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ROTC trains students in leadership, life

By Michael Ittu, For The Miami Student

Walking through campus, it may be hard not to notice the many young men and women dressed in the uniforms of the United States armed forces. These students are a part of an organization with a rigorous and demanding schedule that takes up a large portion of their time at Miami.

Nearly all of these uniformed students are a part of Miami's Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. ROTC prepares students interested in joining the United States armed forces.

The program works to educate young men and women on the various aspects of the United States military system and prepare them for their service. While providing a guaranteed job right out of college, the program aims to create a positive impact on the students within the organization.

Recently, Miami was named a Military Friendly School for 2015. Recognition calls for significant military support on campus and flexibility for military students, among other things. The dominant military presence on campus is Miami's ROTC program.

"It's about taking somebody and developing them into a potential future leader - a commanding officer, a squadron, a seal of a ship, a division officer, potentially, all the way up to the chief of naval operations," Lieutenant Andrew Washburn, assistant professor at Miami University's Navy ROTC, said.

For many students, this mission holds true. First-year Michael Glaze, member of the Air Force branch of ROTC at Miami, said the program provides a feeling of accomplishment and leadership he may not have otherwise had the chance to experience while in college.

"ROTC has given me a sense of purpose and a certain responsibility," he said.

To other students, the program has introduced a new viewpoint of the United States armed forces and the dedication exhibited by those who serve.

"As a citizen, I have a new perspective on the military and a new respect for the flag and the country as a whole," said first-year Tomas Niedzwiecki, member of the Naval ROTC-Marine option branch.

This dedication and sense of patriotism may stem in part from the challenging schedule each member of ROTC must complete to comply with the program's requirements.

For starters, every member of the program must participate in physical training twice a week. Training sessions will generally last an hour, and twice a year students are tested on their level of fitness.

Along with the standard physical tests, the organization also places a major importance on academics, requiring students to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. If the student goes below the 2.5 mark, he or she may receive a warning status, and if it continues for long enough without improvement or signs of improvement, he or she can be disenrolled from the program.

"The Navy is making a pretty substantial investment in these students and their future, and we expect them to take their school seriously," Washburn said.

The members of Miami's ROTC said they are gaining valuable principles and lessons that will prove beneficial in not only their time in the United States armed forces, but also in their everyday lives.

"As Winston Churchill once said, 'All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope,'" first-year Joseph Hinojosa, member of the Air Force branch of ROTC, said.