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accepting the charge

 Accepting the Charge (AtC) is a new program, adopted in 2014, created by the NU Alumni Association Board of Directors to foster a bond across generations of Norwich alumni. The program pairs the incoming class of students, both Rooks and Civilians, with the alumni class 50 years its’ senior. For example the first class we worked with, Class of 2019, was paired with the alumni Class of 1969.

Norwich’s alumni class will be referred to as the “Guardian Class.” Over the four years their student cohort attend Norwich, the Guardian Class will participate in signature events and milestones where bonds will be forged through structured or social settings. Among these are Student Sendoffs, Arrival Days, Rook Recognition, Junior Ring Ceremony, 100s Night and Commencement and Commissioning. Then, in the fall following their graduation, the younger class will return to campus for homecoming to present their Guardian Class with Old Guard medallions at the Alumni Parade ceremony.

Similar programs exist in several other senior military academies including the “Link in the Chain” program at the U.S. Naval Academy and the “Long Gray Line” at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

As this is a new initiative for Norwich, we have developed the following FAQs which will evolve as the program takes root. For questions or comments on Accepting the Charge, please contact the NU Alumni Association at nuaa@norwich.edu or the Alumni Office at 802.485.2100 or alumni@norwich.edu.

For upcoming events in Accepting the Charge, click here.

Accepting the Charge - Program FAQs

1. What is “Accepting the Charge”?

Accepting the Charge (AtC) is a program created by the NU Alumni Association Board of Directors to foster a bond and lifelong relationships across generations of Norwich alumni. The program pairs the incoming class of students, both Rooks and Freshmen, with the alumni class 50 years its’ senior. For example the incoming Class of 2019 will be paired with the alumni Class of 1969. The alumni class is referred to as the “Guardian Class.” Similar programs exist in several other senior military academies including the “Link in the Chain” program at the U.S. Naval Academy and the “Long Gray Line” at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

2. What are the goals of AtC?

• To create a lasting bond between students, alumni classes 50 years their senior and Norwich University.
• To share and reinforce Norwich traditions across the generations.
• To provide students with support, guidance and connections throughout their Norwich experience and as young alumni.
• To demonstrate the power and positive impact of alumni giving back to their alma mater.
• To instill pride and a sense of legacy among alumni classes.

3. What are the benefits?

For the Guardian Class: AtC provides an opportunity for alumni to meet the students who are Norwich’s future. The Guardian Class can share life lessons, wisdom and pass on long-held Norwich traditions. They can also provide students with career guidance and support, and potential internship and employment contacts. The Guardian Class will see how high the bar has been set for students to be successful at Norwich and become familiar with the technical, environmental and academic enhancements that make their alma mater a competitive institution in the 21st century.

For Students: Members of the Guardian Class are seasoned leaders in public and private sectors that can provide students with unique guidance and an appreciation of the Norwich experience as seen through the eyes of those who were in their shoes 50 years ago. As they develop into junior officers and leaders in the private sector, new alumni will further understand the value of their relationship with the Guardian Class and continue the cycle of mentoring and coaching those who follow. In time they will understand that they, too, will be expected to share their time, talent and, eventually, treasure, with Norwich.

To Norwich: Incorporating the Guardian Class into the student support system is expected to increase retention, develop mentors and provide another bond within the Norwich experience. AtC is also likely to strengthen the Guardian Class’ ties and pride in Norwich as they approach their 50th reunion and become members of the esteemed Old Guard. The program will benefit the university as a whole and reflect positively on the Norwich brand.

4. How does it work?

Over the four years of their cohort’s Norwich experience, the Guardian Class will be encouraged to attend signature events and milestones in the undergraduate class’ development. Among these are Student Sendoffs, Arrival Day, Rook Recognition, Junior Ring Ceremony, 100s Night and Commencement and Commissioning. Each event will provide an opportunity for the Guardian Class to have meaningful interaction with the undergraduate class in either structured or social settings. The ongoing exchanges will create familiarity and develop bonds between the classes. Then, in the fall following their graduation, the younger class will return to campus for homecoming to present their Guardians with their Old Guard medallions at the Alumni Parade ceremony.

5. Who can participate in AtC?

The entire Guardian Class is encouraged to take part in the AtC program though attendance at events is optional. It is the NUAA’s vision that every AtC event will have strong representation from the Guardian Class however each class will set a goal for participation over the four years. The NUAA suggests that every member of the Guardian Class commit to attend at least one AtC on-campus event between their 46th and 50th reunions.

6. How are events planned?

The NUAA, in partnership with the Alumni Office, Commandant’s staff and Dean of Students, has developed a schedule of events for the AtC program. Logistics and promotion for these activities will be coordinated by the Alumni Office staff. Class Agents, or their designees, are encouraged to attend the NUAA’s spring board meeting to meet others involved in the program. The program will evolve over time with additional input from the Guardian and undergraduate classes.

7. What/when/where are the AtC events?

• The first alumni/student activity takes place at Student Sendoffs the summer prior to arriving at Norwich. The Class Agent and members of the Guardian Class will receive information on Sendoffs in their area and a list of incoming students. Guardian Class members will be encouraged to attend these events to meet the students and their families and begin forming relationships.
Note that if no Student Sendoff is planned in your area, the Alumni Office can help you create one. Contact them toll-free (877) 485-2019 or at alumni@norwich.edu.

• The first on-campus event is Arrival Days for Rooks and Freshmen. The Guardian Class is invited to meet with students and their families during check-in and lunch, prior to the official welcoming ceremony. Following the ceremony, a Parent Reception will be held in Plumley Armory where families can meet each other, staff and members of the Guardian Class. Alumni provide parents with a unique and valuable perspective on the experience their children are about to embark on and instill pride that their students will become part of the Norwich legacy.

Subsequent on-campus events include:

First year:

• Oath Ceremony (all students) – Sunday afternoon week following arrival
• Rook Recognition (Corps students) – early winter

Second year:

• Wings Over Norwich Social & Networking (all students)

Third year:

• Junior Ring Ceremony (all students)

Fourth year:

• Senior Pub Event (all students)– during homecoming
• 100s Night (all students) – early February
• Senior Dinner (all students) – May
• Commencement (all students)/Commissioning (Corps students) - May

Note that each of these events provides an opportunity for the Guardian Class to plan additional activities in conjunction with their campus visit. The addition of a golf outing or mini-reunion dinner may appeal to classmates considering travel to Northfield from some distance. These activities are at the discretion of the Guardian Class and the Alumni Office is available to help with the planning and promotion.

8. Can my class sponsor or create our own event for AtC?

The NUAA and the Alumni Office welcome ideas that will complement the AtC program. To submit a suggestion, please contact your Class Agent or the Alumni Office at (802) 485-2100 or alumni@norwich.edu.

9. How will events be promoted?

The cycle begins as the Guardian Class approaches its 45th reunion. One member of the NUAA board of directors and one Alumni Office staff member will be the liaisons for planning and promoting events with the class. The liaisons will meet with the Class Agent or their designees in advance of the reunion and plan a time to brief the class while they are on campus for homecoming. Communication will also be shared with those who do not attend.

Ongoing communication from the NUAA and Alumni Office through multiple channels will keep the Guardian Class informed on developments within the program. Each member of the Guardian Class will receive a schedule of events and updates over the next four years via postal mail and email. The schedule will also be posted and updated on the Accepting the Charge website (under development) and on the Guardian Class’ Facebook page.

10. Is there a cost to participate in the AtC program?

Though there is no cost to participate in AtC events, members of the Guardian Class are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses. The NUAA hopes fellow alumni will support this program and be willing to incur the costs related to sharing their time and talent with Norwich students. Note that time and travel expenses related to volunteering for the AtC program may be tax deductible. Consult a tax professional for details.

11. Where can I get more information?

Contact the Alumni Office for more information at (802) 485-2100 or alumni@norwich.edu