Last year, Residence Life introduced the brand new Common-Interest Living Communities to accompany the popular Arches program. There are four different communities students can choose from: Nuestra Casa, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Issues & Sustainability and the minds behind last semester’s flash mob, Visual and Performing Arts Culture. Resident Assistants Carlos Perez and RJ Liberto expressed interest in the community early on.
“When I heard about the common interest community, in my interview I made it excessively clear that if I were to get the job again I would definitely be interested in the community,” Liberto said. “I was involved with Players for a few years, I’m a part of Scatterbomb and I run the Coffeehouse Open Mic night. I’ve always loved the performing arts and I really wanted to foster a community where that can really grow.”
With a community that has such a shared interest in the arts, there are many opportunities for the group to participate in. Having Perez and Liberto as RAs also proves to be convenient, since the two are very involved on campus with the popular performing arts groups.
“We try to do activities centered around the community. Currently we’re working with Dr. Pottinger, who is our faculty advisor, to get our residents involved with the new mural [underneath Founder’s Bridge],” Perez said. “But we mostly focused on trying to get the students involved with the visual and performing arts community on campus, so we talked up Coffeehouse, Players, Singers, Orchestra, etc. We were able to set them up with contacts since we know pretty much everyone involved with performing arts on campus.”
Since the program is brand new to Manhattan College, it’s a small group. But starting out, the two RAs love the size of the group so they can figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to programs to hold.
“It’s a smaller community, just starting out. We have ten students, eight of which are freshmen. We try to work with whatever they want to do and do events they’ll be interested in. Right now, we’re trying to organize a workshop for everyone,” Liberto said. “Last semester, the residents organized the flash mob and we helped them out by getting it going and executing it. But they did the choreography, they were really great about it.”
Manhattan College is lucky enough to have many clubs and groups for the students to join and show off their talents. It’s a great way to meet those with similar interests and the common-interest communities allow you to live with the people you make those connections with.
“Some of our residents performed in the Players’ Cabaret, some come perform at Coffeehouse. I feel like they chose those since we are their RAs it’s more comfortable knowing we run them. Getting involved at the school is probably one of the best things that’s happened to me, especially participating in clubs and meeting people who come to shows with similar interests,” Liberto said.
Although both RAs are graduating in just a few months, they are glad they got to participate in the inaugural year of the program and are excited to see it grow. Residents in the program have shown interest in staying within the community and eventually moving up to the RA position, themselves. But it all depends on how future classes respond to this new way of living.
“I feel like the community is underrated,” Perez said. “It was such a great idea to have a visual and performing arts community and I feel like when they start to bring it up to the new freshmen, it could gain more notoriety.”