Launched in 1937, Queens College was established to serve the growing population needs of Queens. With the influx of immigrants, the borough needed a location university to provide higher educational opportunities. Queens College has been part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system since 1961, allowing Queens College to take advantage of the city’s of financial, academic, and cultural resources. In 1968 the school became a member of Sigma Xi, the national science honor society. Furthermore, Queens College is included as an approved college for membership in the American Association of University Women.
Its low-cost but high-quality education has earned QC the popular title, the “jewel of the CUNY system.” In recent years, Queens College has made several additions to its 77-acre campus, including a new science building and library. The school currently offers an award-winning education to almost 20,000 students in the New York area.
An urban commuter school, Queens College isn’t necessarily picturesque. Sure, the 77 acre campus houses a number of historic buildings, such as the Spanish style Jefferson hall that was built in 1900. But Queens College doesn’t exactly warrant a mention in Architectural Digest; the buildings and layout are a bit bland. Nonetheless, the administration is dedicated to providing students with that “home-away-from-home” feel. As Corey Tischbein ’10 reports, there are a number of places on campus to socialize and get that college experience:
“Added in late 2007, the new campus game room features pool tables, couches, an Xbox 360 video game system, several TVs, and convenient access to all sorts of food and drink because of its proximity to the dining hall. Many clubs have recently begun using the game room for their meetings, finding it effective in drawing a solid attendance. At any given hour of the day, hordes of students can be seen socializing in the game room, filling it with laughter and making it one of the school’s most-appreciated investments in years. The Queens College Hillel, which is located on the second floor of the Student Union, is a frequented hangout spot, especially for Jewish students. It, like the game room, consists of couches and TVs. What makes the Hillel different, besides its religious nature, is the bevy of Israeli and Ethiopian speakers and entertainers who attend its events, making it like no other place on campus.
Though not as popular as the game room, the basement of the Student Union has an entrance area consisting of several pool tables, couches, and cushioned chairs. Surrounding this hangout spot are all the rooms of the school’s clubs and the campus’s only copy center, both of which provide a constant influx of students to the area. Ice cream and drinks are also available in the basement, adding to students’ reluctance to leave and go to class. The first floor of the Student Union also hosts a somewhat closed-off area with couches and pool tables, serving as another popular venue for students. Like the basement, its nearness to food and drink add to the appeal.
The campus’s 77-acre, tree-lined quad is also a hotspot for student gatherings and events. Whether it’s Club Day, a War on Hate event, student government debates, or a soccer game, the quad is always drawing impressive student crowds. Aside from its gorgeous visual appeal, the quad is a great place to relax and its northern-most point offers students a stunning glance into Manhattan.”
The Queens College campus is located in the neighborhood of Flushing; the surrounding area boasts a multitude of ethnically-diverse restaurants, delis, ice cream shops, pool halls, and internet cafes. Several local bus lines also make stops at the campus, providing convenient travel to Manhattan.
Gino’s Pizzeria, which is directly across the street from QC’s main entrance, is without a doubt, the most popular off-campus hangout spot. Lines for the pizzeria are always huge, with students sometimes waiting an hour for highly-praised, but expensive, pizza. The handball courts, which are also directly across the street from QC’s main entrance, are also popular for students, especially those looking for a quick workout after downing that pizza.
To many students’ dismay, Queens College no longer has an on-campus bar or pub. Students 21 and over, mainly those in fraternities and sororities, frequent the Leitrim Pub, located on Main Street, just a few blocks from campus. A Dunkin Donuts off the Horace Harding Expressway, adjacent to the Q88 bus stop, also serves as a hangout spot for students, particularly for those looking for a sugar or caffeine fix. The Palace Diner on Main Street draws a solid student crowd, offering all sorts of meals to those tired of take-out and fast food.“
Even though Queens College is a commuter school, the college tries to provide a dynamic on-campus spirit. And what better way to foster campus life than to instill a sense of community through age-old campus traditions.
Among the most popular unofficial campus traditions is fraternity and sorority rush week. There is always a strong student interest in and turnout to the festivities. Annually, the student government hosts the Dump for Dollars event, which allows students to place bets on where a cow will, well, take a dump. Usually taking place halfway through each spring semester, the student government debates remain one of the most well-preserved and important campus traditions. Though the same political party has won the presidential and senatorial elections for over 30 years, its opposition remains persistent.
Jerry Seinfeld (1976), possibly the messiah, comedian
Robert Bertolidi (1976 ), CFO of Amphion Innovations PLC and co-founder of VennWorks LLC
Jon Favreau (attended) – Hollywood actor, director, writer
Ray Romano (attended), actor, comedian
Donna Orender, (1978), WNBA President
Paul Simon, (1963) singer and songwriter
Queens College has stellar physical fitness facilities, with a gym, pool, track, and tennis courts available for students. The school offers a series of intramural opportunities, which includes but is not limited to, ping pong, basketball, tennis, and indoor football. Competing in Division II, the school has seven men’s teams (baseball, basketball, golf, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and water polo) and eight women’s squads (basketball, fencing, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and water polo). Despite these athletic opportunities, the Queens College Knights don’t necessarily garner a wide-amount of student enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, the majority of Queens College students are probably unaware of the school’s sports teams. There are teams for baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, water polo, and more, but turnout for their games is very low. The college’s tennis team is probably the most well known; it is officially ranked 40th in the nation in Division II. The team won all its Division III games in the fall 2007 semester and won the East Coast Conference for the sixth time in a row.
Good Charlotte recently held a concert on the QC campus.
Giving the 1994 commencement speech, Jerry Seinfeld joked that one of his greatest experiences at QC was finding a place to park on Kissena Boulevard.
Queens College is one of the highest points in the borough of Queens.
Currently Queens College does not host any dormitories on campus, but low-rise dorms are being developed and should be ready for occupancy by the fall of 2009.
To many students’ dismay, the on-campus dorms, which will house an estimated 450 to 550 students, are going to be constructed over the outdoor tennis courts, relocating the courts to an area on the campus farther away from the gymnasium. In building the dorms, the school’s aim is, according to a press release published in February 2007, to allow prospective Queens College students to live the “dorm experience,” to strengthen campus life, and to attract honors students, math students, and graduate science students.
Other CUNY schools, such as Hunter and City College, already have dorms in place and they report that their dorms help them attract honor students. According to the same press release from February 2007, a preliminary financial analysis suggests students who will reside in the dorms will pay anywhere from $900 to $1,400 each month. Because these dorms will not have their own residential dining room, students will have to use one of the two adjacent dining halls.
Students who fear the dorms are intended to increase the school’s current enrollment of more than 18,000 shouldn’t worry. They’ll only add 450 to 550 students, a mere 2 percent increase to the population. Despite the future addition of dorms to the campus, the administration insists there aren’t any plans to alter Queens College’s commuter-school nature. “Queens College will remain a commuter campus, committed to our mission of educating New Yorkers,” said President James Muyskens, in a press release.