Maddie Arndt Named NCAA Representative For MAAC

With her sophomore year almost completed, Maddie Arndt is about to take over three major leadership roles in addition to the responsibilities of a student-athlete.

Arndt, a pole vaulter on Manhattan’s track and field team, was named both the president of the college’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s SAAC. In addition, she was appointed to represent the MAAC’s SAAC at the NCAA Division I level.

“I’m ecstatic,” Arndt said. “I can’t explain it any better because there’s no other word that I can put to this opportunity.”

As the NCAA representative, Arndt will be a voice for the MAAC student-athletes at the national level. She will work with conference representatives from the other 31 Division I leagues. As the president of the MAAC SAAC, she will report back to the conference members with the information she received from the national meetings.


“I’ve been in leadership roles my whole life,” Arndt said, “it’s just natural for me and when I heard about this I thought, ‘I’m going to be competing against other people, what’s the chance I would get picked?’ But I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity because if I didn’t apply, I’m going to regret it.”

In addition, she will serve as the president of Manhattan’s SAAC for the upcoming academic year, taking over the position from Casey Silvestri, a senior on the women’s lacrosse team.

“She’s passionate and enthusiastic about SAAC and our mission in developing the whole student-athlete,” Silvestri said to

One plan Arndt has as Manhattan’s president is to work with the strong community relationship Silvestri has built during her presidency. Arndt will stress the fact to student-athletes that community service is important while hoping to change their outlook on it being just a requirement.

“It can be really eye-opening,” she said, “and it’s good to give back to your community. Everyone in the Bronx knows Manhattan College and I want people to know that we’re doing this; we’re being athletes but giving back to our community.”

She also plans to build a bigger alumni connection between past athletes and current athletes with a mentorship program, hoping to develop it within the next two years and that it’ll be successful beyond her presidency.

Arndt explained that while having these positions seem like a lot, they overlap. When something works well for one school, it will most likely work well for other schools in the conference because they are all quite similar.

“I’ll meet with a lot of important people, in and outside of our conference,” she said. “I get to represent what we stand for, what we need, what legislation we like or don’t like. There’s a lot of aspects where you vote and I’m the student-athlete vote once I talk to my school and the other MAAC schools. So, it goes from institution to conference to national and I’m the liaison through all of that.”

Although it wasn’t her original intention to have multiple positions, she’s excited for the opportunity. Arndt sent in her application for the NCAA position first and received recommendations from Manhattan’s SAAC Advisor Allison Fitzgerald and Silvestri, who said Arndt was the first name to come to mind.

“Maddie is a great student, athlete and community builder,” Silvestri said. “Her recommendation was a no-brainer. I’m confident that she’ll do an amazing job and I’m excited to see what amazing things she has in store.”

Then, it just so happened that no one was going for Manhattan’s SAAC president after Silvestri leaves, which led to Arndt fulfilling this role as well.

“Everyone says this is a résumé builder but that’s not what it’s about to me,” Arndt said. “It’s about getting myself out there and doing what I love. It’s about being an athlete and trying to make a change at the same time.”

JustPeace Protests B21 Infraction

The New York City public school system has suspended several students over the years for “defying authority” – a right they have under the disciplinary code B21.

B21 is defined as “disobeying the lawful authority or directive of school personnel or school safety agents in a way that substantially disrupts the educational process.”

Manhattan’s JustPeace is one of the many groups that is protesting this disciplinary code. People are arguing that this rule disproportionately affects students of color, immigrant youth and LGBTQ youth in the New York City school system.

JustPeace co-presidents Katelyn-Rose Conroy and Sarah Kissane said that it was important for the organization to protest this code for multiple reasons.

They noted how it was close to home, being based on the city school system. At the end of last month, members of the club went around to get petitions signed in support of the protest.

“Getting petitions signed meant that we were supporting young people trying to do social justice work, which is always a plus. The B21 protest is something we are in support of because it tries to alleviate the systematic racism present in our country.”

The Urban Youth Collaborative released a statement that there was an average of 40 students suspended each day at school in 2013 due to this infraction. According to the research, the infraction is the second most common reason for students being suspended in the New York City public school system.

People arguing against the rule believe that dozens of students are at risk of dropping out of school due to B21. Students could be suspended for minor infractions, including things such as refusing to take of their hats or talking back to their teacher. The penalties should be dealt with in school instead of in court.

Los Angeles had a similar rule in their public school system and the city has recently eliminated it. Since then, they saw a 40 percent reduction in suspensions. Under Mayor Bill de Blasio, city activists are preparing for possible reforms.

“Our goal was to raise awareness of the issue,” Conroy said, “and to get as many petitions signed as we could. It was really successful.”

JustPeace got involved in the protest through a connection from Kathleen Von Euw, Manhattan’s coordinator of community service and partnerships. She linked the club to the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition and their youth organization Sistas & Brothas United. Both organizations have worked with Manhattan before.

The youth organization was trying to get as many petitions signed as possible. Conroy and Kissane said that the members of the youth organization picked the petition themselves, as an initiative they wanted to get behind.

“We just gathered them up and handed them in,” Conroy said on any update with the petition, “so no change yet, but hopefully there will be news soon.”

Paralyzed Kitten has New Adventures in Toy Wheelchair

A weeks-old kitten who was abandoned by his mother and unable to walk has found new hope.

Things turned around for the tiny feline when he was rescued and brought to an animal hospital in Long Island. Dr. Ned Horowitz of Massapequa Pet Vet told NBC 4 that the kitten was partially paralyzed in both of his back legs.

A few of the technicians at the animal hospital made a wheelchair for the kitten, who was named Mac, by connecting some Legos together, according to NBC4. After making the chair, they posted a video on their Facebook page of Mac trying it out for the first time.

RELATED: Orphaned puppy finds new family with cat and five kittens (Video) 

When Mac was brought in, he was just laying in his cage, Horowitz said to NBC 4. As soon as he was put in the wheelchair, “he totally took off.”

It isn’t clear what caused Mac to be partially paralyzed, but he does have some feeling in his legs, which Horowitz said is a good sign. The Facebook post said that the animal hospital hopes to rehabilitate Mac and then find him a good home.

Horowitz told NBC 4 that he hopes Mac will be able to walk in a few weeks. As soon as he finds Mac is ready, he will be put up for adoption.

Women’s Basketball Names Heather Vulin Head Coach

Press, faculty, student athletes and alumni filled the basketball court in Draddy Gymnasium for a press conference on Friday. The Manhattan community welcomed Heather Vulin as the new women’s basketball head coach.

It was the second press conference for the athletic department in a month after introducing Marianne Reilly as the new athletic director on March 31. It took Reilly less than 30 days to get her first hire.

“It feels great to have gone through the process and all the candidates,” Reilly said. “It’s a sense of relief that it’s behind it us.”

Vulin comes to Manhattan with 16 years of coaching experience, spending 12 of those years as a recruiting coordinator. She has 14 winning seasons and has coached in the NEC, the Big East and the ACC. Her most recent accomplishment was helping Virginia Tech earn a visit to the WNIT.   

Reilly Announces Vulin Press Conference.jpg

“It’s a dream come true,” Vulin said of coming to Manhattan. “I wanted to be a head coach my whole life but to be at a Catholic institution is something that’s always been very important to me. I’ve spent 15 years of my career at Catholic institutions so I’m really excited for it. It really offers everything that I am looking for and I feel like it is a place where I’ll thrive.”

The announcement that Vulin was named Manhattan’s head coach came just last week, but she has already hit the ground running to prep for the new season.

“She’s already reached out to players that she’s been recruiting at her other institutions,” Reilly said. “She has an official visit set for next week. She’s looking at some transfers. She’ll decide if she wants to keep the staff that is already here or if she wants to hire new assistants.”

Vulin said in the press conference that she is honored to be Reilly’s first hire and that she is excited to work with someone who is so passionate. She turned to Reilly and said, “So far I’m the best hire you’ve had and I plan to keep it that way.”

Several basketball players, both men and women, were in attendance to welcome Vulin to the program. The women players looked on, observing their new coach and eager to start working with her.

“We’re really excited,” Amani Tatum, a guard for the women’s basketball team said. “A lot of people say that change is good and I think that this is what the program needed; someone like her who is excited and committed. We’re looking forward to it. We’re excited for what she is going to do.”

Reilly noted in the press conference that one of the several aspects that set Vulin apart from the other candidates was understanding the balance of academics and athletics at the Division I level. She said that Vulin is invested in Manhattan’s student athletes both now and in the future.

“I think she is going to hold people accountable,” Tatum said. “She’s going to have people working harder than they usually are, just bring a lot of energy and excitement to the program.”   

Vulin’s previous experience includes six years at Sacred Heart, helping the team earn their first NCAA Tournament berth and overseeing recruitment that led to another NCAA appearance.

Then, she spent another six years as Villanova’s recruiting coordinator. She played a key part in the program advancing to two NCAA Tournaments and three WNIT appearances.

“I expect to win,” Vulin said. “I feel like I do things the right way. I’m committed to it, I work for it and I’m not afraid to go after it. I feel like my leadership will make an impact. I’m really excited for the opportunity.”

Now, she is vowing to bring that success to Manhattan. She plans to be a resource on the court and in the community. She wants Jasper athletics to be on the map across the country.

‘I’m very fortunate,” Vulin said. “A lot of times when you take over a job it’s because maybe there isn’t much talent there. But obviously we have our three returning scorers, we have Amani [Tatum] who’s defensive player of the year and Kayla [Grimme] had tremendous blocks this season. I would like to bring in some more players this year to give us some more depth.”

Tatum said that Vulin has already started working with the team. One thing that has stood out to her so far is that Vulin encouraged her new players to not dwell on the past and that they are all starting a new chapter together.

“I’m really big about once you know what you want, you can go after it,” Vulin said. “But if you are just focused on things in the past and you use that as a crutch then you can’t go forward, and the team can’t go forward.”

Vulin stressed the fact that this is a new chapter for the team and she plans to spend as much time with her players as she can in the last two weeks before summer break.

“I really feel that we have a great group and I can’t wait to get on the court with them,” she said.

Women’s Basketball Names Heather Vulin Head Coach