SGA: For the students, made up of students

Left to right, SGA secretary and sophomore Madhurane Muthukumaraswany, president and senior Audrey Meakin, and junior Liam Manning..

In the last year, many changes have occurred on Norwich’s campus, from new buildings to new policies. While some of these are credited to the commandants or Norwich administration, there are other groups and organizations that are also working towards positive change for the students and the university.

One of the changes that was made in the 2018-2019 academic year was to appeal a proposal to tighten Norwich’s honors requirements. This action was, in part, due to an increasingly active role being taken by the Norwich University Student Government Association (SGA).

According to Prof. Mike Kelley, the faculty advisor for the SGA, the changes to honors requirements was the “perfect” opportunity for the governing bodies at Norwich to work together to find a solution in a matter that was important to both sectors.

The SGA had been hearing complaints from the current seniors and juniors about a proposal on what qualifies as “cum laude” Latin honors. Norwich SGA for 2018-2019 was under the leadership of Executive Branch President Audrey Meakin and Senate Chairman TJ Carley. With their collaboration they were able to execute changes in the Latin honors designations on behalf of their fellow students.

The honors issue involved a plan to change the grade requirements, which would have impacted a large number of upperclass juniors and seniors.
“Juniors and graduating seniors had worked really hard to get an honor that will go on their resume and on their diploma,” said senior Audrey Meakin, a 22-year-old from Marblehead, Mass. “The way it was implemented was so you could work three years to get cum laude with a 3.0 GPA (grade point average), but then it was changed 3.4 and there was no time consideration or grandfather clause. This is where SGA stepped in.” [Read more…]

Norwich Cadet Cole Nickerson has his own unique spin on life

Yo-yo whiz Cole Nickerson shows off a trick for our Guidon photographer Andrew Thomas. His unusual passion has caught the attention of many classmates.

Norwich University’s Cole Nickerson was once a passionate fan of the art of yo-yoing, but life took him down a different path. Luckily for Nickerson, and many others, that passion was sparked once again.
“I was amazed the first time I saw someone with a yo-yo that didn’t retract immediately. That was in seventh grade. A buddy of mine got me into it, and the passion took me pretty far,” said Nickerson, a 20-year-old junior in the Corps of Cadets from Nashua, N.H.
“I found my old yo-yo from seventh grade while I was cleaning out my bedroom over spring break, and I felt the passion reignite me into the yo-yo life,” said Nickerson.
Nickerson’s re-sparked joy for yo-yoing has gained him a respectable following as a result of his cool tricks, quirky lingo, and approachable demeanor.
Since March 19, when he launched his Instagram page, Nickerson’s following has seen rapid growth racking up a multitude of likes, comments, and views on his pictures and videos using Instagram as his only social media platform. [Read more…]

A painful ruck, a great cause

Skyler Grathwohl and Alexandria Spezia truck up a hill during the Norwegian Ruck March on March 30. Ethan Hagstrom photo

For Alexandria Spezia, helping to organize one of the most intense events at Norwich University was a welcome challenge. Actually doing it was even better.

The Norwegian ruck march is a yearly fundraising tradition to raise money for the Wounded Veteran Retreat Program.
“I helped the organization this year and I was promoting something that I had never done before,” said Spezia, a 21-year-old junior, computer and electrical engineering major from Wyckoff; N.J.

Spezia felt like it was finally time for her to get out there and attempt the daunting ruck march. So on March 30, she joined with lots of cadets who embarked on a march totaling 18.6 miles, not to mention a distance also tallied in blisters and very tired feet and legs.

For those who don’t know, a ruck march involves carrying a pack with a certain amount of weight.. “The average weight for the army is 35 pounds, then they give you a distance, and you run, jog, walk or whatever to get to that distance,” explained Steve Rabbia, 19, a sophomore history major from New Hartford; N.Y.

The designed route for the event took the cadets towards the town of Roxbury down route 12A, past Roxbury, and back to campus.
“The founder created this ruck march for his son who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan,” Spezia said. “All this is for a great cause and it makes it worth it.”

Both civilians and corps are welcome to join for a $15 entrance fee, with all the proceeds destined to support the Wounded Veteran Retreat Program.

“I think it’s a good cause and it’s cool that the event is something physically and mentally challenging,” Rabbia said.
Going through a physically grueling event alone can prove to be quite the challenge. Most participants preferred to face the 18.6 miles-long adventure with a four-people team or less.

Spezia started with a group but, during the event, they got split up. She ended up staying with one team member the whole time, and the two of them endured together.

“I ran it with Skylar Grathwohl. I learned that day that Skylar has really long legs and that I would have to run to keep up with her,” laughed Spezia.
[Read more…]

In MCW, the bonds make it all worthwhile

Members of the Cold Weather Mountain Team stand atop a frigid peak during a training outing this winter. Photo by Darwin Carozza

“If you pass, you’re in the company.”

“If you fail, you’re out of the company.”

Those are the clear rules, says Allyson Cleary, a senior “black hat” in the Mountain Cold Weather Company.

The Mountain Cold Weather Company has been around since 1947 on the Norwich University campus. To join the ranks of the company, candidates must take on a year of training to prove they have what it takes to uphold everything the Mountain Cold Weather Company stands for.

“Black hat testing is the end of first-year training and to see how (mountaineering) skills have developed over the year,” explained Cleary. At that point a whole year of training can be cut short in an instant by failing to meet the requirements of earning a coveted black hat designation.
[Read more…]

A shift in culture at Norwich

Women’s panel offers perspectives on female paths, leadership paths

Norwich University admissions advisor Sarah DeBouter found her experiences as a former female civilian student to be a driving force in her efforts to create inclusiveness and connections for future students at the university.

“I did experience a lot of adversity as a strong female leader on a primarily male dominated campus,” DeBouter said of her four years of study at Norwich. “When I think about my experience as a student, and what I would have made it better, I think about having more resources accessible to minorities on campus.”

DeBouter was the only female member of the honor committee during the merger of civilian and cadet honor committees her junior year. It was the first year civilian students had a voice on campus and could participate in designing their own class rings.

“I was told more than once that I had no right to speak or to an opinion,” DeBouter said. “There was a large tension between the lifestyles, and I think that fueled a lot of my fire.”

As the official coordinator, DeBouter encouraged students, staff, and the local community to join her in Milano Ballroom on March 25th for a women’s panel for open discussion and a networking event to highlight their accomplishments in the face of adversity.
[Read more…]

New silver coin will mark commissioning

In the spring of 2015, 21-year-old Kalynn Butchko was notified that she had been wait-listed for the United States Air Force Academy and reluctantly began looking elsewhere to start her college career.

The senior mechanical engineering major from Las Vegas, NV., chose Norwich to take advantage of opportunities with the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (AFROTC).

“Norwich had something more to offer than all of the other schools,” Butchko said. “It’s just the right amount of military and just the right amount of college. I’m honestly glad I didn’t get into the Academy.”

One of the opportunities she probably never expected was to create a brand new tradition at Norwich.

Recently, she and five of her peers, representing their respective ROTC military branches, were selected to serve on a prestigious committee charged with coming up with a design for a new coin that is destined to stand the test of time and become ingrained in Norwich heritage.

For the first time in collegiate military history, Norwich University will be awarding newly commissioned seniors silver challenge coins. The university’s president is hoping graduates will keep the coins forever as their “personal coins” and a reminder of their roots.
[Read more…]

Unit Manning Reports mean job anxiety

Every year members of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets get nervous waiting for decisions on what assignments they will get next year in the corps. This was especially true after it was announced the decisions would be a week later than the announced deadline just before spring break.

Annabell Davis was one of those waiting to see what would happen.

“I didn’t know if I was going getting the job I wanted,” said Davis, 19, a sophomore mathematics major from Rocky Top, Tenn., “and the wait made me nervous.”

“It was all worthwhile when the UMR came out,” she said. “Lt. Col. Edwards walked over with Aiden Cruz and said ‘Mr. Cruz, do you know Ms. Davis and Cruz said, ‘yes sir’ and finally, Lt. Col. Edwards said ‘Well you’re looking at your First Sergeant.”

The UMR (Unit Manning Report) for the school year 2019-2020 was released on Monday, March 18, telling many cadets what their job in the corps would be for the upcoming year. Everyone who wants a job in the corps must apply and then cadets are ranked in an order of merit list. The commandant staff looks at the cadet’s GPA, PT score, extracurricular activities and a plethora of other factors and accomplishments.
[Read more…]

Commandant’s leave policy memo on junior ring weekend creates cadet confusion, frustration

Confusion and frustration have resulted from a March 19 memo by Commandant of Cadets Col. Michael Titus regarding the policy for leave over Junior Ring Weekend and its conflicting date with Easter weekend.

While the release of the memo highlighted a policy that has been in practice for years, a number of cadets have been forced to change their plans for one of the highlight weekends marking a milestone in their progress in the Corps of Cadets.

Junior Ring Weekend is a much anticipated event that cadets, and civilians, look forward to reaching at Norwich. Upon fulfilling the requirements to receive their rings, they are rewarded with a weekend of leave and a chance to celebrate with friends and alumni.

The ceremony where students receive their rings is school-sanctioned at two separate events, for civilian students and cadets. How students choose to conduct post-event celebrations aftewards is their own choice, but it has long been tradition for many students to rent a condomium somewhere to drink safely and legally off campus, spending time with friends and alumni who join in the ceremonies.

Col. Titus’ policy states that “…resort condominiums which are typically booked by Norwich students celebrating receipt of their junior rings are OFF LIMITS to freshman and sophomore cadets.”

Col. Titus also stated that “the primary reason for the policy is because this year, unlike previous years, Junior Ring Weekend coincided with Easter weekend.”

“Since the two coincide this year we had to find a way to reconcile these two vastly different leave policies. This policy memo is that solution,” Col. Titus wrote.
[Read more…]

Hard work by ‘Shock Platoon’ puts Norwich drill team in top ranks

As cadets from 24 different military schools sat in a small auditorium at Tulane University, members of Norwich’s Shock Platoon anxiously awaited the scores from the judges in the annual nationwide drill competition.

Instructors from Tulane University, who were the hosts for the Mardi Gras collegiate nationals, announced that the United States Military Academy (west Point) had taken third place overall. Then they announced that Norwich University had taken second place.

“I was absolutely shocked,” said Joseph Kim, a senior civil engineering major and commander of the Shock Platoon, who noted they “came down all the way from Vermont” the first weekend in March to prove they were capable of putting on a top-notch performance.

That they did. Norwich’s Shock Platoon competitors put on a show at Tulane University, taking honors as the only school to place in every single event, along with winning second overall in the nation.

“We worked extremely hard to get where we were at,” said Shawn H. Wan, a 21-year-old senior computer security and information assurance major from Jackson, N.J., who heads the drill team. “Being the commander for two of the events, it was humbling to see how far we came,” he said.
[Read more…]