The Army College Tour recruiting event stopped at the CSUN campus on Wednesday to promote the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and opportunities in the Army.
The Tour travels to college campuses nationwide with eighteen-wheelers carrying helicopter simulators, humvees, rifle shooting stimulators and a 30-foot tall rock climbing wall. All students were welcomed to participate, but had to sign a release form that included their names and contact information for the Army.
Hakim Melvin, an 18-year-old freshmen said, “I thought it was really interesting. I was a little worried. I didn’t want to sign anything and be sent off to war.”
Melvin and his friend, Jared Gilyard, an 18-year-old freshmen, signed release forms to receive a free personalized dog tag the Army was giving away.
The Army was also hosting a small physical training competition between female and male to see who could do the most push-ups and pull-ups. A tally was kept throughout the day and the winner was announced at the end of the event. The winner of the pull-up’s competition won an iPod and the student who did the most push-ups won a T-shirt.
Michelle Messiha, 28, a CSUN staff member attempted to do a pull-up to replace the iPod she lost last week, but was unable to complete one pull-up.
Brian Frankel, 19, a sophomore business major and his friend, Todd Tully, a junior business major, competed in the push-up’s competition, not to win the prize, but as a personal competition between friends. Halfway through the event, Tully lead the competition after completing 72 push-ups. Frankel completed 50.
Brain Brathwaite, a 22-year-old psychology major, was walking by and stopped to cheer on Tully and other competitors.
“I just wanna see someone break 66,” the number to beat before Tully completed his push-ups, Brathwaite said.
Kelly Fields, a 21-year-old child development major, held the highest score for the women who competed with two pull-ups.
“I knew I could do two,” Fields said while she waited for her friend Sam Curland to make her way up the rock-clmbing wall. “I’m sure someone will beat it,” Fields said.
Adam Medina worked the event as a staff member with Encore Promotions, an independent company contracted to staff the event. Medina was working the helicopter simulator and said there was a “good steady flow” of students, with about 40 students catching a ride in the helicopter in just over the first hour.
Cindy Serda, an 18-year-old health science major, climbed to the top of the rock wall and was on her way to try out the helicopter simulator. Serda said she just “liked to do outdoor stuff,” which made her stop to participate in-between classes.
The rock-climbing wall was surrounded by a gate with official Army slogans printed on them such as “A solider will never accept defeat” and “A solider will never quit.”
A large truck housed the two humvee simulators that gave the students the opportunity to team up with a driver and a shooter and drive through a city looking for the “bad guys,” one staff member explained. There was also the American Army Game, the official video game of the Army and models of Army uniforms of the future.
The event was held from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Around noon, about 50 students stood around the Oviatt Lawn to watch the various activities taking place. The majority of students not participating said they just didn’t want to or didn’t care.
Vijaya Das, a monk, sat at a table about 50 yards from the Army trucks distributing literature on bhakti yoga.
Das said the Army on campus was “bad news” and “ridiculous.”
ROTC Assistant Professor Capt. Rio Miner said the event is really to inform students about the ROTC program at CSUN and the many options available to students in the Army.
About 50 students are enrolled in the ROTC program at CSUN, which is part of the ROTC and military science department at UCLA. Military science teaches students the basics they’d learn in boot camp, such as how to salute. ROTC also teaches leadership and builds students as leaders, as they’ll enter the military as an officer once they’ve completed the ROTC program.
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