Homecoming brings weekend celebration; Careerpalooza, Military Writers’ Symposium lie ahead

Challenge accepted. Party started. 

The coronavirus pandemic has lingered stubbornly, forcing big changes in all facets of campus life. (Be honest, how often did you say “multiple modalities” before this fall?) Students faculty and staff have learned to sing to themselves during hand washings (Raspberry beret… scrub, scrub … the kind you find … scrub, scrub … in a secondhand store), and say hellos from behind masks at 6-foot distances. But the idea of a fall without a Homecoming, well, a campus bridge too far.

Not to worry. Norwich’s Alumni and Family Relations Office, showing the university’s trademark grit, built a virtual Homecoming anyone with broadband can join. 

“We wanted to incorporate as many traditional aspects of Homecoming as we could that lent themselves to being part of a virtual experience.” Diane Scolaro, vice president of Alumni and Family Relations, Norwich University

Norwich Alumni and Family Relations Director Eddie Habeck and Associate Vice President of Alumni and Family Relations Diane Scolaro, knowing a campus closed to preserve health, and follow Vermont Health Department guidelines, couldn’t have anything like Homecoming 2019’s record-large crowds, adjusted.

In three months, they built a Homecoming schedule that saved beloved traditions (a Review With Retreat by the Corps of Cadets, a concert by the Regimental Band) and added new ones (the Grit Games obstacle course competition for fall sports athletes, an all-class trivia contest.) 

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Col. Todd Edwards conducts the Regimental Band on Friday during the opening of the 2020 virtual Homecoming. (Photo via NUTV.)

Special video programming, dubbed NUTV, will bring all of the activity into living rooms. Zoom enabled ancillary gatherings, some involving food and drink (a wine and cheese tasting, pints with President Mark C. Anarumo.)

“We wanted to incorporate as may traditional aspects of Homecoming as we could that lent themselves to being part of a virtual experience,” Scolaro said. “But we found … that there are some things that were made for TV.”

Events started Friday and will continue Saturday. Click here for the full Homecoming schedule.

The calendar also flipped to October, bringing the Career and Internship’s Center’s own online conference, Careerpalooza. The month of activities will help ready students for work life after Norwich, with sessions on employee etiquette, résumé sharpening and meetings with employee-seeking businesses. Aon Intellectual Property Solutions, Edward Jones, Schneider Electric and JPMorgan Chase were among first-week presenters. 

Monday will begin four themed Careerpalooza weeks, each focused on industry-specific programming. The week ahead will spotlight civil service and nonprofit careers. Oct. 12 to Oct. 15 will focus on architecture, engineering and construction; Oct. 19 to Oct. 22 will focus on technology careers; Oct. 26 to Oct. 29 will focus on health care and biotechnology careers. 

Company presentations will also continue. Monday will bring an E. & J. Gallo Winery supply chain information session from 1 to 3 p.m. and a graduate-students-only human resource development program by Visa from 6 to 7 p.m. Click here for further Careerpalooza details.

Weaponizing water

The coming week’s marquee event is the annual Military Writers’ Symposium, which like Homecoming and Careerpalooza, will be virtual. The theme for the symposium, which is in its 26th year and will run Wednesday and Thursday, is Weaponizing Water.

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Colby Book Award winner Adam Higginbotham will be among the speakers at this year’s virtually rendered Military Writers’ Symposium. (Courtesy photo.)

Wednesday will feature a full slate of presentations. Engineer and author Dr. Nadhir Al-Ansari will discuss hydropolitics and conflict on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from 9 to 10 a.m. Counterinsurgency and military strategy expert David Kilcullen will speak from 11 a.m. to noon. Colby Book Award winner Adam Higginbotham will discuss his book “Midnight in Chernobyl” from noon to 1 p.m. Wilson Center Senior Fellow Sherri Goodman will discuss water and climate security from 2 to 3 p.m.

Goodman, a former deputy defense undersecretary and a senior fellow at the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Polar Institute, spoke at Mack Hall in October 2019.

Also in the coming week, author and journalist Randy Brown will offer tips for writing about the military from 4 to 5 p.m. And 2020 Schultz Fellow Nicole Navarro ’21 will discuss China’s water weaponization to control trade, ports and politics in Tanzania from 6 to 7 p.m.

Click here for the full symposium schedule. Click here to follow the full Norwich University events schedule.

(Slideshow photos by Mark Collier.)

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