Student Q&A: Maddie Buitendorp ’22 on Community, C2I and the Next Challenge

Maddie Buitendorp '22 Wears a "Vote" Shirt

Davidson people have made all the difference for Maddie Buitendorp ’22. The political science major was looking for a small, challenging liberal arts college with a strong community. Maddie, who applied to Davidson Early Decision I, is a recipient of the Russell N. Knauss Scholarship and a William Holt Terry Scholar.

How did you know Davidson was the place for you?

I visited and thought campus was stunning. Then, I did an overnight trip and didn’t want to leave for the airport. I met with [Religious Studies Professor] Dr. Wills and sat in on a class taught by [Political Science Assistant Professor] Dr. Crowder-Meyer. I truly felt like the Admission team cared about me as a person, not a number—they talked about my interests and how Davidson could be a good fit for me.

What are some of your most valuable campus experiences?

I’m the last founding member of C2I (College Crisis Initiative*) still on campus. It doesn’t feel real, having such a bright spot during a pandemic. It grew from wanting to do something helpful and good to informing everyone from policymakers to higher education administrators to families making decisions about where their kids should go to school. We’ve been really lucky to have the CDC and other major partners take an interest in us. Also, because I had such a positive admission experience when I was choosing Davidson, I became involved as an admission fellow for the office, introducing families to Davidson and helping students find their place. 

Tell us about some of your off-campus experiences.

I interned with Rock the Vote during the summer of 2020 through the election in November of that year. I wanted an internship in Washington, D.C., even though it ended up being remote during COVID. Rock the Vote is nonpartisan, and I helped young people get involved and become passionate about decisions policymakers make that will affect us for the rest of our lives. In 2020, young people turnout was exponentially higher, and a large part of that was because of Rock the Vote and organizations like it. Then this past summer, I received support from the Tom Anstrom Internship Fund and worked remotely for another Washington D.C.-based organization called Public Democracy, founded by Davidson alum Eric Sapp ’98. I actually found out about the opportunity from Emilee Lord ’19, who was part of the Terry Scholars program with me. That’s the Davidson alumni network! 

What are some of the best things about Davidson College?

Two things. First and foremost, the community. Everyone wants the best for each other and is invested in the success of this place. People have believed in me and are encouraging, and I think Davidson is intentional about building communities that do that. Second, having leaders like President Quillen and Dean [of Students] McCrae … their level of responsiveness to the students and just being present means a lot. It’s rare that President Quillen will turn down a meeting with a student if they ask for one—if that isn’t Davidson, I don’t know what is. Davidson is preparing us to live lives of leadership and service, and that starts now; not after graduation.

What are your future plans?

I hope to live and work in Washington D.C. after graduation. While I don’t have a dream job, I have honed three guiding questions, which will make my future more fulfilling. I want to wake up excited to go to work; I want to have a new mountain or challenge for whatever the week holds; and I want to make the world a little better. If I have those three things, I’m open to whatever fits the skills I have. 

*C2I, led by Davidson students and Professor Chris Marsicano, enhances understanding of institutions’ responses to the COVID-19 global crisis and helps them plan for other potential crises. C2I conducts research and provides data resources to leaders engaged in planning, and researchers seeking to understand the higher education sector’s response to crises.


This or That?

We asked Maddie to choose one option from the following duos. Her picks are in bold.

  • Early Bird
  • Rock
  • Loose Guidelines
  • Beach
  • Chicken Parm
  • Procrastinate
  • Chocolate
  • Introvert
  • Messy
  • Cake Race
  • Visual Learner
  • See the Future
  • Adventurer
  • The Soda Shop
  • Call
  • Laundry
  • Group Work
  • Ketchup
  • iPhone
  • Study Spot: Library
  • Roller Coasters
  • Animals
  • Mac
  • Night Owl
  • Pop
  • Clear Directions
  • Mountains
  • Commons Thanksgiving
  • Get it Done
  • Vanilla
  • Extrovert
  • Tidy
  • Flickerball
  • Verbal Learner
  • Change the Past
  • Homebody 
  • The Egg
  • Text
  • Dishes
  • Solo Assignment
  • Ranch
  • Android
  • Study Spot: Union (The Hurt Hub)
  • Water Slides
  • People
  • PC

This article was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2021 print issue of the Davidson Journal Magazine; for more, please see the Davidson Journal section of our website.