Clubs + Activities
Most campus organizations and activities are created and led by students, who advocate for funding from the student-run Polity Council. Consequently, offerings fluctuate from year-to-year but every year is varied and abundant. Typically included are The Moon (student newspaper), The Grout (literary magazine), Chrysostomos (theater club), the Mock Trial team (which competes at an intercollegiate level), the Small Chorus, the Ski Club, the Archery Club, the International Club, and more.
The visual and performing arts have always been a core part of the Santa Fe campus’s identity and of the renowned arts town in which we reside. While student-run clubs can change annually, students can almost always expect to find the theater club Chrysostomos, which puts on full productions in the Great Hall every semester and often on the outdoor Placitas; the Small Chorus and the Freshman Chorus, which perform every semester at Collegium and at citywide events and venues; the Pottery Club, which operates out of our own pottery studio under the direction of head potter Saddiq Khan; and a number of visual arts clubs and programs such as figure drawing, painting, the visual arts study group, and the new Saturday art stroll in studios and galleries across Santa Fe. Additional recent arts-related clubs have included Swing Dance, Ballroom & Blues, Ballet, and Woodworking.
Several on-campus facilities host the visual and performing arts initiatives of our students, including the student-run Peterson Art Gallery, where art exhibits draw visitors from St. John’s and the broader Santa Fe community; the Great Hall and Placita, which host full-scale productions of dance and theater works from Shakespeare to Sarah Ruhl; the Coffee Shop and Cave, which are the backdrops for student open mic nights, poetry readings, and band performances; the Fine Arts Building with its rehearsal rooms, pianos, and more; and the pottery studio.
As a college that is devoted to literature and ideas, we naturally have a number of extracurricular literary opportunities for students to explore. The Moon is our college news magazine and The Grout is our college literary magazine. Recent study groups have included Ubuhle Africana Study Group, Great Works by Women Writers Study Group, New Testament Bible Study Group, LGBTQIA Works Study Group, and the Visual Arts Study Group.
In addition, our Friday Night Dean’s Lecture, Worrell Series on Literature, and Rohrback Series bring some of the greatest literary thinkers, authors, and performers to campus on a regular basis. Recent guests have included New York Times journalist David Brooks, National Book Award Finalist and alum Salvatore Scibona, and best-selling author and alum Natalie Goldberg.
Your St. John’s education will introduce you to the significant political ideas and movements that have formed the modern Western world, and to a myriad of governing structures and principles. Your extracurricular life at St. John’s will allow you to test these ideas in the real world of campus life. By joining the college’s governing student bodies and political clubs, you will discover for yourself what works and what doesn’t, while helping to shape your own future, your fellow Johnnies’ experiences on campus, and the college’s trajectory.
Opportunities include serving on the Student Polity Council, the Student Committee on Instruction, the Johnnie Community Board, and—if selected—as a student representative to the college’s Board of Visitors and Governors, which meets three times annually in Santa Fe and Annapolis. If that’s not enough, you can start new clubs or join existing ones, like Amnesty International, the Sustainability Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the Voter Registration Club.
In addition, the college’s Friday Night Dean’s Lecture and Worrell Series on Literature bring esteemed guests to campus who often include political thinkers and luminaries from across the political spectrum. Recent guests have included liberal Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, conservative United States Attorney General Michael Mukasy, and the centrist New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Believe it or not, some of the most “Futurist” students around attend St. John’s out of keen insight; they know that understanding humanity’s past gives them an edge on predicting our future. They also recognize that the deep analytical skills developed in seminar provide a rare ability to go deep into any topic, to listen intently and for long periods of time, to question other’s and one’s own assumptions and conclusions, and to skeptically avoid the logical fallacies that most fall prey to. They also understand that these skills are especially needed in the 21st century, when amoral machines are predicted to outthink the workforce and humans are more vulnerable than ever to false information and misleading rhetoric.
Students who understand these realities are often at the forefront of the college’s technology, consulting and business clubs, and often partner with our visionary Office of Personal and Professional Development to develop and offer business events, career development workshops, and professional networking opportunities to the broader St. John’s community. These students join the growing ranks of Johnnie alumni who bring outsider thinking and ethical probity to the growing biotech and artificial intelligence industries in Silicon Valley, to financial firms and hedge funds, and to strategy and consulting firms across the world.
If you’re obsessed with both the past and the future, know that the two are inextricably linked, and believe that deep, ethical thinking has a place in industry, you have a home at St. John’s College.
Johnnies have a long tradition of engaging in service to others. Two of the college’s most vibrant service-oriented clubs are Habitat for Humanity and the longstanding Atalaya Search and Rescue Team, which was started at St. John’s in the 1970s and is one of just two accredited rescue teams in New Mexico. Our current ASAR Team passed its reaccreditation process in 2017 with a gold standard accreditation in all five categories: high angle (cliff) rescue, avalanche rescue, wilderness rescue, scree (steep slope) evacuation, and snow evacuation. Membership in both of these clubs can be life-changing.
In addition, students at St. John’s often volunteer at local nonprofits by joining the student-run Project Politae, which organizes service projects on and off the St. John’s campus. Because Santa Fe is home to many nonprofit and service organizations that are always in need of volunteers, finding placement is generally easy. Below is a list of some community organizations, with links to their websites.
Literacy, Tutoring, Mentoring
Working with Animals
Please note that this information has been compiled to assist members of our community locate potential volunteer opportunities. St. John’s College has not screened these organizations, and the inclusion of an organization in this list does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the college.
The Student Activity Center and the Outdoor Program together create a campus culture where all kinds of physical activity are embraced.
Some Johnnies love quiet, meditative sports like yoga, archery, tai chi, aikido, and karate. Others prefer the competitive thrill of our intramural program, where soccer and volleyball currently reign supreme. Many come for our outdoor adventure, counting the days until Saturday, when the vans head off for the ski basin, the Rio Grande river gorge, the cliffs, and the mountain trails. And still others enjoy solo and doubles sports like weight lifting, table tennis, and racquetball—all of which can be enjoyed in the Student Activity Center.
Whatever your preference, our campus offers a diverse range of athletic and fitness experiences that address body, mind, and spirit—including ongoing group classes like Iron Bookworm and Warrior Women. We hope you’ll join us!
Our campus has one of the largest percentages of international students of any liberal arts college in America, and the Princeton Review ranks us #4 for student-reported positive race and class interactions. While our Program and cultural ethos focus first and foremost on our shared humanity, we also celebrate that our student population is diverse and actively exchanging ideas and cultural traditions, exemplifying the very best of our 21st-century world and of the open-minded intellectual discourse that the college develops in Johnnies.
This reality comes to life in a variety of ways, from clubs like the International Student Club, LGBTQIA+ Club, and Amnesty International, to study groups that examine cultural traditions and ideas that may fall outside of the traditional Program. Such study groups include deep exploration of different faith traditions, of international voices, and of minority and women writers. In addition, students and tutors often discover exciting new works outside of the Program list to explore together in preceptorials, which happen in the junior and senior years. These works help to further the cross-cultural dialogues that are already vibrant and alive on campus.
In addition, our one-year Eastern Classics master’s degree program allows students to go even deeper into works outside of the Western classical canon. This one-year intensive examines the great historical works of Eastern civilization—including texts from China, India, and Japan as well as language tutorials in Sanskrit and Chinese—and examines the works and authors of the East, including Confucius, Lao Tzu, Kalidasa, Dogen, The Bhagavadgita, The Upanishads, and the Tale of the Heike.
St. John’s College has no religious affiliation, but we are a community that welcomes and includes students of all religious and spiritual backgrounds. We pride ourselves on being a home for thoughtful students with the common desire to explore the deep questions of human life, and we recognize that religious and spiritual life are an integral part of that exploration.
Outside of the classroom, some of our many student organizations and student-led study groups have included the Christian Prayer Group, Shammai, the Eastern Classics Study Group, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, the Qur'an Discussion Group, the Buddhist Exploration group, the Men’s and Women’s Christian Fellowships, and the C. S. Lewis Study Group.
In the classroom, all students study important religious texts and writers, including the Bible, Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, and more. Elective preceptorial classes during junior and senior year often include texts from Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious traditions. In the Graduate Institute, one of the four semester-long segments focuses exclusively on philosophy and theology. And on the Santa Fe campus, graduates can enroll in the Eastern Classics program, which is a year-long master’s degree program focusing on the great texts, philosophies, and languages of China, India, and Japan.
At St. John’s, our students relish the opportunity to discuss diverse texts and ideas with classmates from different perspectives and faiths.