Norwich is heightening efforts to help veterans deal with wide range of issues

Vermont National Guard veteran Chris Pond displays the Norwich banner while serving in Afghanistan. He struggled to get back into Norwich when he returned but is now graduating in the class of 2016. The university is overhauling how it addresses veterans issues to make their re-entry easier.

Vermont National Guard veteran Chris Pond displays the Norwich banner while serving in Afghanistan. He struggled to get back into Norwich when he returned but is now graduating in the class of 2016. The university is overhauling how it addresses veterans issues to make their re-entry easier.

Chris Pond enlisted in the National Guard his junior year of high school. Attending training over the summer months, the Braintree, Mass., resident was a soldier even before he chose to attend Norwich University as a Rook.

During his sophomore year, the Vermont National Guard was deployed to Afghanistan, Pond along with them. For nine months he worked as Blackhawk helicopter crew chief before returning home.

Upon coming back, he found he had been completely dis-enrolled from the university, and struggled to find the motivation to return.

“After I got back, I really had to push myself to return,” said the now-23-year-old criminal justice major and senior. “I didn’t receive any support from the school, and I felt I was going at it alone.”

But Norwich has been overhauling the way it accommodates student veterans over the last two years in order to help them better integrate into the college lifestyle, according to the Assistant Director for Student Success/Veteran Affairs, Steve Looke.

“Before we had a veteran advocate of the staff to handle all veteran issues,” said Looke. “Now we have a veteran’s team, with a representative in the registrar’s office, financial aid, the bursar’s, and me.” [Read more…]

Norwich’s 2016 valedictorian overcame disappointment, stayed focused on his goals

Logan Morrison, the 2016 valedictorian for Norwich University, stayed focused and shifted his goals when he discovered he could not join the military.

Logan Morrison, the 2016 valedictorian for Norwich University, stayed focused and shifted his goals when he discovered he could not join the military.

Every school year, the top senior in the class is given the great honor of being the valedictorian, the person who has achieved the highest GPA grade of the class and met a number of other academic criteria.

This year’s valedictorian is Logan Morrison, whose story is one of overcoming adversity and disappointment in being passed up by both the Marine Corps and U.S. Navy for scholarships. But he never quit, and after experiencing failure he learned from it, putting his head down and taking on the mindset that “it was not over for me,” Morrison said.

“I think one of the biggest things that helped me achieve all that I have is self-discipline.” said Morrison, a 22 year-old senior from Amesbury, Mass, who majored in computer security & information assurance with a concentration in digital forensics.

During his time at high school and at Norwich, he said he developed study habits to help him through academics, and one of the things he did was martial arts training to develop this and as a stress reliever.

But he said he also wanted to be a well-rounded person who got involved in extracurricular work with things that extended past just the academics.

“I failed to do most of these things in high school,” said Morrison. “However, I think the best thing I can say as to how I achieved what I did was finding balance.” [Read more…]

For two Afghan students, Norwich provides opportunity to give students a view of their war-torn country

Muhammad Ali Shahidy and Fareed Ahmadi are the two only international students from Afghanistan who attend Norwich University, and they bring a unique background and perspective to the NU community, which they are eager to share.

Both students will go out of their way to educate Norwich students about their culture and country.

“I want to give them the Afghanistan I know, and take the Afghanistan they know and compare them,” says Ahmadi, a 23-year-old sophomore who is a business management major who hails from the capital city of Kabul.

He aims to talk about his country and culture in order to give students here at NU a better understanding of his native land. He enjoys talking with cadets and students in a casual environment where he can simply converse and tell them about his country.

Norwich University has over just a little over 2,500 undergraduate students, and less than one percent are international students. Seventy percent of the population of students are Caucasian thus leaving the other 30 percent a blend of African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander. (This information can be located at http://www.collegeview.com/schoolfacts/norwich-university/all) [Read more…]

Shaw Outdoor Center hopes disc golf course catches on with students

Finding a niche is a tough task for most college students throughout their four years, especially freshman year. Without an activity like a sports team, the first weeks or even months can be a trying time figuring out where they belong.

Staying physically active is no easy task for college students either with all of the responsibilities of class, homework, and other extracurricular activities that take up time. For Colin O’Neil, the manager of Norwich’s Shaw Outdoor Center, fusing those two problems together into one easy solution is an important aspect of the Shaw Center.

The Shaw Center, located at the bottom of Paine Mountain, built a new disc golf course in the fall of 2015 that it is promoting this spring to students, said O’Neil.

“It took a few days of walking, and plotting the general layout and to then create an actionable plan for 18 holes,” O’Neil said. “I designed and managed the creation of a nearby disc golf course. I also have helped with planning, layout, and safety of five other courses in Vermont and New York.”

Disc golf evolved in the early 1960s when participants threw Frisbees at trees as targets. In today’s modern game, players throw the discs into “holes – 18 baskets that have chains connected to them – hence the golf connection.

“Disc golf has been the fastest growing sport in the USA for at least six years, and given that there are around 4,000 public courses in the US, there will be a demand for the sport from future Norwich students,” O’Neil said. “It’s a great lifetime sport that’s fun exercise, which I want to introduce to the Norwich community.” [Read more…]

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…]