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Campus Celebrity: CNU’s Beyoncé, Arlyn Thaler

Earlier in the semester, Her Campus CNU put it in the hands of our fellow Captains to choose who the next Campus Celebrity would be with our Celebrity Change Wars. Overwhelmingly, Arlyn Thaler won the vote. Without further ado, welcome to Arlyngton.

All photos are courtesy of Derrin Nelson.

If Arlyn Thaler could be anyone for a day, she’d be Beyoncé. Ironically enough, when it comes to CNU, you could say she is our resident Beyoncé. Thaler, a Communication Studies major and senior from Leesburg, Va., is more than notable on CNU’s campus. She truly embodies what a strong female role model is, and brings the utmost charm and classiness to everything she does. 

Thaler’s involvement stretches across Christopher Newport University in many different ways. To start, she’s in the President’s Leadership Program and has been volunteering at Riverside Elementary School in the kindergarten classroom since her freshman year. She’s the president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, an RA in James River Hall for the second year in a row, and she’s involved in RHA (Residence Hall Association). She’s taken on multiple leadership positions in RHA such as Assistant Director of Marketing, and now Assistant Director of Student Outreach, which is a position she helped to create.

So how does such a busy person even begin to balance her schedule? Thaler explains that coffee is a major factor. She also works to organize her time with her planner, which has ruled her life for her college career. But it goes beyond simple organization tips. Thaler explains, “The things that I do, I genuinely care about and genuinely enjoy.”

In fact, when asked what motivates her, she talks about the people around her. “Whether it’s sorority sisters or my residents, I’m happy to help. It’s what I enjoy doing, and that’s what keeps me going. I do a lot of work, and sometimes things can be hard – that’s life – but I love what I do and I feel like I have an impact on people and that’s what motivates me… I want to make everyone’s CNU experience as wonderful as mine is, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help them.”

Thaler is also heavily influenced by her parents. “They’re my biggest cheerleaders. They will also give me a sense of reality when I need one. But, that being said, they always have my best interests, and will coach me through anything and everything. And without them, I seriously would not have survived the past four years. They’ve been there for me through everything. I love them a lot.”

With such a strong support system throughout the CNU community and at home, it’s no surprise that Thaler has been able to make her college experience one that she wouldn’t change. Says Thaler, “I’m sure I’ve made mistakes – I’m human just like everyone else. But everything I’ve done, I’ve done for some reason, whether I regret it now or not. Honestly, I’ve loved every second of my experience at CNU, and if anything would change that, I wouldn’t want it. I’m very happy.”

As you can imagine, Thaler has more than just one favorite CNU memory. One of the first she made was actually on her campus tour before she committed to attending the school. A rainy, cold day was transformed by the students on campus. “The student ambassadors were the most passionate people and I thought, ‘Wow.’ The people that go here are what make this school what it is… You just get this feeling at CNU that makes it so warm and fuzzy,” says Thaler. She went home after the tour and eagerly committed to Christopher Newport.

She also fondly recalls this past August’s freshman move in. “I was working in the parking lot for Santoro move in and I was talking to people and they were so nervous and sweet and the parents were sad to let their kids go and I could so honestly tell them that they’re going to start the best four years of their life. I literally started crying in the parking lot. I thought it was so sweet. I was so moved by it.”

Though CNU is where Thaler will spend some of the best years of her life, her experience has been slightly different than what she originally imagined. She recalls that she was “very involved in high school.” She was captain of the swim team and in various clubs, and wasn’t expecting to take on any leadership roles at CNU. “I did my time in high school and didn’t think I was going to be involved on campus, and that probably lasted a week because then I ended up on Santoro Hall Council and everything kind of snowballed from there,” explains the senior who never seems to stop moving from one thing to another. 

Of course, she does know to take some time for herself to do the things that she enjoys in order to unwind and relax. “When ‘Scandal’ comes on, the world goes off. And that’s what matters. When ‘Scandal’ is on, the popcorn is out, I watch it with my friends who also love Scandal – that is Arlyn time. It will never be disturbed,” remarks Thaler. But she also loves to read biographies and memoirs. Currently she’s reading the new book about Steve Jobs. “I’m a huge closet nerd/geek, and I’m obsessed with Apple. I worship Steve Jobs; no one knows that about me actually. That’s a fun one.”

But where does Thaler see herself in ten years? “I hope to be living in a city, or if I have a family, that would be exciting too. Regardless, I just plan on being very happy and I will only do things that make me happy. So if that means I’ll be working and I’ll be living in the city doing big girl things, then that would be great. But I think I would be happy doing anything, honestly. I don’t have a plan, which is scary. I’ll be 31, that’s where I’ll be in ten years.”

Regardless of whether she has a plan or not, Thaler knows she’ll be okay as a Captain for life. “I’ve loved CNU, but I think it has really prepared me for the real world, and I’m excited to see what’s next!” she shares. She also has plenty of advice to impart on her fellow students. “CNU is a world of opportunity and there are so many things you can do - you just have to step up and do them. Test yourself, test the boundaries. Go outside your comfort zone. That’s something I did when I came to CNU, and it’s something that I probably never thought I could do. And it’s made a world of a difference, honestly. There are so many things you can take advantage of at CNU, and I think it’s our responsibility to do that. And a lot of people don’t step up and don’t do it, and they’re missing out. It can really change your experience.” 

Lee Martin is a 20-year-old junior at Christopher Newport University majoring in Communication Studies with minors in Leadership and Women's & Gender Studies. She co-founded CNU's chapter of Her Campus and currently serves as Co-Campus Correspondent/Editor-in Chief, as well as a Chapter Advisor to five other campuses. As a journalist, she has written for The Oyster Pointer, The Winchester Star, and worked with National Student Leadership Conference's Journalism, Film & Media Arts program. When not writing, you can find her binging on chocolate and coffee while laughing at Parks and Rec or The Office. If you must read her silly musings, follow her on Twitter at @loveleeforlife
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