UB ROTC students form SA club
Cadets want to extend their Army experience to students
They wake up by daybreak - sometimes as early as 3 or 4 a.m. - arrive on site before the average college student wakes up, train physically and mentally for hours and still make it to their first classes.
UB ROTC (Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps) cadets dedicate time, strength and discipline into their committed roles. And now with their on-campus representative, Army ROTC Club, cadets strive to share their experience and opportunity with the university.
Cadets started the now-temporary club in the spring 2013 semester. Its aim is to assert ROTC's presence on campus and to educate and recruit students, according to Luis Insausti, a senior international relations major and the club's secretary.
"Our club wants to make it known to UB students that we do exist," said Andrew Kim, a junior legal studies major and president of the club, in an email. "We are student soldiers (cadets) that want to serve our country as officers (leaders) in the United States Army while also maintaining a regular civilian lifestyle."
ROTC is "the college elective for undergraduate and graduate students that provides unrivaled leadership training for success in any career field," according to www.goarmy.com.
The ROTC club and program serve as two separate organizations. The program is run through the Army at Canisius College in conjunction with UB. The club represents the program's existence on UB's campus.
The club meets twice a month to discuss upcoming events, what members have accomplished and general information related to the ROTC program. Students also have the chance to learn about what cadets do in ROTC, such as training, commands and leadership building.
The ROTC soldiers play double agent, living as college students by day and orderly cadets just a few hours before that.
Before the bustling of students at UB rushing to pick up a cup of coffee for their 9 a.m. classes, these young men and women have already done their physical training, military science courses and homework for their upcoming classes.
John Cooke, a biological sciences major, second-year cadet and treasurer of the club, wakes up at 5 a.m. each morning and heads to Canisius College, where UB's ROTC program is located. Cooke then has physical training from "0550 to 0715" or, 5:50-7:15 a.m.
"The training is constant and physically challenging for all cadets, no matter their experience level," Cooke said.
The daily routine consists of stretching and calisthenics, running and body weight exercises, according to Insausti.
The physically demanding practice is designed to assure cadets are physically ready to meet the battalion standards and prepare new cadets. In addition, cadets work in small groups or individually at least once more each day to further "increase their strength and improve their capabilities," according to Cooke.
Club members are not required to complete physical challenges like cadets do, but club officers are looking to include remedial physical training for motivation and exercise.
After the workouts come the lectures, which teach the young soldiers leadership skills and tactics used in the Army after they graduate as Second Lieutenants.
At the completion of the ROTC program - after the fourth year - cadets get commission, signifying their positions in the Army and as Second Lieutenants.
Kim hopes the club becomes official by the end of this semester to increase the Army's representation on campus.
Currently, the club participates in fundraisers, runs and other volunteer opportunities. On Sept. 14, members participated in the 2013 Buffalo Zombie Mud Run, in which they volunteered to cheer on and assist runners.
Kim said the majority of club members have a passion to take on a position in the U.S. Army. He plans on becoming a U.S. Army military officer after graduate school. He believes ROTC was the best way to achieve his goal.
Kim said ROTC increased his confidence, physical strength and leadership and social skills.
"It makes you a better person," Insausti said. "You work as a team. It's not, 'It's only for me, I'm going to do this and I don't care about the rest of the people.' [You] just have that quality team building [and] strong moral character."
Insausti is in the process of setting up the club's official UBLinked page.
The young soldiers see the outcome of their sweat and hard work, and they want fellow students to know they can reap the same benefits.