VAP policy at Norwich undergoes changes

Norwich University has changed the Violation of Alcohol policy for the 2017-2018 school year due to previous ineffectual policies that failed to reduce the number of violations. According to Frank Vanecek, senior vice president for student affairs and technology, the policy was modified during the spring semester of 2017.

Vanecek said that those involved in changing the policy were the SGA (Student Government Association), the commandant’s office, university adjudicators, and finally the president. The policy had to go through various chains of command before being finalized to ensure that it was understood and fair.

“We wanted to rethink it to see if we could come up with a solution that might actually reduce the drinking. Based on the history and numbers of incidents, it didn’t seem to us that the punishments we were giving out were making much of an impact,” said Vanecek.

According to Norwich University Crime Statistics, there were 70 liquor law violations in 2014, 65 in 2015, and 73 in 2016. Most of those violations took place in the residence halls. There is no specification whether they took place in barracks or civilian dorms.

Norwich’s history with alcohol is more than violations on campus. In 2011, a vehicle carrying eight students crashed, killing one. The driver was intoxicated. In 1984, the Norwich Fire Brigade dispatched four cadets on a call. The driver was still inebriated from the party he attended the night before. He crashed the vehicle, killing all 4 occupants.

“I’ve spoken to a few (alumni) since last spring, and I threw it out there to hear what they think. They think it was a reasonable policy,” Vanecek said. “I didn’t get any negative comments from the alums,” During the 70’s, the legal age to drink in Vermont was 18, so it was common for cadets to drink to commemorate recognition, the night where freshmen recruits (rooks) officially become cadets. Most rooks are not of legal age, and typically are not allowed in legal drinking areas on campus. [Read more…]

Corps housing crunch causes some concerns

For the 2017 fall semester at Norwich University, almost 40 upperclass Corps of Cadets were assigned to live in lounges and classrooms instead of traditional barracks or dorms, according to student housing and admissions.

Typically, Corps students live in barracks that are located on the upper parade ground, which is commonly referred to as “the UP.” These barracks are separated from the civilian dorms.

Major Justin LeFebvre, the NUCC commandant adjutant, makes the decisions for where the Corps students will live. He has been working at Norwich University for 15 years, however, this is his first year being in charge of the housing office. He has had his “eyes opened” and is aware of the many “challenges” that housing entails.

According to LeFebvre, there were multiple reasons as to why certain cadets were assigned to live in a classroom or lounge. If a student didn’t “complete housing forms, tell housing they were coming back, or were readmitted at the last moment,” there was no reserved space for them.

“If I don’t know they are coming back I can’t give them a bed on the UP,” LeFebvre said. [Read more…]

Meet Col. Michael Titus, the 55th Commandant of the Corps of Cadets

Col. Michael Titus.

Col. Michael Titus sat back in his chair, still getting used to his new office in Jackman Hall. He checked over his uniform and moved the items on his desk around to get comfortable. He looked out the window, which was partially obscured by the regalia of the United States, Vermont, and Norwich flags.

The Pennsylvania native looked through the notes on his desk as he readied himself. It was a dreary day at Norwich with a couple gray clouds but it was a perfect day for the 55th Commandant of Cadets.

“I grew up in a small town, it really shaped who I am today,” said Titus, a colonel in the Vermont State Militia, and the new Commandant of Cadets. “Not so different from Northfield or any small town in Central Vermont.” [Read more…]

Norwich’s new rook cell phone policy: A bad call?

Two rooks use their cell phones in their barracks on the UP.

Despite backlash from upperclassmen, the rook cell phone policy has been changed for the class of 2021, starting with the beginning of classes this fall.

The changes were announced in a letter released on Aug. 16, 2017. “It was matter of when, not if,” said Cadet Colonel Timothy Weinhold, 21, a senior criminal justice major from Concord, N.H. and the top Cadet in the Corps.

The policy letter identified rules on “cell phone usage and restrictions,” explaining that rooks are now authorized to have their phones in their possession, but are prohibited to use their cell phones, unless they have a commandant’s permission or the phone is required for their academics.

In past years, rooks were not allowed to have their cellphones except for a ten minute phone call on Sunday. They were awarded the privilege of having their phones per the regimental commanders orders.

According to Weinhold, the new Commandant of Cadets Colonel Michael S. Titus did not come up with the change in cell phone policy. “Col. Titus walked in and the policy letter was on his desk,” said Weinhold, explaining that this new policy was one of the “final pushes” from Colonel Russell Holden, former Commandant of Cadets. He said the idea of changing rook’s cell phone use “has been in discussion since last year.”

The “liability and safety of rooks” was the biggest concern that pushed the policy to begin the start of the academic year, because rooks “no longer have direct communication and 24/7 supervision from their cadre” like they had during Rook Week, Weinhold said. The RAVE system uses calls and text to notify students if, or where, an emergency happens and “it is the only way for the rooks would know if something bad is happening on campus.”

Connor Guzda, 20, a junior communications major from New Fairfield, Conn. and a member of the cadre, concurred with Weinhold’s statement. “From what I know, it (the policy) was put in place mainly for the RAVE emergency system.”

  [Read more…]

For foreign student-athletes, there are many challenges to overcome

International student-athletes at Norwich University encounter hardships with finances, fitting in, and leaving home, according to N.U. coaches and athletes.

Attending college at Norwich is a “big time and financial commitment for the international student-athletes,” said Adam Pfeifer, Norwich’s head men’s soccer coach. However according to foreign students interviewed, the end product will be worth the all the financial, emotional, and lifestyle changes they are overcoming.

International student-athletes enrolling at Norwich is an increasingly popular trend during the past decade, according to NU coaches. Interviews offer a perspective on the challenges such athletes face and how they overcome them – and also how coaches are trying to adapt to their presence.

“In my 25 years here, having an international student has not occurred very often,” said Paul Booth, Norwich University’s head men’s basketball coach. “Over the last four or five years, we have had several kids that have enrolled from other destinations besides the United States.”
[Read more…]

Women’s hockey skates into the season with high hopes

The Norwich women lined up on the blue line at Kreitzberg Arena.
After a stellar season last winter ended with getting knocked out of the playoffs,
the team hopes to go all the way this year.

The Norwich University women’s ice hockey team is entering its 11th season under head coach Mark Bolding, with hopes to recapture its place at the top of the NEHC conference once again. With a winning record of 23-7-1 that closed out the cadets’ 2016-17 season, they are looking to improve with the advent of the 2017-18 season.“We were a really close group last year. Since we only graduated two seniors, we are fortunate enough to keep that tight bond this year,” said team captain Bryn Labbe, 20, a junior forward from Calgary, Alberta.

The freshman class consists of six players, (one defenseman and five forwards.) The roster will be “abnormally large for a college level hockey team,” Labbe noted, but this is not a bad thing. Numbers are always a plus because numbers mean variety of skills and added depth.

The team has very high hopes this year as the first game is just around the corner. The home opener is approaching quickly as they get ready to host the Lady Hawks of Saint Anselm on Tuesday Oct. 24.

“It really feels like we are working harder than we ever have as a team during pre-season, between workouts and captain’s practices,” said Labbe. “We are going to be more than prepared come game time.” [Read more…]

A military rivalry is reborn at Sabine Field

Players line up and get ready to play for Norwich University vs. US Coast Guard Academy.
Photo by Darwin Carozza

The renewal of a historic rivalry with Coast Guard did not go the way Norwich football hoped, but the team was excited to play another military school. They are already looking forward to revenge next year, players said. The “Little Army-Navy” game “will always be a game we look forward to as they are one of our biggest rivals, and losing to them is hard to take,” said sophomore defensive lineman Ferron Greene.

Leading up to the game, Norwich (0-3) had lost to Castleton in the previous week by a score of 28-14, in the annual Maple Sap Bucket rivalry game. This game however showcased Matthew Chaffee, sophomore quarterback, who saw his first collegiate career action late in the third quarter, where he put up two touchdowns and recorded 148 yards passing. Prior to the “Little Army-Navy” game, Coast Guard (2-1) was coming off a 13-0 shutout win over Nichols College, where its defense only let up 123 yards of total offense, and recorded four interceptions. Coast Guard’s quarterback was off to a quick start this season, passing for 753 yards and four touchdowns.

Norwich has seen some tough opponents early in their season and has had some difficulty overcoming these challenges after a number of key injuries, but were able to build up momentum leading up to the game as they put the previous three games behind them. The excitement was in the air throughout the whole week leading up to the big game. Practices were long and hard, players were determined, and the students’ energy was through the roof.
[Read more…]

Norwich remembers 9/11

Norwich will offer summer course on using and flying drones

Drones have become the plaything of techies, an airborne video tool and a vital military component in combat and the war on terrorism.

So a Norwich professor has come up with the idea of bringing a summer course to campus help students learn about drones. This coming June, Norwich University will be offering a course on how to operate and learn the regulations to fly a commercial drone, according to Prof. Rosemarie Pelletier.

“The idea came about while I was talking to a colleague of mine, trying to combine public relations with technology. We concluded with starting this course,” said Pelletier. The three-day course will be held from June 13-15 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. “If you want to stay on campus while taking this course the cost will be $1,500 dollars, but if you live close by the course will be offered for $1,250 dollars. All meals will be covered for the three days,” Pelletier said. The best part? You get to keep the drone you practiced with.

The course is both for current students at Norwich University and for the general public, due to the wide demand and interest in the use of drones. “The course will be offered to 20 students who are current students or just the regular public,” Pelletier said, “All participants in this course must be eighteen-years-old or older.”

The course will follow all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for flying a commercial drone, which state.  “You cannot fly within five miles of an airport without notifying the airport itself … The aircraft itself must weigh less than 55 pounds including any attachments such a camera.” The FAA also states that if you are using your drone for business, you will need to have a Class G license and cannot fly within 400 feet of an airport and cannot fly over people or other moving vehicles.

The course will prepare participants to take the Commercial Drone License exam. The course does not guarantee you a license to fly a drone but will however prepare you for the exam to receive your license, according to Pelletier.

 Pelletier said students can take the exam for their drone license at the Burlington airport after they take the course. “All you have to do is sign up for the exam when it is offered and go up and take it.”

 “The big cause for this course and why we are offering it is because drones are becoming a big part of the world,” Pelletier said. There have been many issues with people using drones and invading people’s personal space and also many court cases involving drones. “Another reason for the course was because recently there was a case study done on drones, and also this case study will be part of residency week so why not do a course as well during that time frame,” Pelletier explained.

“This would be a great course for emergency response teams to come in and learn how to operate a drone,” Pelletier said. If we had a drone launched when the(Amtrak) train crashed last year we could have had eyes on the situation faster than the actual response team could be there.

Pelletier said the restrictions and rules on drones are varied: “If you are a drone hobbyist you would not fly into the restricted airspace, but if you want to fly them commercially for business and say get an aerial view of a property you would fly in the restricted airspace, so a license is required … In order to operate drones it is always a great idea to be licensed.”

The course will start from scratch: “We assume you never touched a drone and are looking for more information,” Pelletier said.  The course includes a drone equipped with a camera, and each student will use their laptop to control the drone. According to Pelletier, they are looking at using one course room for the teaching portion; then they will go down to the ballfields by the Dog River and practice flying the drones.

The drones that will be used during the course will be strictly commercial drones equipped with cameras. At the end of the three-day course, individuals will not only leave with knowledge, but also the drone used during the course.

For information on the Drone Course: http://www.cvent.com/d/x5qnk7

 

 

‘Hell on Wheels’

If the story of a man conquering the wild and unpredictable west in 1869 while building the Transcontinental Railroad sounds like the plot of the AMC television series “Hell on Wheels,” there’s a reason why.

The main character in the AMC series, Cullen Bohannon, served as the Chief Engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad, discovered a pass through the Black Hills of Wyoming, and was present for the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, that joined the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads.

While Cullen Bohannon is the fictionalized creation of AMC, these were the real-life adventures of Norwich University alumnus Grenville Mellen Dodge. The 57 episodes of “Hell on Wheels,” which originally aired from 2011 to 2016, provided a down and dirty glimpse of the rugged, dangerous, and often deadly conditions faced by the men that worked the 1,912 mile Transcontinental Railroad.

Dodge’s incredible life, which brought him from his birthplace in Danvers, Mass., in 1831 and later to the halls of Norwich in 1848, also feature heroic achievements during America’s Civil War.

The creators of “Hell on Wheels,” Joe and Tony Gayton, chose not to make a docu-drama about the building of the railroad but were inspired while developing their fictionalized story by the 2006 documentary entitled American Experience. (www.collider.com). [Read more…]