Community Outreach

The St. John’s University Writing Center takes pride in its relationships with area high schools, colleges, and community groups who have an interest in collaborating on writing projects.


Accepted Students Day in South Florida! 

The Writing Center staff met with accepted students and their families in South Florida to welcome them to the SJU community. Welcome, class of 2022! 


Director Tom Philipose and St. John’s alumna Rebecca Beliard

We’re always grateful when former Writing Center clients tell us that we played even a small part in helping them achieve their career goals. Alumna Rebecca Beliard used the Writing Center for her law school personal statement and is now a corporate lawyer. 



Connecting with the St. John’s Community…

We had the chance to connect with STEM Peer Mentors of St. John’s during our joint meeting at the Writing Center. We invited them to come in for the sharing of ideas, mentoring- practices, and most importantly to learn from and support each other! 




A visit from Hyde High School!

Our consultants mentored students from Hyde High School by working on college application essays, answering questions about being college students, and introducing them to St. John’s through informative tours.

Writing consultants aimed to help the high school students realize that college is an attainable goal. 








St. John’s meets City College!

The St. John’s University Writing Center visit to meet with CCNY WC staff. Many thanks to CCNY WC Director Svetlana Bochman and her staff for hosting us! 



MSKCC Kids Walk for Cancer in Central Park

May, 2016

Members of the SJU WC community showed their support by walking and fundraising in efforts to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.



Global Open Mic Night

April 22, 2016

The Writing Center, with a little help from its friends and Martha’s Bakery, put on its first ever Global Open Mic. And it was a success! The couches and chairs in the back of the writing center were rearranged to create a cozier space, complete with an Aztec rug for those who prefer the floor (and there were a few!).  We were so pleasantly surprised with the turnout! Between 30-40 students filled up the space and around fifteen brave souls graced the active audience with words in French, English, and Patois to tell stories about cultural experiences and, most amusingly, parenting styles. It was a cool time of munching on delicious pastries, sipping on coffee, and learning about our peers through the creative expression of their choice.

As a quick background, our mission in hosting this event was to give people the chance to share about their home and experiences in their language or any expression true to their culture. We wanted to acknowledge in a tangible way the amazing diversity representative of the St. John’s community. With so many students from all over the globe, we believe it’s important to combat the pressure to conform to a new place and new language with celebrating and recognizing how important home and culture are.











Turn Off the Violence Week 2016


The IWS and SJU Writing Center are working with the St. John’s community in response to sexual violence. Be part of this week of awareness, empowerment, and action!



Helping a colleague in Norway create her university’s first Writing Center:



“I want to thank you for your warm reception when I visited your writing center a couple of weeks ago. Also, many thanks to the writing consultants who shared their ideas so generously with me. It was a truly inspiring, even mind-changing experience, and I think it is safe to say that many of your ideas will be taken on board when we develop our model here in Oslo.”
-Dr. Ingerid Straume
PhD, Philosophy of Education; Teacher of Academic Writing (and possible future Writing Center Director), University of Oslo



The Writing Center’s Partnership with the Counseling Center 

We invited directors and staff of the Counseling Center to meet with our writing consultants to discuss how we work with clients and colleagues dealing with trauma and distress. We established a close connection when the Counseling Center realized the WC is a hotbed of activity on this front. Clients and consultants may be writing about things they’ve never shared before, we may be triggered by certain stories, or the stress resulting from any of these experiences may bubble over at any moment. The Counseling Center even went as far as to open a temporary satellite center in our space since the Writing Center environment was presenting so many opportunities ripe for providing support. The WC keeps open lines of communication with the Counseling Center for any member of the St. John’s University community who may not be aware of the free services available to them at any time.



Reading Program Seeks to Help Veterans with Transition to Civilian Life

February-March, 2015


St. John’s University Writing Center hosts the Serving: Standing Down program for veterans and their families thanks to a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.


The St. John’s University Writing Center is the home to many projects such as the First Year Writing Journal




All Day Retreat with Hyde Charter School

Fall, 2015

The SJU Writing Center hosted a group of 80 students and administrators from Hyde Charter School of the Bronx in order to provide and model mentoring to help current students with their writing and lay groundwork for Hyde’s own future mentoring program. The event also served to give Hyde students their first glimpse of a college campus; SJU Writing Consultants led tours of campus, answered questions about applying to college and college life in general, and served as mentors/points-of-contact to foster the relationship between SJU and Hyde.

Consultants helped students work on their writing and introduced them to the idea of a Writing Center while encouraging them to start their own.







Photos courtesy of Hyde Charter School.


St. John’s Preparatory High School in Queens

Our Writing Center consultants have been working for several years with teachers and students at St. John’s Prep on developing their own writing center. We’re proud to report that the SJP writing center is thriving and their staff has presented its work at national conferences alongside the SJU Writing Center. Each year, we continue to host their prospective staff to lead them in training and modeling our methods of peer consultation.


St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen and Community Center in Brooklyn

Writing Consultants led writing/literacy workshops for Bread and Life guests. In most cases, these workshops centered on fostering an outlet for the guests’ voices, which often go unnoticed. We hope this type of writing—along with our other practical employment-related writing exercises—empowered the guests to move forward in their lives and deal with their hardships and hurdles. Among many other projects, we uploaded guests’ writing and art projects online and sponsored readings on campus and at Bread and Life.







Photos from Bread and Life Event at the St. John’s University Writing Center.



The High School for Community Leadership

For several years First-Year Writing faculty have been meeting with high school faculty at the nearby High School for Community Leadership, visiting students from the high school on a semi-weekly basis, as well as holding sessions with those students on our campus. The goal is to introduce students to a college-level writing environment, introducing them to the variety of writing projects and they might encounter in college.
The SJU Writing Center has also begun working with HSCL administrators and students in order to mentor and lead HSCL in development of their own self-sustained peer-mentoring/writing program.



Central Park Race for the Cure

Breast Cancer Awareness 5k Run

Writing Center staff Matt Zazzarino, Kevin McDonnell, Bailey Robertson, and Tom Philipose ran in Central Park, NY for Breast Cancer Awareness.


Photo Credit: Tom Philipose


Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes

 St. John’s University 

We established a planning and time-management system for all student-athletes to utilize the Writing Center’s services in their coursework. The University Writing Center mentors Academic Support Services staff in most effective teaching/tutoring methods and pedagogy, and our staffs collaborate to learn with each other.  We facilitate between faculty, coaches, advisors, recruiters, writing center staff, and student-athletes to best serve diverse student-athlete population (including international/multi-lingual student-athletes and those with learning disabilities).  

University Learning Commons, St. John’s University                    

The University Writing Center works with the University Learning Commons Director, holds joint meetings with UWC and ULC consultants, and facilitated shadowing of our experienced staff by their new staff. We also helped streamline their online scheduling system to fold in the ULC’s needs and bring them online for the first time. 


Christo Rey High School in Brooklyn

UWC Directors have met with Christo Rey and SJU administrators to program mentoring partnerships geared towards helping seniors working on their personal statements for college applications. This first-step of our collaboration is leading towards helping Christo Rey develop and create its first-ever on-site writing center.


Student Veterans Association

The SJU Writing Center directors have met with administrators and student veterans in order to develop and maintain a writing-support group for the SVA. We plan to provide academic mentoring along with a creative/emotional/personal writing outlet for SVA members.


Brooklyn High School for Law and Technology

The SJU Writing center hosted a group of teachers, students, and administrators to offer peer mentoring for Brooklyn HS students in their college applications. We hope to continue this work and to help Brooklyn HS develop their own mentoring program and to further help their college applicants.


St. John the Baptist High School, Long Island, NY                                

We worked with St. John the Baptist’s teachers, students, and administrators to help them create a self-sustained and student-staffed writing center in their West Islip, NY school. Their Honors-English teacher (a former SJU student who became their Writing Center Director) came to us when she realized their school was vastly lacking in writing resources for the entire student body. We hosted and mentored her students on our campus and then followed up with a training/mentoring visit at SJB. Their Writing Center proudly launched in September 2009 and became very popular.

Nazareth High School in Brooklyn

Writing Center staff worked with faculty and students from Nazareth Regional High School in Brooklyn to launch a student-staffed high school writing center on the premises of the East Flatbush school. Involvement included one-to-one and group training both on the St. John’s Queens campus and at the high school facility. Our Writing Center consultants worked with high school students to understand the principals of peer tutoring.


Law Enforcement and Public Safety (LEAPS) High School in Queens

Writing Consultants hosted students, teachers, and administrators from LEAPS for collaborative workshops geared towards mentoring these high school seniors in their college application process. The workshops are also planned to expose the seniors to writing center work and mentoring so the LEAPS students can start their own program for AP and honors students to mentor underclassmen and other students in their school. The program started when a St. John’s Writing Consultant, and LEAPS alumnus, contacted his former high school teacher to see if we could lend our services. The teacher, also an assistant principal, jumped at the idea since she found many of her students don’t apply to college because they are daunted by the process.



Frank Sinatra High School for the Performing Arts in Queens

Our Writing Center initiated meetings with administrators and teachers at FSHS in order to plan a ‘writing program/major’ to mirror the school’s other arts programs. FSHS administrators observed St. John’s writing workshops and also hope to create their own self-sustained writing center in the future.


The Mary Louis Academy in Queens

Writing Center directors hosted meetings with administrators and teachers from TMLA in order to start a dialogue on improving writing pedagogy and programs across the curriculum. We also plan to work with TMLA to tweak their already existing tutoring program into a more extensive mentoring program.

Henry Street Settlement in Manhattan

Students from a Learning Community that involved Discover New York and Eng1000C participated in a partnership with high school seniors enrolled in the “Expanded Horizons” college preparation program at the Henry Street Settlement, a not-for-profit community organization located on Manhattan’s lower east side. Together with tutors from the Staten Island Writing Center, students from both organizations worked collaboratively on the college application essay and personal narrative, the transition to college, and various issues relating to technology. We established a social networking website where students could communicate with one another, arrange events and topics, and collaborate on their work and progress. This partnership emerged from the provost’s Learning Communities initiative, expanded to include elements of Academic Service-Learning, and drew on the resources and creative pedagogies of both Discover New York and First Year Writing.