courtesy of the Office of Human Resources and sponsored by Municipal Credit Union, the events were a way to thank employees for their hard work and commitment to students. In Queens on October 11th, the ice cream truck made several stops on campus. Employees in Staten Island were treated to ice cream on October 16th and in Manhattan, a popcorn party was held in the lobby of Astor Place on October 22nd. An estimated 1225 ice cream cones and dozens of bags of popcorn were served during these events. If you missed the SCOOP, make sure to see us next time we POP over to say "Thanks!"