For longtime VP of students Frank Vanacek, Norwich character seen as defining trait

 

Vice President of Student Affairs Frank Vanecek has been at Norwich almost four decades, and has a strong sense of what defines the school.

As a boisterous laugh from outside his first-floor window peeled his eyes away from his computer screen, Frank Vanacek’s gaze rested on a group of students laughing in the warmth of the spring weather outside. Smiling to himself, the Vice President of Student Affairs turned back to his desk and let his mind wander to years past.

“I have taught at three other institutions other than Norwich University during my time working in higher education, and I will say that after my experiences at those other schools, I would choose Norwich over them every single time,” said Vanacek, who has been a higher education professional for almost four decades.

Vanacek doesn’t mean any offense to the other institutions that occupied his time, he simply says, they didn’t have what Norwich has. “Their students didn’t have that special character about them. They didn’t have the Norwich character,” said Vanacek. [Read more…]

For Norwich seniors, it’s a look back at many memories, and a look ahead to the future

It’s like any other day for Angel Cruz, you wake up to get ready for school, making sure that you have all that you need. Yet those days were getting closer to an end for Cruz, a 21-year-old senior from Passaic, N.J.

With less than a week before graduation, “it’s an unreal feeling, knowing that my first 16 years of education are coming to an end, and I will be on my own for the first time,” Cruz said.

Like many Norwich students who are finishing their four years and about to join the class of 2018, Cruz was excited to discuss his future. And like his fellow seniors, who come from all backgrounds to Norwich to face challenges, gain leadership experience as well as to find new families, it is a time to look back as well.

“I recently bought my graduation tickets for my family to come see me, it’s exciting to know that they will be here to see me finish my time. They are very proud of me to see my accomplishments and how far I got,” Cruz said.
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Controversy surrounds the ring

Forty-three years ago, David Whaley received his Norwich University cadet ring in the mess hall, alongside the rest of the class of 1976.

“Receiving the ring was about being welcoming and forming a bond of a class,” said David Whaley, vice president of development, alumni relations and communications, Class of 1976, and a former NU Class Ring Advisor.

Throughout the years that Whaley has attended and worked at Norwich University, the requirements and the formality of the NU cadet class ring have changed.

“There was not a physical fitness test to pass, a certain number of credits or a number of semesters in the corps. We were much more open back then,” Whaley said.

The change in the process and increasing formalities have created an issue this year for two second-year cadets who are academic juniors and took a non-traditional route to the ring. Uproar over the approval caused the cadets to ask The Guidon not to use their names in this story.

“Two second-year cadets submitted a request for a waiver based on the fact that they were academic juniors but entered the corps in a non-traditional way,” said Col. Michael Titus, 55th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets.

Traditionally, Norwich University cadets enter the corps their freshmen year as a rook, where they receive training from upperclass cadets on what it means to be a cadet, until they get formally recognized as a cadet in the spring semester and then continue as cadets until their senior year. [Read more…]

Norwich hockey community mourns, comes together after Saskatchewan junior hockey team’s crash takes 16 lives

The bonds athletes make with their teammates are almost incomparable. For a junior league hockey player, they’re as tight as it gets: When you eat, sleep and breathe the sport of hockey with the same 20-odd guys every day and night for eight months out of the year, the brotherhood bond is inevitable.

Freshman Norwich ice hockey player Michael Korol can attest to this brotherhood, and feels especially blessed for the memories he has been given with his former junior league hockey team, the Humboldt Broncos. Now, he cherishes them a little extra following the deadly accident that occurred in Saskatchewan leading to heartbreak all over the country.

Sixteen junior league hockey members of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) woke up on Friday morning unaware of the fate that awaited them later that evening on April 6.

The Humboldt Broncos were on their way to game five of the SJHL playoffs last Friday evening when their bus suddenly was hit at an intersection by a semi-trailer on Highway 35 just miles north of Tisdale, Saskatchewan.

For Korol here in Northfield, the terrible accident hit home. [Read more…]

For foreign faculty, an adventurous path to NU

Years ago, two Norwich professors, despite coming from different countries, had a common dream. That dream is what brought them across the ocean, and made them settle in the United States.

“When I was young, I really wanted to go to Washington DC, study politics, and then go back to Korea and become a politician,” said Prof. Yangmo Ku, an assistant professor of political science. “As that time went by, that plan changed dramatically, and rather than go back I decided to stay here, study more, and eventually I became faculty.”

Alex Chung, an assistant professor of economics and finance from Taiwan, China, tells a similar story. He was just a young student when he made the same decision to undertake a study abroad experience in the USA.

“At the beginning I had no intention in staying here for a long time. I just wanted to get a master’s, work for a couple of years, and then go back to China,” Chung said. “In Taiwan you get more job possibilities if you studied in the United States, plus my entire family lived there.”

Among the faculty members at Norwich coming from different countries, many started as international students who then became permanent immigrants to the United States, thanks to study or work opportunities, according to Chung and Ku. [Read more…]

UNIFY holds first annual ball

Most weekends at Norwich University, students are resting from a busy week, found in their rooms or blowing off steam off-campus. Others are found quietly studying in the library. However, a small group can be found in Andrews Hall, working out on Sunday afternoons.

Lydia Guy says that Sundays are her favorite days because of the work, and workout, she gets to do. She spends her Sundays with Special Olympic Athletes. After nearly a whole school year of Sundays spent working out, they decided to have a celebration of sorts.

On March 31, the UNIFY group on campus threw a ball for the special athletes and their mentors to celebrate the work they have done the past year, and the work they will continue to do. The theme was a masquerade ball, and guests showed up in formal dresses and suits.

The ball included a sword arc performed by members of the drill company, as well as a formal dinner. Then the special athletes, mentors, and their families spent the night dancing and taking pictures.

Anthony Rodriguez Jr, a 20-year-old communications major from San Antonio, Texas, was one of the cadets on the sword arc. Donning his most formal uniform, he said it was an “incredible honor to perform this detail,” and that he would do it “time and time again,” if he could. [Read more…]

Lights out at Norwich!

Almost everyone has been through some kind of black out or power outage. They have happened all over the world, and they are nothing new, but a recent power outage at Norwich revealed a crazy side of what happens when the lights go out.

It was just like any regular evening around 10 p.m. for Kaylan Duncan, 20, from Chicago, Ill. He was relaxing during his usual Wednesday night entertainment. “I was playing PubG on my personal computer, you know the usual,” said Duncan “When all of a sudden my computer crapped out, and so did all of the other lights around me.”

“Even though I was in the middle of a winning streak, I knew it was probably just a glitch or a short blackout,” said Duncan. “I just tried to stay calm and grab a flashlight or something, just like any regular human being would — but I look out of my fifth story window out to the U.P. and the whole campus just goes bats–t crazy.”

Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on April 3, the student body and Corps of Cadets at Norwich went crazy and weird activities, pranks and a loss of total control took over the Upper Parade Ground during a 15 minute blackout in the town of Northfield. Instead of reacting to the power outage like Duncan, a business management major, “hundreds were out on the U.P. doing just the weirdest things you could possibly imagine,” said Duncan. [Read more…]

The Brian Bill Memorial Challenge

Expect Challenge. Achieve Distinction, is a phrase pasted on any sort of Norwich University informational packet one can think of.

Expecting challenge is exactly what Brian R. Bill did upon arriving to campus as a freshman.

He distinguished himself through his graduation from Norwich University by gaining a degree in electrical engineering. He made that choice of major because he found it to be the most difficult major available to students.

Bill was also involved with the Mountain & Cold Weather Company (MCW) and the varsity swim team during his time at Norwich. He took down any obstacle that was in his path and gave anything he attempted his all.

When Brian R. Bill was killed in action on Aug. 6, 2011, after his CH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down while on a mission over Afghanistan, the Norwich University Golden Anchor Society began holding an annual memorial challenge in honor of Bill.

“The challenge is something along a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race concepts where participants run through a 3-mile, 5-mile, or 10-mile event that contains different obstacles that they have to get through, around, or over,” said Jake Nichols, a 21-year old senior geology major from Batavia, N.Y.

Nichols is the current president of the Golden Anchor Society on campus and was the person spearheading the organization, planning, and preparation of this year’s Brian R. Bill Memorial Challenge. [Read more…]

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…]