Students tend to party in college, sometimes managing to shake entire buildings.
Although some may find this high-five worthy, neighbors might not share that sentiment, especially if they are surrounded by vomit and empty beer cans.
The battle between off-campus Manhattan College students and the people who live around them near the school is hardly new. But Ryan Quattromani decided it was time to do something about it.
He founded the Manhattan College Neighborhood Relations Committee to build exactly what its name suggests — better neighborhood relations between the community and Manhattan College students.
“It goes way back to 2015, and basically there was some bad press about the school in terms of student misconduct,” Quattromani said. “That sort of inspired me to develop a better relationship between the school and the neighborhood.”
Three years later, and with three days to spare before graduation, Quattromani and classmate Micaela Bishop were honored with citations from Councilman Andrew Cohen, thanking them for their service within the community.
The neighborhood relations committee at one point boasted a membership of more than 110 students, who would walk the streets and pick up trash, host luncheons with their non-student neighbors, and even partnered with the New York Police Department’s 50th Precinct.
Once, Quattromani noticed the lack of movie theaters in Riverdale, so his committee organized movie events and opened them to the public.
Yet, the committee’s involvement spans beyond social bonding programs and service.
“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work,” Quattromani said. “We work closely with the dean of students office. We review the code of conduct, and we really are involved on a technical level and look into what does the process for holding students accountable off campus look like.”
It’s important to respect and be engaged within your community, Quattromani advised. When he first came to Manhattan College, he knew he wanted to make an impact somehow, and this committee gave him that opportunity.
Cohen felt it was important to support Quattromani and Bishop, who he called the “next generation of leaders.”
Quattromani said he and Bishop did not do their work for recognition, yet earning that acknowledgement from Cohen was “really awesome.” The councilman is no stranger to the neighborhood committee since he, too, sensed the unhappiness in the off-campus neighborhood, particularly in the area around where West 238th Street and Waldo Avenue meet.
“We had a lot of work to do in the beginning, and I’ve seen fruition within the past three years,” Quattromani said. “We can live together and manage this relationship where everyone is happy. Neighbors are coming to the campus regularly, and our students are acting better.”
Nothing is perfect, he added, but progress has been made. Quattromani realized a lot of the issues came down to communication. He believes off-campus students and residents can harmoniously co-exist, although the road getting there is not easy.
Now that he has earned his degree, Quattromani hopes the positive momentum will keep going — especially since he’s not going anywhere. This fall, he’ll pursue his MBA at the O’Malley School of Business at Manhattan College, allowing him to stay on as an advisor to the committee.
“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Quattromani said. “There are students interested in this, and I’m excited to hear about this committee in the future.”