For gay students at Norwich, room to grow, lead and be themselves

Morgan Woods

It might seem unlikely that a small, long-standing strict military college nestled in the hills of Vermont could be a judgment-free place to be gay. However, Norwich, founded as the nation’s first private military school back in 1819, has made a name for itself with its open acceptance of members of the LGBT community.

For two cadets in the military Corps, the guiding university principle of fostering leadership and judging people by their character and skills, not their gender or sexual preferences, has proven to be true, and the school has lived up to motto.

“Whether it’s interacting with the people living around me, or going to classes as a functioning cadet, me being attracted to men is not an issue,” said cadet Andrew Guiberson, a 20-year-old sophomore business management major from North East, Md. “The issue is me doing the tasks that are asked of me, like it should be.”

A similar viewpoint is shared by Morgan Woods, a 20-year-old junior psychology major from Newton, Mass.

“It was always a thought in my mind when picking schools because I knew I wanted to go into the military on active duty and I knew that I wanted to live the (military) lifestyle 24 hours a day, and I knew that I was gay,” Woods said. “When going through senior military colleges to pick, having to decide whether or not I wanted to live my school life back in the closet again for my career there was a big factor.” [Read more…]

New rules at The Pub rile students

The Pub at the Wise Campus Center has long been the most popular local bar, because of its easy accessibility on campus and entertainment events. The Pub has always been run by Sodexo, the on-campus food service provider and vendor that runs dining facilities.

That, say some students, has changed recently.

“The Pub used to be busy most weekends, because it’s the closest place for every student over the age of 21 to go to,” said Shane O’Neil, a senior and War and Peace major. O’Neil was a regular “for about a year” at the Pub, since he turned 21 and could legally drink.

But, said O’Neil. “I put a little stop from going there, for a little while,” adding “most people stopped going there because of the changes.”

Those changes took place at the beginning of the semester after the long Christmas/New Years break. Students complain the major rule changes are discouraging student clientele from going to The Pub and socializing and enjoying themselves. [Read more…]

Artsy side of Norwich gets the spotlight

With a tentative ear, Katie Whitney listened as the voices from the stage before her eyes carried into the rafters and bounced off of the concrete walls, getting lost in the meters of emptiness which lay behind her.

The acoustics weren’t great, something she was quick to realize, but at this point, Whitney knew her options were very limited. This certainly wasn’t the usual venue for her event, but knowing what is to come next year, she did not mind being displaced for the time being.

“The sound is terrible in there, but what mattered is that students had a chance to let their voice be heard,” said Whitney, a member of Norwich University’s class of 2009, and the director of the annual Battle of the Voices competition held March 2nd and 3rd.

For the first year since its creation in 2014, Norwich University’s spring singing competition was not being held in Dole Auditorium, due to its recent destruction as part of a major construction campaign to improve campus facilities. Having lost the one acoustically engineered location on campus for an event of this nature, the group moved to the school’s gym and multipurpose space, Plumley Armory with hopeful and determined hearts, coming together to make it the most successful performance to date, with more than 200 in the audience cheering on the performers.

“Honestly, being in Plumley didn’t really put any kind of damper on the event. The location is not what matters, it is the talent that is being displayed for everyone who comes,” said Meaghan McGrath, a 23-year-old member of Norwich’s senior class, and a Vermont local. “My junior year I had attended the event as a spectator, and this year, I just decided to give it a shot, and I am certainly glad I did.” [Read more…]

For foreign professors, many barriers to overcome

Professor Alex Chung, along with several other professors, belong to the group of faculty members who made the decision to follow the American Dream – and teach despite the language barrier.

The presence of a minority group of professors, teaching even though English is not their first language, is among the aspects that give Norwich University a special flavor.

“For me, language is just a tool. It does not matter how smoothly you can speak, as long as you can communicate, you can do anything, even teaching,” said Chung, an assistant professor of economics and finance who comes from Taiwan.

Many young people from Asia, when searching for a job in the teaching environment, look at opportunities in the United States, identified as the destination with the “least restrictive” teaching system, according to Prof. Chung. They also come to the U.S. because its colleges and universities stress dialogue and interaction in the classroom.

“The best aspect of teaching in the United States, is that students are able to be passionate in expressing their opinions, arguing, and arguing back for something,” said Yangmo Ku, assistant professor of political science, and associate director of peace and war, from Seoul, South Korea. “This type of free debate and free communication style is a very strong point the American culture has compared to the Korean one.” [Read more…]

Dorm thefts are a growing complaint

It was like any day for Edwards Burnham. After a long day of studying, exercising, and working for the school, Burnham looked forward to relaxing in his room.

“Like any other day I walked back to my room, it was empty like usual because my roommate and I have different schedules, I went inside and grabbed my stuff to get ready for a shower,” said Burnham, 21, a junior criminal justice major from Boston, Mass.

Burnham never once thought that he would have to watch out for his personal items when going out for a quick shower.

“I showered for maybe 15 minutes, came back to my room and I noticed that some stuff went missing,” Burnham said. “I had a video game, a controller, and a book stolen – it was a bit odd, but they were gone.”

Theft on the Norwich University campus has become a bigger a issue this year than in years prior, according to students whose stuff has been taken or have friends who have seen items taken. Interviews reveal the problem of theft in the dorms is a major concern. [Read more…]

Sibling life at Norwich

Identical twins Ashley and Courtney Nau, from Sunrise, Fla., have been inseparable for the past 20 years.

For the two sophomore physics majors, college life hasn’t changed their relationship or living situation from what it was growing up.

“We really didn’t have much of a say last year but we chose to do it this year,” Courtney said. Her sister Ashley added, “When we picked beds it was easy. Courtney said, ‘well I had top bunk as a kid so I guess I’ll take that again.’”

The Naus are able to remain close because they are roommates. “Share a womb together, share a room together,” Ashley joked.

At Norwich University, some students have a special experiences with their roommates – because they are siblings.

In interviews, siblings, both twins and singletons (sisters and brothers), explained their reasons for wanting to live with each other.

The Nau twins chose to because of convenience and closeness. “It’s so easy. We have the same habits and level of cleanliness, so why change?” Courtney said. [Read more…]

Norwich bids former Cadet Mo Smith adieu

Having spent a career in the Army traveling everywhere from Hawaii, Germany, Japan, Chicago, and back again to Northfield, Vt., Maurice “Mo” Smith accomplished just about everything one could hope to accomplish in a lifetime.

During World War II, he spent time teaching young troops how to maintain and fix tanks for the Army. Upon retirement he returned home to maintain the family business of owning and operating drive-in movie theatres.

Mo accomplished many things during his lifetime. He made a career for himself, had a family, and gave back annually to the institution he was most proud of, Norwich University, making him a lifetime member of the Alden Partridge Society, for donating over $20,000 back to the school.

Colonel Maurice H. Smith passed away on Sunday, February 4th, 2018. [Read more…]

Norwich resolute about maintaining marijuana prohibitions on campus

Martha Mathis, now in her 26th year as the Dean of Students at Norwich University, has witnessed a vast number of challenges that the school has faced and overcome; for each challenge, her judgment has never changed.

“I think anything that has the potential to interfere with your success, I would not be for,” Mathis said. “Anything that can be competition for students to be the best that they can be, I am always going to vote no.”

NU will face a new test in the coming months, however, one that Mathis warns could have the potential to “really change the course of your life.”

With that risk in mind, the University plans to stay firm with its policies after the state of Vermont’s decision to legalize marijuana, according to ther Norwich University administration.

“It isn’t really going to affect us at all, in terms of our policies,” said Dr. Frank Vanecek, the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Life. “We are going to maintain our rules and regulations regardless of what the state decides to do.” [Read more…]

‘Tis the season to be SAD

Junior Tony Rodriguez using a HappyLight.

It’s not unusual to see cadets outside the chapel on the coldest days of the year, blowing bubbles, watching them freeze and roll along the concrete.

Rev. William Wick has seen nearly three decade’s worth of Vermont winters, and while his office may be decorated in skiing memorabilia, he understands that the snow may not bring joy to everyone. This is why Wick keeps bubble-blowing supplies in the cabinet of his office: It’s a way to combat the blues that can come with a long winter.

“Those who have been here longer, know that it’s coming again. First thing for anything, you may anticipate cold stuff, but don’t know what it’s like to walk through it,” Wick said. “Sometimes they don’t realize what is happening, sometimes they’re aware of it and they can adjust. Other times it’s a ‘Why am I feeling this way?’” [Read more…]

Norwich Football looks toward silver lining of 1-9 season

Players line up and get ready to play for the Norwich University vs. US Coast Guard academy football game. Photo by Darwin Carozza

The 2017 Norwich University Varsity football program finished off their season with one of the worst records in program history, according to the Norwich Athletics website. The Cadets closed this season’s book with 1-9 record. The team’s first season in the New England Women’s and Men’s Conference (NEWMAC) went off script when they could only manage to win 1 of 10 games.

Norwich Football is actively recruiting their 2019 class by hosting high school seniors on campus during the weekends. As winter workouts continue, and spring ball sessions loom, the team looks to put a close on last years 1 win season and look forward to bringing back a winning culture.

This season’s rendition of the good, the bad, and the ugly concludes with the awarding of All-Conference honors to 6 Norwich football athletes. The 2018 Norwich Football team had 5 recipients honored to 2nd team all-conference. Senior Nolan Aurelia, a 2-sport athlete at the school is 1 of the 5 New England athletes who received conference honors. “I didn’t expect it to happen, changing my position 3 years into my career was tough, but I’m happy to have gotten the recognition” said Aurelia. [Read more…]