Norwich unveils plaque honoring alums who died in Global War on Terror

Family members of fallen soldiers in the Global War on Terror who were Norwich alumni solemnly stand at a new memorial plaque unveiled on Veterans Day.

Family members of fallen soldiers in the Global War on Terror who were Norwich alumni solemnly stand at a new memorial plaque unveiled on Veterans Day. Stephanie White photo.

  When Norwich held its Veteran’s Day ceremony on Nov 11 to honor all veterans, past and present, the university used the occasion to unveil a plaque honoring the six Norwich alumni who gave their lives in the Global War on Terror.
  It was cold and snowy as Norwich Cadets marched across the upper parade ground to pay their respect to those who served in the armed forces.
  The ceremony began as scheduled with the formation of cadets, followed by flyover of two F-16s assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing in Burlington.     The entire crowd turned to watch the skies as the jets roared overhead and disappeared behind Jackman Hall. “In honoring the Veteran’s Day ceremony, the air force had jets fly over Norwich which, in my opinion, was pretty amazing to see,” said Jose Garcia Padilla, a junior English major from San Francisco, Calif.
  After the jets vanished, the band began to march and play. “What followed after that was band’s call for the march to the Upper Parade Ground. I had the honor of initiating the fire with my gun crew,” said Padilla.
  The ceremony continued with the regimental band playing while the cadets marched off the Upper Parade Ground. Padilla said, “it was a really nice ceremony. All went as planned and I think it was a really nice way to pay our respects to those who have served our country over the years and remember the six cadets who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
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Plan for expanded fitness facilities needs funding before it can happen

A lack of space in the Plumley Armory fitness center has long drawn student complaints, but Norwich is making plans to fix the overcrowding – though it will take time.
“Andrews Hall is entering phase three of a construction project for an addition on the athletic complex that will include a new fitness center,” said Anthony Mariano, director of athletics. But for now, the school has embarked on a major campaign for new academic halls that began this fall and is its current focus.
“I think once the school finishes the current capital campaigns, I would bet that the next capital campaigns will be focused on the addition to Andrews,” said Mariano, noting “The school’s priorities are currently set on the new academic halls.”
According to Mariano, phase three in the athletic complex will include a new fitness center that will also include new locker rooms, some office space and an expanded training room that will be added on to Andrew’s Hall, which is connected via Doyle Hall to Kreitzberg Arena.
“The new fitness area would basically incorporate all of the things down in Plumley but in one large room instead of three separate rooms,” said Mariano. The question is, will this gym be used for the athletic teams or for students?
“What hasn’t been determined is whether or not the current space in Plumley will be used,” said Mariano. This plays a big role in the plans for the addition on to Andrews because there is still debate going on about the size of the new fitness center. “Ideally it would be great if we had two fitness areas, one for the student population and one for athletics,” said Mariano.
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Army ROTC field training exercise brings injuries, complaints

Cadets in the field during the recent controversial field training exercise.

Cadets in the field during the recent controversial field training exercise.

A department-wide field training exercise Oct. 14 with the Norwich University Army ROTC resulted in numerous injuries and organizational problems, according to extensive reports from student participants among the 680 Army ROTC cadets of all class years.

Army ROTC officials at Norwich, asked to comment on the problems with the exercise and injuries to cadets, denied any knowledge and promptly escorted this reporter out of their offices on the bottom floor of Jackman Hall.

However, an informal survey and anonymous interviews of students in the FTX was conducted via social media. It not only confirmed extensive problems but detailed numerous injuries suffered during the exercise, which a sophomore army cadet called “overall, a giant charlie foxtrot,” using military slang.

Because ROTC officials declined to comment, a social media survey was used to ask for comments and rating of the exercise. A total of 94 responses were recorded, 42 percent of them from sophomore MS2 cadets. The comments revealed that those participating not only felt that the “planning and organization was horrendous,” but confirmed that numerous cadets ended up in the infirmary, mostly for physical injuries and hypothermia. [Read more…]

As new policy is drafted, transgender students speak out about their experience

Transgender students Bryson Santiago (left) and DeLuka Alexander pose for a picture. They are appreciative of Norwich’s efforts to draft policies for transgender students and say they feel comfortable going to school as members of the Corps of Cadets.

Transgender students Bryson Santiago (left) and DeLuka Alexander pose for a picture. They are appreciative of Norwich’s efforts to draft policies for transgender students and say they feel comfortable going to school as members of the Corps of Cadets.

Norwich University is required by law to honor requests from students for accommodations consistent with their gender identities, and Norwich’s president is affirming the school’s responsibilities.

“The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights in conjunction with the Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights states that recipients of Title IX federal funding cannot exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex of any person in its educational programs or activities,” said Norwich President Richard Schneider in a memorandum Oct. 24. “Funding recipients must treat a person’s gender identity as the person’s sex.”

The president said that Norwich University does not currently have a policy, but university officials are drafting one that allows transgender students to access housing options consistent with their gender identity.

Furthermore, Schneider said that the university may not require transgender students to stay in single occupancy accommodations or to disclose personal information that is not required of any other students.

Cadets and students alike have questioned how this new policy will be implemented and what accommodations would need to be made, but transgender students at Norwich are excited to see what becomes of this policy.

“My goal is to try to get a gender neutral bathroom in every (building),” said Bryson Santiago, 18, a rook in the Corps of Cadets and a health sciences major from The Bronx, N.Y., who is a transgender male. “It is totally necessary, because there are other transgender males in the school who say that using the female (bathroom) is awkward for them.” [Read more…]

New Army ROTC chief implements changes, stresses leadership and training

The Army ROTC program’s new Professor of Military Science (PMS) arrived earlier this 2016 fall semester at Norwich University following a deployment to South Korea, with plans to refine the program’s mission of training and developing future leaders.

At Norwich University, students in the Corps of Cadets deal with a variety of responsibilities: The Corps, their ROTC branch if they are involved in one of the programs, and academics. Col. Jeremy Miller was for the first time exposed to this stress-filled lifestyle when he got to campus, and his reaction was unexpected.

“It surpassed my expectations.” Col. Miller said. In fact, it was one of the first times that his expectations had been surpassed upon arrival to a new duty station, he said. The students had impressed him, particularly how they dealt with juggling these different areas daily.

Yet, Col. Miller said that with every job, nothing is ever perfect. There is always room for improvement, and as the new PMS, Miller’s job is to facilitate that.

ROTC staff feel he’s doing that. “He’s doing a great job, he’s focused on the basics of having a fundamentally strong, high-performing, and high-quality program,” said Julie Craig, the recruiting operations officer for the Army ROTC program at Norwich. [Read more…]

Grumbling among the Corps of the Cadets over the issue of leadership

This year the approach to leadership in the Corps of Cadets leadership has undergone some changes – and not everyone is happy with it.

One change that seems to have created an issue concerns the disciplinary process. When a cadet violates a rule, disciplinary action is administered through the chain of command. In the 2nd battalion, there is a rumor that there is a quota for disciplinary action forms and that has some students upset.

Ian Alford, 20, a psychology major in the Corps from Haverhill, Mass., has heard that and has a negative take on it.

“I can neither confirm or deny this quota issue and I hope it isn’t true, but I heard at one point 30 disciplinary action forms needed to be handed out in my battalion,” said Alford. “This so-called quota makes leaders look for every little possible discrepancy and it causes good students to suffer for innocent mistakes. Telling someone to seek out problems and give punishments and if they fail they get punished is not good leadership, it’s lazy.” [Read more…]

Students say gaming reduces stress, but managing time playing is key

Kevin Kazura and Michelle Masperi relax by playing a video game in a dorm room in Dalrymple Hall. Both are freshmen.

Kevin Kazura and Michelle Masperi relax by playing a video game in a dorm room in Dalrymple Hall. Both are freshmen. Photo by Evan Bowley

The gaming industry hit a record-breaking worth of $91.5 billion in 2015 sales, and there is no doubt gaming has its avid fans at Norwich University and among students nationwide. 

Junior and senior Corps of Cadets students and all civilian Norwich students have been allowed to bringing their gaming devices on campus. As gaming equipment provides features that include both facial and voice recognition and new products, gaming technology is being produced in mass quantity for an affordable rate. 

“In a week, I’ll usually play about four to five hours every weekend,” said Christopher David Reardon Jr., 20, a junior Chinese major and math minor from Burke, Va. “I don’t really play during the week because I’ve got homework. But after managing my time, I have some down time on the weekends to play.”

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After 24 years heading Norwich University, President Schneider still loves his job

President Richard Schneider is Norwich's longest-serving president – and he still loves his job.

President Richard Schneider is Norwich’s longest-serving president, tallying 24 years on the job.

As the 23rd president of Norwich University, Richard Schneider has set a record as the longest-serving president and in the process, gained a 20-plus year history and legacy. While President Schneider is on his 24th year at Norwich University since being appointed in 1992, he has no plans of stopping until he is finished.

“My goal is to continue to advance us, to leave us in a stronger place even than we are today. Forbes (magazine) just rated us as a Class ‘A’ school, and let me tell you, we weren’t in ‘92 when I came, so I’m happy, but I’m not finished yet. I am still as committed to Norwich as the day that I was when I started, maybe I’m even more passionate about it,” said Schneider, who offered a reflection on his tenure during an interview in his office.

President Schneider never wanted to originally leave teaching at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. But he volunteered for different positions and that led him into eventually deciding to seek a presidency job. “My last active duty job was teaching physics at the Coast Guard Academy, I volunteered to be the assistant dean. You volunteer for stuff because you never know what you’re going to learn. So then I went to the University of Delaware, finished my graduate work, and then I went to Drexel. And there they went through three presidents in eight years and I learned of what not to do as President,” said Schneider.

“I was the treasurer, and my doctoral dissertation is in finance. I learned a lot at Drexel, and then you guys (Norwich) came looking for me,” said Schneider. [Read more…]

Shane Breer was a ‘textbook’ case of kindness

Shane Breer was a student at Norwich University before his untimely death on Sept. 3, 2016. His dedication for service to others before self was a way of life he carried into the classroom helping out fellow students.

Now an effort is under way to memorialize his sense of service by creating a scholarship in his name.

“He actually bought textbooks for other students,” said Emily Gray, associate professor of history. “Always anonymously, he would bring them in to faculty members and ask faculty to give them away,” said Gray. [Read more…]

New building will host liberal arts classrooms when Dewey, Webb, Ainsworth renovations start

 Using pre-fab panels, a crane began lifting a new building into place after a foundation was laid in September. It will house classrooms temporarily and then staff and equipment for facility operations. Photo by Evan Bowley.

Using pre-fab panels, a crane began lifting a new building into place after a foundation was laid in September. It will house classrooms temporarily and then staff and equipment for facility operations. Photo by Evan Bowley.

The Norwich University campus will be adding a new academic building in the spring semester. A temporary liberal arts building is being constructed on a site located next to the current facilities and operations garage to allow the renovations of Webb Hall, Dewey Hall, and Ainsworth Hall being undertaken, according to the university’s director of construction services, Brad McKay.

“The older buildings were not really serving our purpose so we decided to go ahead and renovate Dewey, Webb, and Ainsworth,” said McKay. “We were in need of a building to house some of our liberal arts students, so we figured a temporary building was the way to go.”
The older academic buildings on the Norwich campus are severely outdated and in desperate need of updating. The university hopes to have its renovations of those three buildings completed by the bicentennial in 2019.

The university has been studying how to accomplish the upgrades while continuing to provide space for the academic courses in those buildings.
“The original idea was to put a temporary academic building on Disney Field and use that until the renovations were completed,” said McKay. “Then we decided, why not build a building down here (next to the facility operations garage) and use that for academics until Dewey, Webb, and Ainsworth are completed. After their completion, we plan to use this temporary building for facility operations and campus security.”   [Read more…]