by RIKKILYNN SHIELDS, Editor
Senior Maddie Arndt, a marketing major and digital media minor from Merrimac, Mass., chose Manhattan College almost four years ago for the change in scenery from the suburban town she calls home. Arndt was recruited to come to Manhattan as a pole vaulter, and before her first visit to Manhattan, Arndt hadn’t visited New York City.
“Once I got off at Grand Central and saw Madison Avenue I was like, alright I have to come here,” said Arndt. “And also because at the time I wanted to be a fashion marketing major. Little did I know things would change.”
Along with making friends through being a member of the track and field team, Arndt also began joining a variety of marketing and management clubs both her freshman and sophomore years as a way to get more involved in the school and explore her interests.
“I think freshman year I wanted to get involved more because in high school I was really involved,” said Arndt. “I went to a lot of great speakers my freshman and sophomore year. Then I found a leadership role within being a student-athlete in the student-athlete advisory committee so that’s kind of what my interest was in, and from there it just kind of took off the sophomore year.”
During Arndt’s sophomore year, she joined Institutionalist Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). After she became a member, the current SAAC president was looking for sophomores to serve as the new MAAC SAAC chair. While in the beginning, she had no idea what holding the position meant, Arndt took the chance and applied for the position regardless.
Spring of Arndt’s sophomore year at Manhattan, she received a call informing her that she was chosen for the position.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was probably a blessing in disguise,” said Arndt. “What I do is I represented the six thousand-plus athletes in the MAAC. I speak upon their voice and make sure it’s heard on a national level at the NCAA. I get to meet with the other 32 Division I student-athlete representatives for their conference three times a year. We talk about a lot of different issues that are going on currently with student athletes and how we can help fix those problems.”
Arndt has worked for the past two years with the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory committee and believes that this experience not only changed her mind on which career path to take, but also changed her as a person, and her life overall for the better.
“I would consider this experience, if not career-changing, life-changing because I’ve gotten to see things that athletes have never been able to see before,” said Arndt. “I’ve been introduced to people that are lifetime connections now, and I’ve been able to make a difference in my little way. It’s been a journey, and I went from wanting to be a fashion marketing major, whatever that is, and now I’m going into sports administration. So this experience definitely changed my career.”
Arndt’s fellow teammate and friend, senior Paige Chapman met Arndt the summer before they both began their freshman year here at Manhattan.
“I met Maddie the summer before our freshman year via Twitter (of all places) when she had found me on our track and field roster and asked me to be her roommate,” said Chapman. “We were roommates for two years after that, and have been close friends ever since. I’m so thankful for her being so assertive. She took the first step in developing our friendship and continues to take the first steps with her role in SAAC and beyond.”
Not only does Chapman value Arndt as a friend, but she always values Arndt’s go-getter mentality and kind-hearted nature which is exactly what has allowed Arndt to succeed on and off the track thus far.
“I’ve had the pleasure of watching Maddie grow after joining SAAC,” said Chapman. “I could see that there was something about the group that she loved and I think that her attention to detail and genuine care for others sparked something in her to go further. Whether it be the classroom, the pole vault runway, or an NCAA meeting, Maddie is never afraid to take the first step. She gets things done. And that’s something I’ve always admired about her.”
After graduating this spring, Arndt has plans to move to Indianapolis in June, to accept a one year post-graduate internship with the NCAA as the new Division II governance intern.
“I will be working not only with their everyday governing body but also with their student-athletes on a national level,” said Arndt. “So it’s really cool to be a Division I student-athlete, and now I’m going to be working as a full-time employee with the Division II. I’m really excited.”
As a student-athlete at Manhattan College, Arndt considers her journey a great roller coaster ride. As for something she will be carrying with her for the rest of her life, Arndt believes it is encouraging people to say yes, just like she did.
“Say yes to things that you never thought you would be able to do more or accomplish or have any confidence in,” said Arndt. “You find out a lot about yourself when you’re uncomfortable and not in your comfort zone. I think that’s where I grew the most these past couple of years here, saying yes to things that I would’ve never said yes to.”