ROTC cadets benefit from AU policy changes

Now that Army ROTC cadets can use AU facilities for physical training and AUTO vans to drive to and from Georgetown University, cadets say they get more sleep and are generally happier.

University officials and Student Government worked to implement the AU policy change, which passed last November.

“The [SG committee’s] initiative was important in providing students in ROTC a voice through Student Government to ensure that their needs and concerns were heard,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Phyllis Peres.

Having physical training on campus allows cadets more personal time, including an extra hour of sleep and time to do coursework.

“We’re a lot happier. I get on average an extra hour of sleep a week just from being able to have physical training at AU,” said Cadet Sergeant Will McGinnis. “Before we were able to do [physical training] at AU, we would usually meet at the South side shuttle stop at 5:50 a.m. Now I’m waking up around 6:10 to do our PT at AU.”

Ciara Stewart, a second year Army ROTC cadet, said she gets an extra half hour of sleep due to the changes.

“It may not seem like a lot, but when you have to get up at five in the morning, that extra half hour does help,” she said. “It’s a lot more convenient because I can just walk to the field for physical training.”

Of the changes, granting use of the AUTO vans to ROTC took the most time to accomplish, according to SG Committee Director Brett Atanasio, a senator for the Class of 2013.

AUTO Commissioner Dave Paddock said Army ROTC was cleared for use of the vans in March.

“Use of the AUTO vans is huge for us,” McGinnis said.

AU ROTC typically uses the vans when many cadets need to get to Georgetown for field training exercises, allowing cadets to get to Georgetown quickly at minimal cost. Previously, older cadets had to make multiple trips in personal vehicles to transport all the cadets, McGinnis said.

Both Stewart and McGinnis expressed their satisfaction in how the Undergraduate Senate committee on military policy called for ROTC policy change.

“It’s about time that we had rights on campus, because we are a student group,” Stewart said. “We are students here and we should be treated just like everybody else.”

The SG committee will now concentrate on veterans, Atanasio said.

“Veterans issues are the next big focus, which we hope to make some progress by next fall,” he said.

These issues include hiring a full-time veterans affairs staffer in AU Central. Currently, veterans have a part-time staffer at their disposal.

Atanasio and Peres also confirmed efforts to provide faculty training so faculty can better understand the issues student veterans face .

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