Queensborough Community College celebrates opening of new Male Resource Center

Queensborough Community College (QCC) celebrated the opening of its new Queensborough Male Resource Center on Aug. 24 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Among those on hand to celebrate were QCC students, faculty, staff and elected officials.

The creation of the resource center was made possible thanks to a $450,000 donation from Robin Hood. This center is meant to assist in creating positive, lifechanging differences for male students, with a particular focus on self-identified Black and Latino males who experience lower retention and graduation rates at universities across the country.

“This will serve as a national model for institutions of higher education,” Queensborough Community College President Dr. Christine Mangino said. “Our partnership with Robin Hood will further our mission to provide all our students with transformational, inclusive and equitable opportunities that will ensure academic success is strengthened by a sense of connection and belonging.”

Robin Hood is the largest philanthropy fighting poverty in New York City. The organization has invested more than $3 billion in the city to help ensure low-income families are on pathways needed to realize economic mobility.

“We know that obtaining a college degree is still one of the surest pathways to greater economic mobility,” Robin Hood Young Adults Program Officer Eleanor Peters said. “People who have at least a bachelor’s degree can earn as much as a million dollars more than those without a degree over a lifetime of work. Unfortunately, the economic benefits of a college education too often disproportionately elude Black and Latino male students who are impacted by systemic barriers like racism and poverty.”

Planning for this resource center can be traced back to fall 2o21, when a team of 20 Queensborough colleagues participated in the USC’s Equity Institute, an eight-week workshop designed to result in action plans to advance equity in four key opportunity areas. One of the areas examined was the university’s structure for programs supporting Black and Latino males.

According to QCC Assistant Vice President of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Amaris Matos, the colleagues concluded that while multiple, effective small-scale initiatives serving Black and Latino males were available at QCC, it was lacking a comprehensive infrastructure that would better allow for its impact on resources available to be maximized. The group then began brainstorming on how to achieve this, leading to the idea of creating the Queensborough Male Resource Center.

“It’s amazing to see the Queensborough Male Resource Center come to fruition,” QMRC Director Jamal Biggs said. “The QMRC motto, ‘Nothing About You, Without You,’ is to emphasize to our students how much this center is here to support their personal, academic and professional needs. Colleges across the country have seen their male students fail to reach degree completion at alarming rates, so it’s important that we, as an institution committed to closing equity gaps, create a space that is safe, welcoming and supportive for our male students to achieve their goals.”

All Queensborough students, faculty and staff are welcome at the Queensborough Male Resource Center, regardless of race, gender, national origin or any other characteristics. Services offered there are designed to address systematic barriers that often prevent self-identified Black and Latino males from reaching degree completion. These services include leadership training, mentorship opportunities, academic tutoring, career counseling, specialized employment and internship opportunities and community events.

“For me, the Male Resource Center has changed my life,” QCC student Akeem Azan said. “It is a safe space, a warm and welcoming space where I have found so much support. A space where I belong and feel confident to share my thoughts and story. It is the space where I came out of my shell and made lasting friends.”

Those present from Robin Hood to celebrate the ribbon cutting included Peters and Senior Program Officer Young Adults Christine Au Yeung. Paul Wilson and Patrick McAnnally from Alliance Bernstein Gives, the organization that purchased QMRC’s furniture, were also on hand. The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation Executive Director Cass Conrad, QCC Fund Board Chair Charlene Prounis and Crystal Window and Door Systems Founder and Chairman Thomas Chen were also there to celebrate the opening.

Some of the public officials on hand to celebrate the opening included state Senator John Liu, Assemblyman David Weprin and Council member Linda Lee.