St. John’s College students pursue life outside the classroom with the same passion and intensity that they bring to their studies. They come from around the world and bring a wide array of talents and perspectives. They are inventive, serious, funny, and lively. They make sure their voices are heard: they publish their opinions in a student-run newspaper, take to the stage in theater, and sing in choral groups. Students dance, play sports, and are leaders in the local community; they launch clubs and forums. They support each other with respect and friendship. The St. John’s community takes pride in its students: they are extraordinary.
In town, students enjoy concerts, plays, historic tours, art galleries, government internships and political work—both campuses are located in state capitals. The Annapolis campus is located in the heart of the historic district, near the U.S. Naval Academy. Washington D.C., Baltimore, and New York are a bus or train ride away. Santa Fe is not only an internationally acclaimed cultural and artistic hub, it is the gateway to the Southern Rockies and endless outdoor activities.
St. John's students are leaders. If there's an activity that doesn't yet exist at the college, students launch their own; they find a group of other interested students, start clubs and in some cases get funding from the student governing councils. Students have started an environmental club, a film club, a photography club, Political Forum, Manga Club, Ultimate Frisbee, and more. Some students become voting members of Polity in Santa Fe or the Delegate Council in Annapolis and debate the merits of student club funding proposals; they also use this forum to have their voices heard in campus community discussions.
St. John's College has a vibrant performing arts scene. Each campus stages several plays a year, from classical to modern. Recent productions include: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Titus Andronicus, The Eumenides, The Man of La Mancha, and Tartuffe. Students take the initiative to direct, act, and manage the productions, and sometimes even write the plays, as faculty and artists-in-residence offer a rich exchange of ideas.
Students on both campuses take community classes in fine art, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, and writing. St. John's also has facilities for students to practice the fine arts, including darkrooms and pottery studios, and a woodshop in Annapolis. Both Santa Fe and Annapolis are rich artistic communities; in Santa Fe there are numerous music venues, including the Lensic Performing Arts Center and the Santa Fe Opera, and the world famous galleries on Canyon Road. In Annapolis, there are dozens of galleries, a national music scene, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, and easy access to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
St. John's students like to stay active and healthy and there are many ways for students to have fun and exercise. The intramural sports teams on both campuses are open to students of all skills and abilities, and many are coed. The spirit of cooperation and respect is as lively as the competitive zeal. Students play soccer, basketball, tennis, handball, volleyball, boxing, and more. Some students come to the college with experience in athletics, but many others come with no experience and are happy to discover a love for sports in the college's welcoming athletic community. In addition to intramural sports, the gymnasiums on both campuses are fully outfitted with basketball courts, weight rooms, workout machines, and yoga studios. There is an indoor running track in Annapolis, and squash and racquetball courts in Santa Fe. Intercollegiate sports include fencing, sailing, crew and croquet in Annapolis.
In Santa Fe, students take advantage of their gorgeous high-desert surroundings. New Mexico is filled with national parks and monuments, whether Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands down south, or Bandelier and Pecos near Santa Fe. Additionally, more than 20 percent of New Mexico is forestland, encompassing beautiful mountain ranges with incredible hiking and camping. In fact, students can walk out their dorm rooms and climb Atalaya peak; the view of the College and Santa Fe at the top of the town's 9100-foot mountain is breathtaking! The outdoor program in Santa Fe offers regular hiking, skiing, camping, rafting, and rock climbing, trips. Spring breaks allow for more extended trips throughout the Southwest. And students who are eager to learn advanced outdoor skills can participate in the College's outdoor leadership training program, or join the Atalaya Search and Rescue team to learn life-saving outdoor skills.
It's said that the St. John's College vs. U.S. Naval Academy Croquet Match is the largest croquet event in the world. Legend has it that the tradition began when a Naval officer lightly challenged a St. John's student to name a sport in which the college could beat Navy. "How about croquet?" the clever Johnnie responded. The annual rite of spring draws some 3,000 spectators from around the country, including St. John's and Navy alumni, in an outpouring of spring fever in a Jazz-age lawn party on the Annapolis campus. Though it takes place out East, many students and alumni from St. John's, Santa Fe make the trek. Spectators sport Gatsbyesque attire, picnickers bring lavish spreads—even crystal and silver, and the players bring their best game; the Naval Academy's Trident Brass Band and a local DJ provide the music. After the match is decided, players parade the coveted Annapolis Cup and students head to the Great Hall for a nostalgic dance party featuring live music.
St. John's has a wonderful tradition of dance parties- from waltz to swing to hiphop. There are formal dances where students dress up and dance to waltz and swing music under the dim lights of the chandelier in Annapolis and the gorgeous sunsets that light up the mountains in Santa Fe. There also are plenty of informal parties where people come together to relax, socialize, and dance.
At St. John's students not only read and discuss the idea of citizenship, they practice it. Students volunteer in the Annapolis and Santa Fe communities, tutoring or mentoring local children, working in homeless shelters, in nursing homes, with animals, and on many other community service projects. In addition, Project Politae, on both campuses, is the St. John's student-run volunteering club. It organizes numerous trips each semester to get groups of students out and involved in the community.