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Arches: A Storied Experience

This freshman-year living and learning community helps Manhattan students find their place in New York City.

Hear from our students about the community-engaged learning activities that deepened their connection to the Bronx.
  • Green Living

    female student designing sign and smiling at camera
    Caitlin Garvey '22

    In the fall, Arches students helped raise awareness and promote a community green fair held at Church of the Mediator, located in the Bronx. They partnered with leaders of the multicultural church to educate the wider community on ways of healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

    "Without dedicating our time to helping out in the community around us, we never would have had a true engagement in the community like this. I realized how just one person contributing in a community can help create change and care for the Earth. "

  • Ground Bio-Remediation

    female student performing gardening work
    Jana Clark '22

    This female student quite literally had a hand in improving the health of a vegetable garden at Church of the Mediator, which supplies healthy food to Bronx residents.

    "I was able to help gardening on grounds by pulling weeds around the flower beds. I also helped build raised soil beds where fresh produce, such as kale, would be grown, which made for a very engaging experience. I learned several skills that I can hold onto for the rest of my life."

  • An Education

    male student sitting at table outside in front of two posters
    John Loch '22

    A volunteer assignment with Riverdale Senior Services afforded one student the opportunity to learn about how a rooftop garden works, which he used to best educate older residents on the benefits of composting. 

    "I met with the community gardens specialist to discuss how many of the members and the community of the Bronx did not know about composting and how she wanted to inform them about it. She then showed me the garden and her composting station. She brought me through all the steps of composting and talked about the benefits of it."

  • A Thanksgiving Dinner

    three students stand together wearing manhattan college sweatshirts
    Aidan Donohue '22

    While helping distribute a holiday meal hosted by Fordham Bedford Community Services, one volunteer received much much more in return. He learned how much his group's participation in the event meant to patrons.

    "When I made my way across the room to meet and chat with a few of the people partaking in the feast, I got to hear how much they appreciate the assistance we provided, and how much they enjoy the idea of the feast because it brings their community together. I learned that working with people who have the same motivations as you do creates a better atmosphere and strengthens the group as a whole."

Focusing on Faith 

The mission of the Bronx community green fair at Church of the Mediator caused students to understand its deeper meaning, which is tied to Pope Francis' call for people to care for the Earth as a faithful obligation. 

By observing and taking part in this event, I was able to see how religion has shaped the Church of the Mediator, and how that shines through in everything that its organizers do for the community and the people in it. Everything the group does for the environment is rooted in their religious faith.

Amanda Vetrano '22, Church of the Mediator Volunteer

A Community Clean-up

Taking part in an initiative to remove trash from areas within the Marble Hill Housing Complex offered a first-hand look at how different people live, and to inspired one student to publicize the effort on campus.

My experience with the Marble Hill Project exposed me to a new part of the Bronx I hadn’t seen before. Performing community service and experiencing new things also emphasizes the importance of community.

Madalyn Johnson '22, Marble Hill Housing Complex Volunteer