Low numbers for ROTC recruitment

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps exists on Butler’s campus, and 12 students are enrolled in the program.

However, in the past, Butler’s ROTC programs were the largest student organizations on campus.

Ross McKee, military science instructor and ROTC adviser, said he believes the low numbers are due to a mixture of two things.

“I think that not many students even know Butler offers ROTC,” McKee said, “but the ones who do have the misconception that joining ROTC means joining the Army, and the two are not one and the same.”

Students who enroll in ROTC classes and the program can decide what type of career to pursue after graduation, with or without the military. Students on scholarship or contracted students have different obligations, but they still have a choice in what direction to go.

ROTC student and sophomore Camila Avello said she thinks students on campus may be intimidated by ROTC and a military setting.

“I think sometimes people think that ROTC is really uptight and rigid, which is not that case,” Avello said.

Students who sign up for ROTC are obligated to take one ROTC class per semester, attend bi-weekly leadership labs, attend field training each semester and go to morning workouts three times each week.

Of the 12 Butler students in ROTC, five are contracted and two are in the process of becoming contracted.

Avello is a contracted student who received a full-ride scholarship as a guaranteed reserve forces duty student. Because of this, she cannot go into active duty after graduation and must serve in the National Guard.

Avello, a science, technology and society major with biology and chemistry minors, would like to become a physician assistant.  She would also like to travel, and she said the Army would support those two goals.

“I decided to join ROTC because not only does it help pay for my education, but it’s a great way to have a healthy lifestyle,” Avello said. “I feel like I’m getting paid to be in shape, and that’s pretty awesome.”

McKee said the skills a student gains from ROTC can transcribe into any lifestyle.

“Students learn to be leaders, which is beneficial in the Army or any other career,” McKee said. “There are also scholarship opportunities and a motivation to stay fit and healthy.”

Butler pairs with Indiana University – Purdue University  Indianapolis for some aspects of ROTC, and Butler students can also enroll in Air Force ROTC through Indiana University at IUPUI.

Students in ROTC have the option to participate in Army Air Assault School intern at Army bases and compete in different physical challenge competitions. In these challenges and schools, students have the opportunity to earn medals that they can wear on their uniform for the rest of their Army careers, McKee said.

McKee said he would like to see the number of Butler students in Army ROTC go up.

“Students don’t have to join at the beginning of their freshman year,” McKee said. “If sophomores or even juniors want to join, we can catch them up with a few extra classes. I’ve even had a senior join and continue their ROTC career during graduate school.”

Avello said she would like to see more students involved in ROTC at Butler but also a more open relationship between the students who are contracted, MSIIs, and the students who are not contracted, MSIs.

“There were a lot of small questions I had as an MSI that I didn’t want to bother Captain McKee with, and I had to go out of my way to ask the MSIIs,” Avello said. “It would be cool to see a pairing of MSIs and MSIIs for carpooling and whatnot.”

Avello said students should not be intimidated by ROTC students or the program.

“It’s actually a pretty lighthearted environment,” Avello said. “People are probably just intimidated of the fact that it’s military. That’s how I felt as a freshman.”

Avello said the relationships she has made with her ROTC classmates has been one of the most rewarding parts of her experience.

“My experience in ROTC has been very rewarding,” Avello said. “I’ve met so many awesome people that have goals similar to my own. If I had to pick one most rewarding part of ROTC, it would for sure be the relationships formed. I’ve met some really great people in such a short amount of time.”

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