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.
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Chasing the podium

Connor Keating has been training vigorously for the past eight weeks, both on the mat and in the weight room for another chance to earn All-American honors on the big stage.

“I do eight training sessions per week, with some days being two-a-days, and both in the weight room and on the wrestling mat,” said Keating, the 33-year-old assistant wrestling coach for the Cadets.

Keating’s efforts are a reminder that coaches at Norwich have not just a deep level of knowledge in their sport but can also be, like their athletes, still competitors as well.

Keating will be competing in the U.S. Open in freestyle wrestling from April 24-27 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For many wrestlers of all ages, weights, and experience, the U.S. Open is the cream of the crop for freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling in America.
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The ring ruckus

As a senior with her own Corps of Cadets ring, I understand the excitement and importance in celebrating one of the most important weekends of a cadet’s time on the hill. It is a milestone that does not come without hard work and determination.

With the release of a new memo on Junior Ring Weekend leave policy by the Commandant of Cadets, it quickly became obvious that many cadets were upset by the rules set out. The memo stated that sophomores and freshmen are barred from attending at the condominiums that juniors traditionally rent to celebrate at over the weekend.

It makes sense that freshmen shouldn’t attend condos, since it runs the risk of violating fraternization rules. Sophomore carry the same risks, but since they have a lot more freedom than freshmen, these risks can come with severe consequences. In past years, sophomores typically served as designated drivers for upper class cadets, however, as pointed out in Anthony Rodriguez’s story on Page 10, it’s not their job to take care of upperclassmen. Seniors are responsible for the people under their command, and since we’ve had our junior ring weekend, it is time to step up and take care of our own.

The memo by Col. Michael Titus merely serves as a reminder of a policy that has been in place for years. I had to check in with seniors my sophomore year over junior ring weekend, so they knew that I was safe.

It’s no secret that the weekend comes with a lot of partying and drinking, and with that, people need to take policies and memos seriously. It’s against the law to drink underage, that is what should stop sophomores from taking part in the festivities in the first place. Norwich has had more than enough incidents with cadets involved with drunk driving. It is all of our responsibilities to make sure that the weekend is fun, memorable, but safe.

The real conflict that was the catalyst for this memo to be released is the fact that junior ring weekend coincides with Easter weekend. Some juniors will have to make the tough decision to either miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime weekend, or be away from their family during a major religious holiday. The timing of the weekend as a whole is where the conflict lies, and I hope in the future that the administration puts more thought into their planning to prevent such strife surrounding a weekend as important as Junior Ring.

The President’s Corner

Don’t ignore valuable internships

The Annual Spring Career Fair, held last week in Plumley Armory, presented 57 employers to 330 students who attended to explore opportunities to enhance their academic learning with real world experiences. One of those employers was represented by a 2002 NU graduate named Robert Kipp, who took the opportunity a step further, meeting with a group of students following the Career Fair to give them advice.
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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.
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Baseball team hopes off-season work and new attitude can improve on last year

As a member of the Norwich baseball team, Chris Davis knows that in order for the team to be successful this year, they have to be gritty and really grind it out this season.

The team has to do the little things right and make the simple plays out on the field and take the season one game at a time – and everyone has to do their part to contribute.

“Baseball is a rhythm game, and its players are those of habit so we kind of fall into a routine that helps us prepare and compete,” said Davis, a 20-year-old junior and pitcher from South Berwick, Maine.

Some of the struggles the team faced last year came from people not knowing their roles or what was expected from them, Davis said. “On any given day there could be position changes or lineup changes with really no explanation,” he said.

He sees a difference this year that gives him hope of a turnaround, despite the youth and lack of collegiate experience by much of the pitching rotation.

“Jake Ryan, our senior captain, is the ace of our staff with the most in-game experience out of our small group,” he said, but he also see promise for the rest of the pitchers. “Nick Landis, Jon Grasso, and Tanner Raymond round out our rotation and have their own strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table,” Davis said.

But where he also draws some optimism is from the competitive drive that the pitchers have, which he thinks gives the team the best chance to win when they take the mound.

“Our bullpen is young, and we all have our roles, it might be to close a certain game, get a big out or simply bridge from the starter to the closer,” Davis said.

The pitching staff is a tight-knit group that supports each other and picks each other up when they’re down said Davis. “That’s all we can do for now.”
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Swim team award honors strong traits and perseverance of a Norwich alumnus

Norwich alumnus Michael Andrew Zemanek believed humans were put on earth for others rather than themselves. His passion for helping those who were weaker/less fortunate drove him to take the path less traveled, according to his mother, New York state trooper Sgt. Mary Anne McGreevy.

Tragically, in 2013 on July 31, Zemanek died in a car crash on I-89 due to a sudden undiagnosed heart arrhythmia. In his honor every year, the Michael Zemanek mental toughness award is given to a Norwich University swim/dive team senior who has exemplified the things that Zemanek lived by: self-service, integrity, positive attitude, excellent academic standing, and perseverance (

His mother, reflecting on her son’s life, said the award honors all those traits he showed.
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New leader of Norwich’s Corps of Cadets follows in his grandfather’s footsteps

New Cadet Colonel Ethan Hagstrom is taking the same post his grandfather held back in 1960

Ethan Hagstrom never thought he would find himself at a school such as Norwich, let alone a military school.

In fact, the 21-year-old communications major from Bedford, N.H., didn’t even consider Norwich one of his top five choices when applying.

“Norwich was the 10th school on my list,” he said. “It was the last one I added, and the last one I visited.
Hagstrom, a legacy student, only applied due to his family heritage with Norwich. “My grandfather was the cadet colonel in 1960,” Hagstrom said, adding he also had relatives who attended all the way back to 1912.

Fair to say then, that his life changed as soon as he stepped foot in Kreitzberg Arena in August of 2015 as a freshman. Now he is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, and carrying on a family legacy that started over 100 years ago.

On Feb. 8, Cadet Master Sgt. Ethan Hagstrom learned that he had been selected to serve as the cadet colonel, the highest rank in Norwich University’s Corps of Cadets, for the 2019-20 academic year.

“I thought it was going to be anybody else but me,” he said. “But my grandfather was colonel and encouraged me to go for it. He told me ‘you won’t know until you try.’ ” [Read more…]

Lessons from Prague: Human rights are universal, but how we see them depends on where we live

Prague: A window on a different world

 I personally believe that every trip officially begins once you reach the destination, you step outside and take that very first breath of air in a different environment. After months spent inhaling freezing Vermont air, and a dozen of hours breathing recycled airplane oxygen, stepping in the open-air of Prague was almost cathartic. I stood firmly outside just the time to fill my lungs with as much fresh air as possible, and for a second my mind brought me back to my home-country, Italy.

 A long frosty semester spent in Vermont buried by snow can play some tricks on your mind: Even if Italy and the Czech Republic have little in common, at first impression it felt familiar. At the end of the day, there are only a few European countries in between them, instead of an entire ocean.

  On the bus ride to the Anglo-American University, where the conference is hosted, by looking outside the window my mind kept comparing and flashing to my beloved Italy. I noticed people wearing stylish modish clothes and walking around the city smoking cigarettes and sipping espresso instead of diluted Dunkin’ coffee. I admired the combination of very modern and innovative building like the “Dancing House” designed by Vlado Milunić, standing next to ancient monuments dating back to war times. Tiny city cars were zigzagging between old bridges and narrow streets in order to pass slow trams and public buses.

  Finally, I saw green grass growing around wide parks, where people were enjoying the bright sun and the warm weather above 50 F, which will not occur regularly in Vermont for the next couple of months. From the nostalgic point of view of an Italian, Prague is a momentary cure for a homesick girl who has spent too much time in the light-deprived winter of Norwich University, yet an undiscovered city preserving an incredible turbulent history while following the European trend towards modernity and globalization. [Read more…]

The Norwich Prague participants

Norwich students gather for a group shot at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Rights in Prague March 8, 2019. Norwich history professor Rowland Brucken is co-organizer of the event, which has expnded beyond his wildest dreams. In 2021, it will be held at Norwich.