As spring begins to thaw a chilly New York City winter, Manhattan College students head outside to take advantage of some of the best things their campus has to offer. It begins in March, as a considerable college cohort marches up Fifth Avenue in the City’s legendary St. Patrick’s Day Parade. As the first college to join the 250-year-old parade, Manhattan College, led by its Gaelic Society and the Pipes and Drums Band, marches with students, faculty, staff, family, friends and alumni dressed in Jaspers green.
This past March also brought another event to celebrate on campus: the opening of its new bookstore under Barnes & Noble College management. “We are excited to partner with Barnes & Noble College in a new venture that will benefit both the college and the community,” said Brennan O’Donnell, President of Manhattan College. “The store will provide state-of-the-art course support and services to students and faculty, and will strengthen ties with the neighborhood by being accessible to Riverdale book lovers as well.”
From March until July, the bookstore ran operations out of the College’s Leo Hall. In July, Manhattan College celebrated the opening of the Raymond W. Kelly ’63 Student Commons (named for the former New York City Police Commissioner and alum), with the new bookstore securing a spot on the second floor. “The Student Commons will enhance how the community interacts, works and plays,” explained Lydia Gray, Manhattan College’s Executive Director for Marketing & Communications. “Its unique spaces and central location — particularly the campus bookstore — will offer the perfect spot to nourish school community-building.”
According to Gray, the bookstore is one of many spaces in the Student Commons that have helped to address the college’s growing needs. The facility was planned as a social hub for students, faculty and staff, with a specially designated area for activities for student clubs and organizations as well as a place for academic, campus and community events. “Abundant with so many items of interest to Jaspers and non- Jaspers, it’s sure to be a place for heavy traffic and activity,” she continued. “In addition, Barnes & Noble College has provided so many innovative offerings that will change the way faculty and students access course materials and digital textbooks.”
To relocate from the basement of an engineering building to a brand-new cutting-edge student union is a 360-degree change, said Barnes & Noble College Regional Manager Angelina Carvalhal. “It’s a beautiful, brand-new space,” she said. “The glass entry beautifully showcases the interior of the store, which features the school color, Jaspers green. The natural light that floods the space gives an open and airy feel as well.” Carvalhal explained. “We really wanted to create an inviting atmosphere for students and faculty to want to experience.”
Perhaps one of the more exciting additions students will find in the bookstore and online is the new textbook rental program. In addition to offering new, used, and digital textbooks, students can enjoy significant savings by renting books. “Our textbook rental program has been extremely successful at all of our bookstores,” explained Carvalhal. “With approximately 85 percent of titles that are offered available in the rental format, we think students will see this as a great option.”
In addition to traditional textbooks, the bookstore offers an expanded selection of Jaspers apparel, laptops and other technology-related products, as well as trade books, bestsellers, supplies and other educational materials. The new space will also offer new apparel, gifts and spirit items, drinks and a small selection of grab-and-go food items. Another plus: Students can now use their student debit Jasper Cards in the bookstore.
The campus store plans to collaborate with the art and theater departments to host intimate events and exhibits, and showcase school talent to the community. “And, with an enhanced presence on social media, we’ll be able to publicize special events and sales,” Carvalhal stated, adding. “This is more than a college store, it’s a community bookstore, and we want everyone who visits to feel like they are part of the Manhattan College community.”