It's a Different World ... or is it?
Two distinct groups unite at the first private military college in the nation.
Like most college campuses in the nation, Norwich is dealing with the issue of diversity. But here, of course, there's a bit of a twist. Since 1994, students in the Corps of Cadets live and attend class alongside a significant number of traditional 'civilian' students. Regardless of which lifestyle is chosen, military or traditional, leadership opportunities abound. One way a Norwich student can gain leadership experience is as a member of the Student Senate.
The university relies on the Student Senate to work on issues that affect the student body. In the past, the group has provided direct input on everything from university policy to upgrades of campus technology.
Now the leadership of the Norwich Student Senate truly reflects the diversity the college is becoming known for. Moriah Arrato Gavrish, a Derry, New Hampshire native, will continue to serve as Student Senate President this year, and, for the first time, a member of the Corps of Cadets, Mauryn Calderon, will serve as Vice-President.
Remembering her own introduction to the two different lifestyles on campus, Calderon remembers not knowing quite how to bridge the gap between the two.
"Like some people here," the 20-year-old Psychology major said, "I thought we lived in separate worlds."
During her junior year at Norwich, Calderon joined the Student Senate, a group many in the Corps didn't feel a strong connection to.
"I guess I was looking for common ground and a melding of the two lifestyles," she said.
As President of the Student Senate since 2004, Gavrish has been working to strengthen connections between all students on campus. Instead of strictly focusing on creating building models to scale, the architecture major is helping to build a sense of campus community.
"When you're in the classroom, it doesn't matter what clothes you're wearing," she said. "In the end, we're all one university community. It all comes down to respect.
I didn't want to be in the Corps," Gavrish adds. "But I like their philosophy and their discipline. I came here because of that. I didn't want to go to a party school."
Both women are united in what they want for their campus.
"This is a military school," Calderon said, "and it's also a diverse campus. We want to work together, so that the Student Senate is the center of all working functions at this university. We want to see the Corps and students from the civilian community working together." She pauses, then adds, "What a great message to send to the world out there."