An Ultimate Frisbee team called The Books. Frequent waltz
parties. Sophistry competitions. Junior and senior skits.
An astronomy club. At St. John’s, extracurriculars emerge from
the uncontainable enthusiasm of students. Here, the same
spirit that animates the seminar table, the same democratic
ethos that allows students to converse with great authors, that
pronounces everyone capable of mathematics, applies to
activities outside of class: everyone can participate.
The student governing body, called the Student Polity,
manages a sizeable budget each year in support of student groups.
From larger undertakings such as student publications, theater
productions, and musical performances to smaller activities, the
Student Polity works to help students acquire the funding they need.
Many student groups arise as natural outgrowths of the
program: Students organizing RealityWeekend parties might plan
mock-Olympic games andprogram-related skits. Students inspired by
Renaissancemusic might formamadrigal choir; others, moved by
a Sophoclean play, might undertake a production of a Greek tragedy.
Students who want to apply their language tutorial skills
Marx in the original might start a German translation club. Such
groups are evidence of themultiple ways students find to encounter
the readings andmake thempart of their lives.
Other groups emerge from interests that students bring to
St. John’s—or decide to try for the first time. These include student-
initiated study groups, which extend the program’s already rich
offerings and enable students to discuss everything fromBorges
to symbolic logic to women’s issues.
Howcan I participate incommunity service activities?
Through a group called Project Politae on both campuses, students find ways to serve
their local communities. Projects have included tutoring public elementary and middle
school students on campus and on site, working on a sustainable farm, and maintaining
hiking trails. Other students have volunteered through Habitat for Humanity, helped
in soup kitchens, and worked with blood drives. Still others have volunteered at hospitals,
hospices, and homeless shelters. In recent years, St. John’s students have received
Projects for Peace grants from the Davis Foundation to host a leadership conference for
students from around the world, to work with youth from disadvantaged backgrounds,
and to bring medical aid and sanitation facilities to rural Nepal.