Each year, The Colgate Maroon-News chooses a topic to highlight for a Special Edition. This December, our theme is “People of the Year,” modeled after Time Magazine’s annual “Person of the Year” issue. In this special section, we have profiled sixteen individuals who have had made significant—and perhaps lesser-known—impacts on Colgate’s campus this year, be they in the classroom, at the football field or even on the Cruiser. Inside, read about what defines them as worthy of recognition.
Giving back to the community and volunteerism are passions for Meghan Niedt, the Associate Director of the Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE), and she is a resource for students who share her interest.
The COVE runs multiple programs, both on and off campus, that allow students to volunteer across upstate New York and around the U.S. each year. Currently, there are roughly 650 consistent volunteers completing more than 30,000 hours of service through COVE volunteer teams.
Niedt is the advisor for many COVE teams and programs, and also supports team advisors and interns in the center. She has impacted many people since starting at Colgate in 2014.
Junior Nicholas Quinn said he has enjoyed working directly with Niedt immensely for the past year and a half.
“She cares so much about the people she helps, both at Colgate and in the surrounding area, and has been such a great role model during my time at Colgate,” Quinn said.
Before coming to Colgate, Niedt completed two years in the AmeriCorps program and worked at Syracuse University and the United Way of Central New York. With her background in direct service, non-profit work and higher education, she fit the COVE position like a glove. Once at Colgate, she fell in love with students’ drive here.
“The passion that so many COVE student leaders and volunteers have for a specific cause is inspiring, and I enjoy discovering what those passions are. The impact these students make on the community and their positive intentions is why I continue to love the COVE,” Neidt said.
Living in nearby Waterville, N.Y. with her husband and pup, Niedt gets to experience firsthand the impact that COVE programs have on the surrounding communities.
One notable experience for her took place with a cashier in Oneida, N.Y. a few years ago. Niedt happened to be wearing a Colgate sweatshirt, and the ca- shier took notice. She told Niedt that she had a daughter in the 3rd grade at North Broad Street Elementary School, and that her daughter never missed school on a Friday because it was “Colgate Day.” Niedt knew exactly what she was referencing.
“One of our teams, North Broad Street Mentoring, heads up to Oneida every Friday to do crafts and activities with youth and give them a safe space before heading home for the weekend,” Niedt said. “The cashier went on to tell me about the activities her daughter did that week with our group, and even knew the names of the Colgate students who had made such a positive impact on her life.”
There are also a number of COVE programs that address public health issues. Sophomore Audrey Cussen is a leader of the Colgate American Heart Association (AHA), and loves working with Niedt.
“She’s really great with helping us brainstorm potential activities and fundraisers along with getting us the connections we need to make our ideas a reality. All of the leaders of the AHA are new this year, so she’s been great with making our transition as smooth as possible,” Cussen said.
When she’s not working at COVE, Niedt takes advantage of Upstate New York’s beautiful surroundings. She often hikes in the Adirondack mountains and hopes to one day visit every National Park in the U.S. She also sews and likes to attend live music performances. With her wide array of passions and expertise, Niedt is an integral part of the Colgate community, devoting her life to not only helping others herself, but also students who wish to do the same.
Contact Abby Blair at [email protected]