Office of Communications and Marketing
Mariia Diahilieva ’26 was a high school exchange student in New Hampshire when the Russo-Ukrainian War escalated in February 2022.
Before working with Merrimack College’s Office of Student Involvement, Ashley Arcidi ’23 never considered how much work goes into the on-campus events and concerts she attends with her friends.
That all changed this past spring when she helped book singer Jason Derulo for the College’s annual spring concert. Helping to manage each moving part, from contract negotiations to concert promotion, was one of the most shocking experiences she said she’d ever had — in a good way.
“It was amazing to see how it unfolded and how many hands were on that project — just how happy everyone was in the process,” she said. “It was great to be part of something so positive and impactful.”
The third-year senior has worked with OSI since first enrolling at Merrimack, right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My first year, I had a lot of free time,” she said. “I was talking with my friends about opportunities to get more involved and possibly have a work relationship with one of the offices on campus. (One of them) recommended I look into OSI.”
Within her first year at OSI, Arcidi went from working the front desk to an event coordinator position. At the time, OSI was challenged with creating fun and engaging student events while maintaining COVID-19 safety guidelines. Arcidi helped organize take-home art kits for students, socially distant pizza parties and zen garden meditations.
“A lot of our events were catered to getting people out of the dorms and pushing positivity during that time when people were more isolated,” she explained.
Since then, Arcidi has helped put on large-scale social events such as last year’s Celebration of Light and Hope and the annual back-to-school Block Party. She says that work makes her feel more prepared than ever to start her professional career after graduation. A business administration major with a concentration in management and entrepreneurship, she said she hopes to one day open her own boutique.
Without OSI, Arcidi said her life at Merrimack would be profoundly different.
“I bumped into (Assistant Professor of Practice and Entrepreneurship) Mark Lippman at The Hub when I was working the front desk,” she recalled early on in her time at Merrimack. “We had this really great and meaningful conversation about him starting the Entrepreneurship Club. I had no clue entrepreneurship was a concentration yet and I had no idea there was a club, but that one interaction I had at the desk, being a receptionist at the office, changed my whole trajectory here at Merrimack College (and) perspective on my career.”