Archives for October 2016

It’s time to address overcrowding at Plumley Armory gym

When students begin their academic experience at Norwich University, the oldest military college in the nation, many quickly come to the realization that physical fitness will be a significant part of their daily student life. Whether it be exercising with a respected armed service branch, lifting in the gym, or exercising with school athletics, the first thing that students realize is that there is limited space available to meet their physical fitness needs.

There has long been an outcry over the lack of space in the university gym in Plumley Armory. Students are disenchanted and have had enough of the shortage of space and limited equipment in the gym. There are no shortage of opinions on what should be done. For example, some students believe that those belonging to university sports teams should have their own gym space and gym equipment so that other students are not interfering with their workouts. 

Since physical fitness is a major component and or requirement of both the athletic and non-athletic student’s life at Norwich, the university should realize the benefits of providing students with adequate fitness facilities. 

It is clear that the majority of the Norwich University population do some form of exercise to stay physically fit on a daily basis, whether it be athletic teams or ROTC students. As a result, the gym in Plumley Armory on any given day is operating at full capacity. 

That is not the only issue. Many of the students here on campus feel that the gym is lackluster in appearance and is in a desperate need of an upgrade. Also, for a number of years, the Plumley Armory gym has been the only place on campus to lift weights, which creates a shortage of available and lack of adequate space.

It is easy to find students who are unhappy with the conditions of the equipment, the amount of equipment, and the overall size of the gym. Chris Leach,19, a computer science major, from cj, Vt., is one of the many student athletes on campus that feel athletes on the university sports teams should have their own gym on campus.

“The gym just isn’t big enough for all varsity sports team,” says Leach. Also, at times when there are multiple university sports teams using the equipment and space, there is insufficient equipment to work out and waits, which results in areas of the gym being inaccessible to non-athletic students,” says Leach, a Norwich University baseball player. 

Many would agree. With inadequate space and outdated equipment in Plumley Armory, it is a significant problem when there are as many as 20 different varsity sports teams utilizing the gym at any given time throughout the academic year. Referencing the fall semester alone, there are eight teams occupying the gym at any one time.

It’s obvious that the main issues relevant to Plumley Armory gym center on inadequate space, shortage of gym equipment and insufficient time available to accommodate the variety of students and their individual needs. 

Lots of students have ideas how things could be better. Says football quarterback Garrett Chapell, 19, a criminal justice major from Byron, N.Y., “When the gym is at its busiest time during the day, it would be better if the gym were larger with an open floor plan, which would make it easier to move around the gym when it is at or near full capacity. Also, it would be better if there were additional gym equipment that would enable the entire football team and the other additional students in the gym, the capability of completing their workouts in an efficient manner without any inconveniences.” 

With more students entering the school this year, the available space in the gym continues to decrease. 

An obvious remedy for the overcrowding issue would be to open a new gym for the sports teams and Plumley gym for the corps. Additionally, the purchase of new and updated equipment would also prove to be beneficial in meeting the needs of the vast amount of students who utilize the existing outdated equipment. 

Says Jacob Snow, 19, a physics major from Richmond, Va.: “President Schneider is advocating for additional funding to improve academic buildings; however, due to the increased population and advent of the largest freshman class, the improvement of the Plumley Armory gym should be considered a priority as well.” 

Ideas to address the workout crunch abound. How about relocating the Naval Department to another building which could free up some additional space for the gym, enabling it to increase its capacity. Leach likes that idea and also constructing another area in Andrews Hall to create another gym for athletes. 

There is little disagreement on campus that Plumley Armory gym fails to adequately meet the needs of the majority of Norwich’s student athletes and those engaged in the various military ROTC branches. Both have rigorous physical education requirements which require an adequate recreational facility. Based on this fact alone, combined with its diminished size, outdated equipment and overcrowding issues, the Plumley Armory gym at Norwich’s is in dire need of improvements to meet and satisfy the varying requirements of a diverse student population with a variety of physical fitness goals.


New security chief brings new attitude to campus

New security chief Lawrence Rooney in his office at the south end of campus. Amber Reichart Photo

New security chief Lawrence Rooney in his office at the south end of campus. Amber Reichart Photo

Lawrence Rooney, a former command sergeant major for the commandant’s office at Norwich University, took over the post of chief of security for Norwich on Aug. 1. Originally from Plymouth, Mass., Rooney has 25 years of experience with police work in Plymouth and retired as a detective.

The new chief of security has been on the job for two months and has quickly brought some new thinking to the post and instituted changes. For example, Norwich security now has body cameras for its officers.

Rooney said, “It was time for a change,” mentioning why he chose to move from the commandants’ staff to the security post. He has a total of 32 years of experience in the field of security. [Read more…]

Parking problems persist, and increase in students doesn’t help

With only 650 parking spots open for 1,356 total students, new Security Chief Larry Rooney is open to any and all suggestions regarding the persistent campus squeeze. (Feel free to email him suggestions at

Every year parking is a major gripe for students and Rooney is first to admit “it is an issue that needs to be better organized; one of the challenges we have to face with parking is that we will have to sit down and review all the issues of years past.” With well over 20 written citations and warnings on average per week, parking is a pressing matter, and Rooney feels it more than anyone in Norwich administration.

There are many possibilities that the NU staff are exploring to better the parking situation, including public transportation, carpooling, and designating specific parking spots, all as ways to decrease the number of cars on campus, Rooney said.Green Mountain Transit has buses which travel directly to Montpelier, which then run to Burlington. From Burlington and Montpelier, students are able to get on a bus to other cities or to the airport to return home after the semester and while on break.

“I think we should encourage less people to bring their cars and use local transportation,” Rooney said. “Green Mountain Transit has a network of buses that come through campus five times a day.” More people using public transportation would decrease the number of vehicles on campus, freeing up more spots for those who cannot use public transportation to reach Norwich.

[Read more…]

Zipcars open up pay-as-you-go opportunity at Norwich

One of the two new Zipcars parked in the Hayden parking lot. They offer a pay-as-you-go transportation option for students who don't have cars.

One of the two new Zipcars parked in the Hayden parking lot. They offer a pay-as-you-go transportation option for students who don’t have cars.

Norwich University has instituted a car rental program called Zipcar, bringing two zippy looking Ford Focus cars onto campus. They are located at the south end of campus in the laundry parking lot.

According to the program’s system administrator and purchasing agent, Bill Vivian, it was brought to the campus in order to help alleviate the problem of limited parking and to provide out-of-state students with transportation.

“I have never heard of Zipcar,” said Christopher Earle, 20, a mathematics-education double major and junior from San Francisco, Cal. “I know (about) Uber, but you don’t rent them,” Earle said, like others on campus admitting he is not aware of the Zipcar program.
Zipcar, which bills itself as “the world’s largest car sharing and car club service,” is very different than Uber. It gives students without vehicles the ability to travel around the surrounding rural area as needed.

“Essentially Zipcar has a fleet, a pool of cars that they obtain through other rental companies,” said Vivian, emphasizing,“it’s not an Uber.”
Vivian explained that the reason Zipcar is not like Uber is because drivers can’t offer their personal vehicles for use through Zipcar. Only the vehicles purchased through the program are authorized as Zipcars. [Read more…]

Finding fascination in historic firearms at the Sullivan Museum at Norwich

Some of the antique weapons displayed at Sullivan Museum at Norwich. Brian Gosselin photo.

Some of the antique weapons displayed at Sullivan Museum at Norwich. Brian Gosselin photo.

The Sullivan Museum possesses within its collection of historic firearms one of the most valuable items for Norwich University: a Spencer rifle once fired by Abraham Lincoln.
Each firearm in the 80-piece collection has a significant connection to Norwich University as well, as to the history of the United States. In order for a piece to fit the collection it must fit the general collection management policy for the museum. “We prefer objects to have been from an alumni or at least a professor, very close ties to Norwich essentially,” said John Hart, Sullivan Museum collections manager and registrar.

According to Hart, the firearms in the collection range from “early flintlocks to an M14.” The firearms in the collection span centuries. Most of the concentrations of the firearms are “Civil War, World War I and some World War II,” said Hart.

“Some institutions, especially military museums, have a great deal more weaponry than we do and I think that’s partly because their collections were focused in that way,” said Sarah Henrich, the Director of the Sullivan Museum and History Center. “Our collection isn’t focused specifically on weaponry or the development of weaponry, ours is about the history of Norwich.” [Read more…]

There are tight times in dorms as new freshman class is the largest ever

When Norwich accepted its biggest freshmen class ever this year, it caused over-crowding in the residence halls and headaches for university officials and residential life administration.
Norwich decided to increase the amount of students this fall by raising the acceptance rate to 64 percent. However it ended up with more students than expected in the freshman class, accepting more than 100 more freshmen and transfer students than usual, according to Tim Reardon, director of admissions.

This year Norwich welcomed 884 new college and transfer students, he said. “Last year there were 708 total students, obviously significantly more this year than last year,” said Reardon.
“We had set a goal at about 750 students but the goal has shifted every year. Last year it was 750 but we only brought in 704 so we were 42 short of the goal,” he said, Reardon. “So we decided to award a little bit more money to students to help them afford Norwich.”

The result was a big class and a scramble to accommodate them, but also an encouraging trend.
“What we found is that, yes, students actually want Norwich. We just have to figure out what price our students look into to come to Norwich,” explained Reardon. “This year for the fall of 2016 we were able to get more applications completed in a quicker manner, and we actually only accepted about 200 more students than we had last year.”
Norwich residential life got an inkling that the dorms would be over capacity in mid-June after student deposits were made. “The total of civilians were somewhere around 600 students; the original dorm capacity is 568,” said Iphagania Tanguay, director of residence life. As a result, Norwich currently has in the vicinity 30-35 students in rooms converted to dorm rooms from lounges.

“Both dormitories are potentially over capacity but we do have some open rooms where we have one person,” said Tanguay. “We will work through consolidation and we’ve been working through when things become open.”
[Read more…]

Men’s rugby off to great start in revised conference

The Norwich University men’s rugby team is facing a new opponent and missing old foes after changes were made to the conference it plays in this year. So far it is off to a great start, going 7-0 in an undefeated season. The rugby team gained that status with a convincing 39-12 victory over NECRC rival University of Vermont.

The Cadets’ victory clinched the NECRC 2016 Conference Championship and gives them an automatic bid to the USA Division II Collegiate Rugby National Sweet Sixteen.

“Norwich has competed in the New England Rugby Collegiate Conference (NECRC) for several seasons,” said Tanner Acebo, the Athletic Communications Department multimedia specialist. But the men’s rugby team had a change in their conference leading two teams to leave the conference: Boston University and Coast Guard Academy. After playing in a different division, the East Coast Rugby Conference (ECRC) for a while, “Middlebury College has come back to the [NECRC]” Acebo said.

“Middlebury will be joined by the University of Vermont, the University of Rhode Island, the University of New Hampshire and Norwich University in the NECRC. “In a way, our conference got stronger; [however,] losing Coast Guard was a loss because they were our only real military team that we faced in the season” said Taualupe Tau, a junior communication major. Said Bob Weggler, the Norwich rugby coach, “It’s just something [Coast Guard] needed to do as a school.”

The Middlebury rugby team made the decision to come to NECRC by a blind vote that involved the entire team and coaching staff and with the majority voting to move conferences, according to a press release from the Middlebury College Rugby Club’s website. “We believe this new direction will help to stabilize the trajectory of the club after a lengthy period of coaching instability and provide all members with a rewarding experience,” the statement from the club said.

As a result of the move, Norwich finally will get an in-state rivalry. “We still play some of the same teams such as University of Vermont, University of New Hampshire and University of Rhode Island,” Acebo said. The new conference structure will allow Norwich to play each school in the conference twice, meaning each team will play once at home and once on the opposing school’s pitch. The winner of the NECRC moves onto the USA Fall Rugby National Championship.

This year’s senior captains are senior pack leader James Rowan from Fairfax, Va., senior Eric Pierone from Rotterdam, N.Y., senior flanker Richard Berlandy from Farmington, Conn., senior hooker Matt Rambin from Fairfax, Va., and junior Tom St. Pierre from Warwick, R.I. The team has returned 26 players from that squad while bringing in eight newcomers. Norwich is one of the few men’s rugby teams that has achieved varsity status, while some schools are still at the club level, such as Middlebury.

According to the Norwich University athletics website, Weggler cited some key freshmen that might crack the lineup early. “Freshman Keyon McCloud-Holman, Philadelphia, Pa., at prop, earned our man of the match honors in our scrimmage against Colgate, so he will factor in early. “However, for many of the other players, it is a big jump going from the high school level to the college level so they might need a little more time to adjust to the style of play.” he added.

“Morale has come up a little bit just because it does make things easier and with the weeks off it means we won’t have players missing due to the Army ROTC Field Training Exercise … We are just taking it day by day. We dropped two teams and gained one team,” said team member Jacob McMullen. a junior. Tau felt the changes will mean better competiton, “with Middlebury College coming from a Division I down to a Division II conference, they will be a challenge and give us a run for our money; everyone wants to win [so] no one is really down with the two teams leaving and Middlebury coming in.”

Gordon Winget, a senior wing and full-back on “B” side, said “with the changes in the conference it will be a lot harder, with Coast Guard gone we have to focus more on another team like URI … The team will have to focus and concentrate more, the team is coming in with the mindset of every day we have to push ourselves harder than the last day.”

Even though the conference has had some adjustments made to it, the Norwich men’s team has not changed their playing style. “Every game is a new game and every week is a new week that’s what we need to look toward. Our goal is to win the conference, so that’s what we remind ourselves every day at practice and game,” Winget said.

At 7-0, it looks as if that goal is in sight.

Guidon poll finds students support Johnson over Trump; 44% say they consider themselves Independent


graphs-main-votethisWith the 2016 presidential election closing in fast, politics have become a common part of daily conversation. Strong opinions seem to be dividing the world of social media and the mainstream media has chosen sides like gamblers at a prize-fighting match.

So what do Norwich students think?

In the days after the first debate, we decided to find out by conducting an unscientific survey. This was the first-ever poll gauging the political sentiments of Norwich students. We polled a total of 283 male and 118 female students, plus 9 who chose not to identify, completely at random, for a total of slightly more than 400 students. That’s a little less than a fifth of the student body. The polls were anonymous to remove any chance of biased results.

In a fairly surprising outcome to us, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party won, securing support from 145 of the students, which is 35 percent of the total polled. Polling at a close second was Donald Trump, with the support of 33 percent of the respondents. Trailing in distant third place was Hillary Clinton, with 15 percent of the vote. Jill Stein, of the Green Party received 1 percent of the poll.

In all, 16 percent of Norwich students surveyed were undecided or voting for other candidates. Some popular other choices include Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Chuck Norris, General James Mattis and Harambe. Another popular choice that was written in was “anyone else.”

The breakdown between male and female students on who they would vote for President revealed some differences, with male voters going 34 percent for Trump versus females 27 percent. There was little difference in the percentages for Johnson and Clinton, 15 percent for males and 16 percent for females, however, 19 percent of females voted for “Other” compared to 14 percent of male voters. In a sign of civic engagement, 77 percent said they were registered to vote; 23 said they were not.

The poll revealed that students who consider themselves Independent totaled nearly half the student body, 48 percent, compared to 37 percent who identified as Republican and 14 percent as Democrat. That result runs somewhat counter to the common perception that Norwich has a more conservative student body, and may reflect the trend among Millennials to reject party labels.

The fact that Norwich is a military school and most students, whether corps or traditional, have a connection to military either through friends or family is generally considered the reason for a more conservative campus. A percentage of the school has either enlisted in the military or is planning to commission. All of this combined tends to mean, according to conventional wisdom, that the students lean to the political right.

So what brought this rise of a third party candidate to Norwich?

For those that don’t know, Gary Johnson was formerly a two-term governor of New Mexico. He held office as a Republican, though he has since denounced the party. As a Libertarian, he is much more conservative than past nominees, which perhaps has allowed him to appeal to a much broader base than that party has traditionally reached. The unpopularity of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump likely also plays a factor in Johnson’s appeal this year.

When speaking with Johnson supporters around campus, the overwhelming reason he has secured their vote is that he is much less divisive than either Clinton or Trump. His policies tend to straddle the fence of the Republican and Democrat parties. On one hand, he is pro-choice, very supportive of the LGBTQ community and is against the war on drugs. On the other, he is heavily in favor of a smaller government, pro-second amendment and believes in reducing the influence of the Internal Revenue Service. He is against free college tuition, and does not want to have Citizens United overturned, but believes in global warming and does not agree with cuts to Planned Parenthood or in limiting immigration.

I think this appeals to the college-age student and Millennials. This generation is much more tolerant of those that are different from themselves. They want the government to leave them alone as they go about their lives and want to be afforded as much privacy as possible.

Johnson, however, has recently been heavily criticized for his lack of foreign policy knowledge. Republicans and Democrats alike warn that a vote for a third party will only help their opponents. The question is: will this deter his supporters or not? And will the 2nd debate and turmoil in the Trump campaign after the release of the video in which he revealed obscene comments on women change any opinions?

Let us know your thoughts on this survey, as well as your thoughts on the election, on our Facebook Page and at the Norwich Guidon website!

We’ll pass along other information gathered from the survey in the near future.

For information on Gary Johnson, here are two helpful links:“>