by Gabriella DePinho
On Sunday, Nov. 5, nearly 100 Manhattan College students took part in a community cleanup organized by the Neighborhood Relations Committee.
Ninety-six students and MC community members from Student Government, Air Force ROTC Detachment 506 and athletes rallied by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee took to the streets surrounding the campus early Sunday morning to pick up trash and waste.
The cleanup focused on moving in three distinct directions. One area tackled was by the campus’ main gate which included cleaning on the street, by the guard booth and in the small green area across the street. Another area included covering the streets to, by and past Overlook Manor all the way to Riverdale Avenue. The third area was south campus, by and around Leo Engineering building, the Research Learning Center and 236th Street.
The cleanup was spearheaded by senior Ryan Quattromani, a student government member who founded the Neighborhood Relations Committee just two years ago.
The committee was founded as a way for students to take action as positive contributors to the MC and local communities after some incidents occurred off campus that negatively affected how the student body was viewed by Riverdale residents.
“This committee is very much focused on actionable items and efforts to showcase our great relationship with the community and not really address student misconduct but putting in place preventative measures for students,” said Quattromani.
Student Body President Micaela Bishop has seen the committee grow from creation during her early years in student government but acknowledges there is still work to be done.
“After realizing there was a major concern regarding our neighborhood, I was lucky enough to see it grow and see so many students taking an interest, but it has even more room to grow,” Bishop said.
Recently, MC has faced some negative press from local news sources that shared stories of local residents who have had issues with the students on campus.
However, this cleanup was not a response to these stories. Quattromani identified and stressed that this event was part of the regularly scheduled programming that the committee does and that the date they chose for the cleanup was selected before the negative press.
Dan Vekhter, a Riverdale local who lives near Overlook Manor, commented on the topic.
“They’re students who are having fun, doing things I did in college, dressing up for Halloween,” said Vekhter. “But I’ve never had an issue with the students I’ve seen around.”
The cleanup efforts did not go unnoticed by locals. H’bib, an employee at Gourmet Deli, shared that he sees students cleaning up and helping the locals regularly.
“[MC students are] always the best, so nice, so respectful,” H’bib shared. “The way they go around, they teach us how to live life. They make us feel human, and you don’t find that anywhere else in the city.”
The cleanup is just one initiative by the Neighborhood Relations Committee. The same committee supports the kNOw more, an educational and informative campaign that addresses serious issues every month.
The annual luncheon, too, in which local residents are invited to meet and talk to MC students and administrators.
However, the committee hopes to expand its initiatives.
“We’re always looking for people and new ideas and new strategies and recommendations,” Quattromani said.
The committee considers the Nov. 5 cleanup to be one of the most successful cleanups they have had in its three years of existence, and hopes that the cleanup they have planned for April 22, 2018 will be just as successful.