For architecture students, Berlin offers an eye-opening view of buildings and culture

Left to right, architecture students Shannon Heck, Shaili Patel, Kristen Houghton, Michelle Lee and Katarina Wabrek at Germany’s historic capitol building in Berlin, the Reichstag.

Left to right, architecture students Shannon Heck, Shaili Patel, Kristen Houghton, Michelle Lee and Katarina                Wabrek at Germany’s historic capitol building in Berlin, the Reichstag.

Temporary living in a city that has been developed and reconstructed as it has been battered and divided over time, has proven to be quite an interesting experience.

Having chosen Norwich University based on its School of Architecture + Art, a lack of urban context can be a serious downfall when studying architecture. The department has made up for this by providing juniors and seniors with the opportunity to study abroad at a satellite campus in Berlin, Germany, through CityLAB: Berlin, directed by Architect Christian Dengler. After looking forward to this experience since my freshman year, I have transitioned between various states of being since arriving to Berlin.

Start with culture shock: Berlin is not a “beautiful European city.” After getting over all the graffiti-covered facades, I found a city that has a life like no other, famous for all-weekend-long parties and the fact that beer costs less than water in most establishments, and I grew comfortable in my surroundings. As terror continues to strike in European, I began to analyze the situation I had found myself in the middle of. [Read more…]

After a semester abroad in the Czech Republic, life takes on a different view

Senior Jesse Abruzzi looks out of the landscape of Bohemia in the Czech Republic during one of his excursions while spending a semester abroad.

Senior Jesse Abruzzi looks out of the landscape of Bohemia in the Czech Republic during one of his trips while spending a semester abroad.

Studying abroad is an expansive experience that is talked about in thin and narrow ways. When asked about it in conversation, typically trite and banal phrases are mustered: It was “life-changing” or “mind-broadening” are usual suspects. To be fair, these words are absolutely correct, but so much is packed into each pair of words. It can be difficult to speak about a period in life that can be so sensory overloading. Even for me, it is an experience that I continue to unpack from my mind months later. Still, it’s a disservice to one’s actual experience not to try to provide more substance.

I spent the fall semester in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic — a country self-described as the heart of Europe, situated between Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Poland. The excellent program Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA) was my middleman provider. They settled all document and visa work, lessening all my burdens save the required financial payments. The program was even kind enough to enroll me in Anglo-American University, the school CEA partners with. It was a fascinatingly diverse university, a hodgepodge of Czechs, Germans, Americans, Kazakhs, Palestinians, Syrians, Norwegians, Dutch, Russians, English, Vietnamese, etc, etc. It placed the tired adage of America as a “melting-pot” of cultures to shame. My trip was a veritable trek back to the old world, a reverse Columbus. Unlike Columbus, my interactions with the natives were amicable and ended significantly less bloody. [Read more…]

On Taiwan tour, students and professors visit Chinese military academies

The Norwich delegation in a group picture with faculty and staff at Fu Hsing Kang University in Taiwan.

The Norwich delegation in a group picture with faculty and staff at Fu Hsing Kang University in Taiwan.

I am a sophomore in the Corp of Cadets with the rank of c/Corporal. I am double majoring in International Studies and Chinese (Mandarin) language, the president of Norwich’s Chinese Cultural and Language Club, and a member of the Norwich football team. This past spring break I was selected, following an application process, to represent Norwich University as a part of a Norwich International Center sponsored student delegation that traveled to two military academies on the island of Taiwan, located 110 east of mainland China. The delegation was led and organized by a three-person committee which included Dr. Joseph Byrne, associate vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Alex Chung, assistant professor of economics and finance, and Mindy Ward, the senior coordinator for international student & scholar services of Norwich’s International Center.

The committee had a very selective application process that only chose four students; after applying in November, only 10 students out of roughly 34 applicants were invited for an interview a month later. During finals week, the student delegates were informed of their acceptance. Besides myself, the others chosen were senior Peter Carbone; junior Mickey Walbridge; and sophomore Lauren Lohmiller. [Read more…]

The time-honored junior ring tradition has roots going back to 1937

The year is 1973, a Norwich cadet is a junior and is going to be getting something he had been waiting two-and-a-half years for.

April was right around the corner and it couldn’t come any slower. He had been a part of a committee that worked on it all of sophomore year.

Michael Kelly, an associate professor of civil engineering, received his Norwich class ring that year on the annual junior ring weekend.

Kelley described his class ring in 1973, noting it showed peace with doves, knowledge, Jackman Hall, and the clock with hands that were set to 3 o’clock because that was when their parents had to leave on the day they dropped them off.

“The screaming and shouting started,” said Kelley.

“We never officially got recognized so we didn’t put the month and the date like they (students) do now,” said Kelley. “The ring also had bars at the bottom which represented each semester so there were four bars on each side.” It also had the class year on it.

“We worked on the design during the sophomore year and finished it up in the fall,” said Kelley. “Then everyone found out about them and placed their order.” [Read more…]

Norwich students praise Coaching for Leadership program

Junior Noah Clemmer participates in an ethical decision-making exercise during the Coaching for Leadership program. Photo by Mark Collier

Junior Noah Clemmer participates in an ethical decision-making exercise during the Coaching for Leadership program. Photo by Mark Collier

On Saturday, March 5th, Norwich University held its annual Coaching for Leadership Program (CLP). According to the university’s website, the purpose of the CLP is to help students “build self-awareness and prepare for real-world careers in the public and private sectors”.

Students from both the civilian side and the Corps of Cadets participated in the day-long event. Similar to results from years past, both students and alumni mentors felt that the CLP was a success.

“The whole event was something that I am definitely going to propose to my superiors when I get back home,” said Nikola Manev, a study-abroad student from Macedonia who participated in the CLP. [Read more…]

Norwich club hockey team is now undefeated two years running

With an overall record of 41-7-1 the last three years, the Norwich men’s club ice hockey team has gone undefeated in its conference for the second year in a row. The club program, for the last three straight years, has won both the regular season and conference championships.

Finishing this season with a record of 18-0-0, there is no question that Norwich’s club hockey team has built a legitimate name for the program since the team was first put together in 2009.

The team’s secret to success lies within the strong bond between the players, according to head coach Bruce Baroffio Jr. With only three civilian students on the team, the tight bond that is built between all the players in the Corps of Cadets has shown to carry over on the ice.

Baroffio has been the head coach for the last three seasons. Barrofio was the assistant coach for the two years prior to being named the head coach. He credits bringing new structure to the program for the success. “Since implementing a systems approach for the team style of play, we have seen drastic improvements to the team’s success,” said Baroffio. [Read more…]

Big Man On Campus: Mike Hogervorst of Holland easily towers over fellow students

At 6 feet, 11 inches, Mike Hogervorst, #34, towers over everyone else on the court. He's the tallest guy on campus.

At 6 feet, 11 inches, Mike Hogervorst, #34, towers over everyone else on the court. He’s the tallest guy on campus. Photo by Mark Collier.

Mike Hogervorst stands at a towering six feet and 11 inches and wears a size 15 shoe. He’s from the Netherlands and he’s currently attending Norwich and plays basketball on the Norwich men’s team.

Hogervorst’s daily schedule isn’t much different from any other Norwich student. He attends classes and attempts to sneak in a nap or two, but unlike other students Hogervorst ducks his head under an occasional doorway or two and sleeps on a bed that happens to be shorter than he is.

Hogervorst, a 20-year-old sophomore majoring in electrical engineering, is clearly the tallest student on campus. That helps when it comes to basketball. He plays center position on the Norwich University team and has scored over 300 points during the season and pulled down, not surprisingly, 132 rebounds – the most on the team. [Read more…]

Among faculty at Norwich, survey reveals there is uniform dissent

Unlike some of his colleagues, Prof. Edwin Schmeckpeper, the department chair for civil and environmental engineering, thinks faculty uniforms are an important part of Norwich tradition worth keeping.

Unlike some of his colleagues, Prof. Edwin Schmeckpeper, the department chair for civil and environmental engineering, feels faculty uniforms are an important part of Norwich tradition worth keeping.

Michael Kelley first donned the Norwich cadet uniform in the fall of 1970. In 1974, he traded that in for the uniform of a US Army officer.

Following a two-year break to further his education, Kelley wore that uniform for the next 27 years, rising to the rank of colonel. Eleven of those years were spent as a professor at the United States Military Academy, better known as West Point.

When he retired in 2003, he returned to his alma Mater and donned the uniform of the Vermont State Militia, first as the Vice President of Student Affair and Commandant of Cadets, then as an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, where he remains today.

Despite his 44 years wearing a uniform and long history with Norwich, he isn’t convinced that wearing the Army Green uniform is the best choice for the school.

“My recommendation would be: retired military, if you wish to, wear your retired military uniform,” he said. “If you were not in the military, I would go on the side of wearing appropriate civilian attire.”

He is not alone.
[Read more…]

‘Win-Win’ proposal seeks to reduce ROTC course requirement for students not seeking military contracts.

Amber Reichart Photo

Amber Reichart Photo

If proposed changes are approved, Corps of Cadets students not seeking military contracts will have to take just four, instead of the current six, ROTC classes to earn a Military College of Vermont (MCV) diploma and ring effective fall of 2017.

Col.Andy Hird, head of the Air Force department and professor of aerospace science, is acting spokesman for this change. He said the theme is opportunity and diversity: putting the power of decision of how best to develop one’s academic and professional growth in the hands of both cadets and civilians.

“If we do change, it’s going to be a win-win for everybody,” Hird said, “this is intended to be a win for seeking-cadets, non-seeking-cadets, civilian students, and the university.”

Those wins come in the form of five interconnected modifications to how ROTC coursework “interacts with the university,” he said, ranging from a formalized definition of the term free-elective to allowing civilians a seat in military classrooms.

Most critical of these changes, as felt by the three of the ROTC branches, is the “six-to-four” change, as Hird referred to it; the reduction of ROTC classes that corps students not seeking contracts are currently required to take. [Read more…]

As rooks gain ‘recognition,’ a look back at how times have changed in the corps

The rook class of 2015 and symbols of their recognition into the Norwich Corps of Cadets.

The rook class of 2015 and symbols of their recognition into the Norwich Corps of Cadets.

Congratulations to the rook class of 2015 on your recent recognition as cadets of Norwich. As you celebrate your accomplishment and revel in your new freedom, take a moment to reflect on those who came before you. Many professors you see in the classroom were once in a similar position. Here are a couple of their memories.


Prof. Mike Kelley,
Associate Professor, David Crawford School of Engineering. Rook Class of ‘70

We wore white name tags throughout the spring, and while we were in a much more relaxed mode of operations, I don’t believe that we were ever formally recognized. [Read more…]