by, Samantha Walla, Senior Writer
I first met Matt Sweeney on a Friday or Saturday night time in a Greystone house, everybody desirous to shake off the week and their duties that got here with it. Elbow to elbow with solo cup-handling college students, he advised me concerning the challenge of water drainage in Van Cortlandt Park. When we parted, I heard him transfer on to a different partygoer, permitting an insuppressible ardour to run wild.
Sweeney, or “the mayor,” as he’s affectionately recognized on campus, started his curiosity in environmental engineering and public service as a freshman. These pursuits have cinched his status not solely within the Riverdale group, however by the Irish Echo, a distinguished Irish American newspaper.
The Irish Echo’s annual 40 underneath 40 listing highlights Irish Americans on their solution to turning into distinguished members of their communities or fields. The listing consists of lawyer and doctor-types, nicely into their careers, VPs and this 12 months, Matt Sweeney.
As a distinguished member of the Manhattan College and Riverdale group, Sweeney has served as chairperson of the Neighborhood Relations Committee for 2 years, former vp of MC’s chapter of the New York Water Environment Association, and a WRCM DJ. His proudest achievement (on Riverdale soil, a minimum of) is the group cleanup of Dogwood Junction, which he organized final fall.
Sweeney admits that this semester is quite a bit. Between the course load of his ultimate semester, a analysis venture and his internship at Langan Engineering, he’s flying across the metropolis greater than traditional. Sweeney will proceed his internship, at which he surveys and remediates properties, earlier than returning to Manhattan as a grad pupil.
As he defined the fundamentals of his internship duties, I used to be reminded of the charisma that initially struck me after we first met, solely strengthened by the experiences he had main as much as senior 12 months, void of the exhaustion and concern that over whelms so many college students of their ultimate semester.
“So, faux [you] are shopping for one thing, an empty lot or a constructing… You’ve acquired some cash, you don’t wish to be shopping for one thing with an enormous quantity of contamination,” Sweeney mentioned. “You’ll rent my firm to come back and principally determine what contamination, if any, is on the positioning.”
This place sends Sweeney across the metropolis as a form of contaminant detective, doing every little thing from soil drilling to web site analysis, together with work on the brand new Disney headquarters underneath building in Manhattan. As he strikes into his fifth 12 months at Manhattan College, Sweeney hopes to discover his pursuits in public service and concrete planning.
These passions, together with a advice from good friend and mentor Rob Walsh, Director of Strategic Plans at Manhattan College, cinched his nomination for The Irish Echo’s 40 underneath 40. After a interval of voting, the digital occasion acknowledged Sweeney and 39 different notable Irish figures on Friday, February 26.
“I didn’t count on to be nominated,” Sweeney mentioned. “Mostly as a result of I don’t have a profession to talk of but.”
The push to incorporate Sweeney within the nominations got here from Rob Walsh, finishing a pair well-known round campus for chatting up college students sitting on the Quad earlier than heading to Kingsbridge Social Club for a slice of pizza, whereas speaking over grasp plans to remodel the faculty and Riverdale group.
Walsh was initially struck by Sweeney’s ardour for eradicating invasive species of vegetation in Van Cortlandt Park, described as an “eight-eyed octopus the dimensions of the Empire State Building.” Since that second, a friendship has bloomed.
“He has two siblings, deployed onto completely different elements of the campus. And that’s why we see him on the Quad, then down at Leo, then at Kelly… I’ve been tempted to have Public Safety path him, to see the place he meets up together with his twins.” mentioned Walsh. “We’re onto you Sweeney.”
Sweeney remembers a humorous second from the ceremony, which usually takes place in New York City. The occasion came about after a month and a half of anticipation, with household and pals in attendance. This included Sweeney’s father, who has the identical identify. When the time got here to current Matt Sweeney, he realized that he had not been granted entry to talk.
“They tried to let my dad in,” laughed Sweeney. Sweeney recounted the snafu full with the Irish accents of the presenters.
Sweeney famous that the occasion, which lasted a number of hours, was an excellent enhance for him and his profession. Despite his age and comparatively brief profession as in comparison with the others acknowledged, he attested that he’ll dwell as much as his award.
Sweeney, or one in all his clones, nonetheless finds time for hobbies. Sweeney enjoys mountain climbing, fishing and gardening (he makes his personal sizzling sauce), in addition to constructing his vinyl assortment. His favourite file? At the second, Sweeney factors to a German printing of Help! by the Beatles, which he loved taking part in for his German grandmother. He attests that this reply is at all times altering.