Extracurricular Excursions

Manhattan's 60+ student clubs, organizations and honor societies take Jaspers from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to the top of the George Washington Bridge.

George Washington BridgeWith more than 60 active student clubs, organizations and honor societies on campus, there is no shortage of ways to learn outside of the traditional Manhattan College classroom.

Offered as both a class in the spring and an extracurricular activity in the fall, Model United Nations is a favorite among government and international studies majors, and students that span every school at the College.

Participants act as delegates for an assigned country, gaining an extensive knowledge of their nation’s role on the world stage. During both the fall conference in Washington, D.C., and the spring National Model UN Conference in New York City (which includes a visit to UN headquarters), students work hands-on with their peers to solve issues of war and peace, diplomacy, human rights, and economic and social development.

With abounding connections in its alumni network, the School of Business’ Economics and Finance Society often arranges behind-the-scenes tours of city landmarks such as the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, visits to powerhouse companies like Bloomberg L.P., and even exclusive meetings with big names in business such as the Honorable Janet L. Yellen, chair of the board of governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

From touring the floor to rising high above the Hudson River, members of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, have the opportunity to examine one of the city’s most impressive engineering marvels by climbing to the top of the George Washington Bridge — not a field trip for the faint of heart.

“What was amazing about this experience was that we got to see up close how a suspension bridge works as a structural system, how everything comes together,” says civil engineering student Stephanie Brown ’12, ’14. “You don’t get that kind of detailed explanation of how a structure works and loads are transferred in the classroom. You also got a unique view of the bridge from above — it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Beyond New York City, education honor society Kappa Delta Pi has taken students to places such as Namibia, Palestine and Turkey to experience new cultures and education systems around the world.

These trips often include the opportunity to visit a Lasallian school or community and practice teaching in a real classroom, sometimes where English is not the first language.

MEDLIFE in PeruAs one of the newest student organizations on campus, MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere) also incorporates a Lasallian angle into its core mission as a mobile clinic for impoverished and underserved communities.

Its name has attracted many pre-med and biology majors so far, but MEDLIFE is open to all students looking for a unique learning experience.

Biochemistry major Stephanie Nava ’14 looked into bringing a chapter of the club to campus after she participated in a MEDLIFE trip to Tanzania.

“I fell back in love with MEDLIFE when I went to Peru,” she says, of her most recent trip with six Manhattan College students during spring break. “It’s a learning experience, not a vacation, but you get to try all sorts of new things.”

Students have the opportunity to shadow doctors and dentists on-site and help by signing in patients, measuring their vital signs, passing off equipment and sharing good hygiene practices with the village. The second half of the trip is about serving the community in any way needed. In Peru, that meant building a cement staircase up the mountainside.

“You work with the people of the community and see how they live, and why the communities are in the conditions they’re in,” Nava adds. “It’s very humbling.”

MEDLIFE members at Manhattan have participated in trips to Ecuador and Peru, and as interest continues to grow, the group is working toward trips to Africa and India in the coming years.

Photos courtesy of Alexandra Natchev and Stephanie Nava