Features

Adding a “Last Stop” to Campus: New Club Fosters Community Among Students

by Nicole Fitzsimmons, Asst. News/Features Editor 

The last stop is more than just the end of the one train: it’s now a community for students to call home. 

The Last Stop is a new club on campus where students across all majors can share what they’re passionate about and meet other like-minded individuals. The club will serve as an outlet for students to ask questions about their area of study and will be a place to get to know students from varying majors. The Last Stop aims to create a supportive, fun environment for people to learn about themselves as well as others. 

Sophomore marketing majors Giavanna Walsh and Cait Ficarra came up with the idea of creating an easygoing place for students to engage in their own passions, as well as learn about the passions of other students during quarantine at the onset of COVID-19. In a time that is so unpredictable and chaotic, the Last Stop Club offers a place for students to begin to understand themselves, while also being able to learn and experience things that they might have not done otherwise.

“Our inspiration for the club happened during quarantine, when we both realized that there’s a lot in our lives that is missing, and we knew that it was going to continue once we are in the semester,” Walsh said. “So, we want to provide an outlet for students to help them find their passion and really express themselves because we are a small campus, but there’s such a big city that’s right at the tip of our nose. So we kind of wanted to, you know, expand their knowledge about the city, expand their knowledge about campus, and also most importantly, themselves.”

Being a part of other clubs on campus, like the Public Relations Student Society of America, inspired Walsh and Ficarra to establish a club that would encourage and help students in more than one facet. This distinction showcases the uniqueness and personalized experience the Last Stop Club has to offer. The commitment and admiration they have for other different clubs on campus also plays an important part in the way they plan to establish their club in terms of creating a friendly and welcoming environment.

“There are plenty of clubs on our campus, and that’s something that I think everybody can be really thankful for,” Ficarra said. “But, it’s almost as if each club kind of focuses on one particular thing, but we want our club to be an opportunity for endless, endless things. So, people can do, literally whatever they want, if they have an idea, they can bring it to the table. And, we just want it to be like a stress free, fun environment for every student.”

Whether it be through planning trips to the city or meeting new people, the Last Stop Club hopes to incorporate the interests of members into the experiences planned. Being a student, having a social life, preparing for classes and understanding the processes of college life is difficult. What makes this even more difficult is dealing with this while being remote. Walsh and Ficarra plan for this to be a place for students to express themselves, and also have a place to go to when they need help with the demands of college life. For members of the club, this could be through help from other members, or fun activities that surround travelling to the city.

“We just want it to be like a really stress relieving club,” Ficarra said. “It’s okay, you don’t have to come to every single meeting. But, we’re just a club that’s offering every student a space where they’ll have friends. And, they’ll be able to share something that they found interesting or something that they’re passionate about, and then we’re going to do fun activities depending on like, any holidays or the season. It’s just like a club where we can have fun.”

Another major aspect of the Last Stop Club is the fact that it can introduce students from all areas of Manhattan. From science to business, students can come together and learn from each other in a less demanding environment than normal college life, both academically and socially.

“I think it’s so important that our campus has so many individual clubs, which I absolutely love, and, I think it would be nice to have our club which is kind of open hands and open mind to each one and kind of create a whole new mindset,” Walsh said. “Because, I’m a business major, I don’t know much about science. But, if I found out from someone something about that, or engineering, or education, then I feel like that would kind of bring a whole new mindset. And, especially, you know, the city being so huge, and there’s so many things around us, I feel like you can do a lot with that. I think it’s very important to have different backgrounds.”

On top of finding students within the same program, meeting people from all areas of the campus can be a beneficial aspect of the club, because it allows students to further find themselves in an academic and social sense.

“You’d meet students that you wouldn’t think you’d meet otherwise,” Ficarra said. “If you’re a freshman, and you don’t really know any juniors that study a major completely opposite of yours, maybe you’ll get the chance to branch out and meet them through the club.”

Sophomore marketing major Kristina Zagreda is one of the first members of the Last Stop Club—as it begins to become an established group on campus—and is excited to meet other new members and experience what the club is all about.

“I am extremely looking forward to meeting new people and finding out about their own interests and opinions to expand my knowledge,” Zagreda said. “I’m excited for all the possible city trips in the future and for being a part of the first group of Last Stop MC. This club will definitely be exciting and enjoyable.” 

The process of setting up a club remotely is already a difficult task. Walsh and Ficarra have been working to find virtual opportunities for members to express themselves and experience new things even if things do not go as planned next semester. One example are virtual Rockette performances that are currently taking place.

“For right now, our biggest goal is just finding everyone’s passion, and then kind of figuring out things to do with that in the city,” Walsh said.

Ficarra also hopes this club can be a place for students to bring their ideas and collaborate with each other. 

“We want to like, make sure that whatever our members are interested in, we can incorporate in activities,” Ficarra said. “They can share something that they found cool, or an activity that they want to try. And, we definitely want to incorporate their own ideas.” 

The last stop on the one train is our campus at Manhattan College. The Last Stop Club stays true to making this campus a place where all students can express themselves and potentially thrive. To join the club, QR codes can be found on their flyers to fill out a Google form. Whether it be virtual or in-person, the club is planning to unite students in many different ways.

“I think the easiest thing to say is that during this time, we know that our lives are kind of on pause right now,” Walsh said. “But, we want students to know that it doesn’t end here. Like, there’s so, so much potential to find yourself. Whether you’re in your house, or you’re in your dorm, there is potential, and we want to be there for you and kind of help you break through that. And, obviously, in a safe fashion. But we just want to make sure that Manhattan College knows that it’s not just remote class and going to bed. There’s so much that you can do and we want to keep that pace as much as we can.”