University Neighborhood Preservation Association

Our guest blogger, Rebecca Shaffer Mannion, is the UNPA’s Executive Director.  She is a University Neighborhood resident, and is dedicated to the community.
It was supposed to be a 3-year commitment. My husband was to complete his MFA in Photography at Syracuse University and we were outta here. That was August, 1998. Flash forward to today. We own a home that we love and care for each and every day (thanks for helping us first time buyers, Pei Lin!) We have two bright, beautiful children in addition to our cat & dog.  

I decided one snowy December day about nine years ago that we needed to buy a house. We were ready to take the plunge and focus on building our life here in the University Neighborhood. I teach at Syracuse University’s iSchool and also am a librarian at the Fayetteville Free Library. My husband is at Light Work/Community Darkrooms and teaches digital photography at VPA.

In our time in Syracuse we have always lived in this neighborhood. Most of the time we can walk to work and parks; the public library, restaurants and more are all within blocks.

Recently, I was named by the University Neighborhood Preservation Association (UNPA) as the Executive Director of the Board of Directors. I am taking over the reigns from Joanne Stewart, who is leaving UNPA after eleven years of service. I wish everyone would be able to work with someone as kind, supportive and encouraging as Joanne when they take on a new job. I have been on the board since 2011 and love the work that we do throughout the neighborhood.

UNPA is a non-profit organization that promotes owner-occupancy and markets the University Neighborhood as a great place to live. UNPA has designed the Homebuyers Assistance Program as an incentive to attract buyers to the University Neighborhood and to financially assist families or individuals who are interested in buying a home in the UNPA Target Area. The University Neighborhood Home Improvement Loan is an affordable way to quickly access the money you need to make exterior home renovations and repairs — even if you have built little or no equity in your home. Hello, 2.99% interest rate!

Being community-minded, my feelings about the University Neighborhood and its draw and impact on the city first led to my involvement with the organization. We used UNPA’s grant program when we moved into our home and now have even stronger ties to the community through local friends, businesses, the university, museums, and cultural organizations. Our children attend Erwin Nursery School & UPK and our daughter will head to Ed Smith in the fall. Please have tissues handy if you see me walking around aimlessly in September!

If you’re thinking of moving, we would love to hear from you.  We’d love you to learn more about our programs and all that we offer in the University Neighborhood!

Contact Rebecca at or (315) 476-5228.


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