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Student Profile: Nick Rudofski

As a small liberal arts school, Aquinas College draws students of diverse talents and perspectives. It has become a second home to many - from athletes to artists, academics to socialites - fostering their abilities and benefiting from their unique contributions. Take Nick Rudofski, a junior sustainable business major and student ambassador, who has recently plunged into the realms of Quidditch and photography.

Rudofski recalled that, from the beginning of his college search process, Aquinas was the only school he wanted to attend. He heard about the College from a friend, and never looked back after visiting campus. “I didn’t want to go anywhere else! It was the only school I had ever applied to. Some people thought, ‘oh, that’s so dangerous!’ But I just knew it was the right place in my heart...as corny as that sounds.”

Coming to Aquinas, Rudofski quickly got involved with various campus organizations. He was selected to be a Student Ambassador, students who conduct campus tours, participate in AQDays, and represent the College at receptions and donor-oriented events. Rudofski emphasized that, for him, interactions with potential students have been extremely rewarding.

“As a Student Ambassador,” he said, “I give tours to prospective students and often host them overnight for Club AQ events. I like to give them that on-campus experience, since I’ve had such a positive one and want to share it with other people! Then, as an orientation leader, I do the same thing, but with students who have decided to come to Aquinas. We try to get them acclimated, comfortable, realizing the amazing community we have here at Aquinas, which has proven true to me!”

In addition to representing the College, Rudofski recently introduced a personal dream to the campus community. While an invention of the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch has become an increasingly popular sport at schools such as Grand Valley, Michigan State, Central Michigan, and many others. Consequently, Rudofski became a driving force behind the new Aquinas College Quidditch Club.

As the fanciful broom-flights of film are sadly out of reach, competitors run with brooms between their legs, using their other hands to score points. “We actually have a lot of student support,” Rudofski said, “which is great! Aquinas makes many ways for you to get involved, but you do have to meet them halfway! I’ve never really led any kind of team before, so to start a Quidditch team here was a little nerve-wracking. But I had a lot of great support that helped us get to that point. The College definitely fosters those opportunities, they want you to grow, but that’s a decision you need to make as well.”

In his spare time, Rudofski has begun to investigate another personal favorite - photography. Yet rather than taking snapshots of the present, he uses the art form to span the chasms of time. Blending photographs of the past and present, he reveals a new perspective in the landscape, beyond facades of the here-and-now. “I worked with the Grand Rapids Public Library,” he said, “where I found some old photos from downtown Grand Rapids, pictures of the Amway Grand Plaza and others. For me, it was amazing. I almost felt like a time-traveler of sorts, seeing the old mixed with the new. I never knew Rosa Parks Circle had shops completely covering the area in the early 1900s, it doesn’t even look the same anymore! But it’s very interesting to see what remains after a hundred years.”

While Rudofski is exploring a run at ArtPrize 2014 with Amway, he has created similar projects that feature the Aquinas campus. He hopes to build a larger collection in the future, exploring the College’s past to gain a greater appreciation of its present. “I’d love to share that with people,” he said, “it’s definitely a unique perspective.”

Looking beyond graduation. Rudofski is unsure of his exact path. However, no matter his decision, he hopes to affect positive change in the community through his sustainable business major. In the meantime, Rudofski gave these parting words to prospective students. “Take the reins of your own life. I’ve known people who are unhappy with where they’re at, because they followed the crowd or their parents made them go somewhere. But you need to go where you really feel comfortable, be sure that it fits with where you want to go with your life! I think that’s really important, whether you attend Aquinas or not, because it is your decision in the end!”