New Residence Life Director Matthew Lewis Steps Up to the Plate

By, Brooke DellaRocco, Staff Writer

Matthew Lewis has been hired as the new Residence Life Director at Manhattan College. He comes to the college ready to join the MC community after 13 years of experience in various residence life positions. 

After Charles Clency stepped down from the position and became the Director of Residence Life at Fordham University in 2021, AJ Goodman was the first choice to overtake the department while still upholding his previous role as Associate Dean of Students. Lewis now makes his way into the MC community hoping to make a difference after the college’s semester-long search for the perfect candidate.

“When working at Hampshire College, I was responsible for creating a new department that focused on the intersections of social identity, public safety, healthy relationships and wellbeing in order to promote a more socially just and equitable society,” Lewis wrote in an email to The Quadrangle. “I really hope to bring the skills and knowledge I gained from working in that area and with those incredibly talented staff and students to my role here.”

Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, associate vice president for student life and dean of students, sent out an email on Feb. 3 welcoming Lewis to the MC community. 

“As Director of Residence Life, Matt Lewis will be responsible for the educational leadership, policy formation, new housing software implementation, and direction of our student residential life program,” Abreu-Hornbostel wrote. “He will guide our students through a comprehensive undergraduate student life curriculum that fosters belonging, student development, and agency. He will serve as a liaison to facilities, IT, and dining programs as well as guide many of our place-making efforts.”

One of Lewis’ main goals is to promote the college’s overall environment, not just that of the residential students. Lewis mentioned speaking with Marilyn Carter in Commuter Services in hopes to integrate commuter students’ wellbeing across campus. 

“I’ve already had meetings with other departments across the college to see how we can make resources available for a wide variety of students and hope to continue that progress moving forward,” Lewis wrote.

Part of creating this positive community that Lewis mentions is to strengthen the relationship between the students and the Residence Life office. 

“I hope that students feel like they can come to me in order to help resolve whatever issues they may be experiencing,” Lewis wrote. “I hope they see me and the department as an advocate for them and as a resource they can rely on to make their experience as positive as possible.”

With a new perspective in the office and new goals on the horizon, MC is able to see the momentum spread across the entire department of Residence Life. Residence Life’s next steps are focused around updating their procedures and hiring new RA’s for the Fall 2023 semester.

Tyler McLoughlin, area coordinator for Overlook Manor, spoke about some of the procedures Residence Life is hoping to update in the future. 

“Our office is currently working to update our information in the Manhattan College Catalog, which includes the mission, vision, and learning objectives,” McLoughlin said. “This will be important in shaping the type of experience we strive to offer for residential students and training our RAs. We just finished our group process and had almost 100 candidates participate. This is a large initiative that our office has every year. Next, we will move on to individual interviews. I am excited to continue to engage with them.”

Students have a positive outlook on Lewis’ presence on campus. One student, who requested to remain anonymous, lives in Jasper Hall and commented on her poor living conditions. She hopes that going forward, Residence Life will make improvements regarding dorm cleanliness and improved hygiene for the buildings and will listen to student’s complaints surrounding their living conditions.