ROTC gets marching orders for their new home

Brentaro Yamane | Layout/Multimedia Editor | The ROTC program outgrew their old Van Kaam building facilities.

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor

April 13, 2023

Delta Company has received their marching orders. They have been ordered to leave their current position and march a quarter mile east until they reach their objective at Libermann. The mission: To move into their new home.

Duquesne’s chapter of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is relocating from the Van Kaam building to the first floor of Libermann Hall this week. The change comes following ROTC’s recent growth in recruitment.

“Our program is expanding, and we have really big plans for the program,” said Chuka Ufomadu, Army Captain and officer in charge of Duquesne’s ROTC chapter. “Our current location wasn’t ideal anymore.”

ROTC is an officer commissioning program that allows students to train as they complete their education. Cadets that finish the program will have met the requirements to enlist as an officer, active or reserve in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Space Force.

“ROTC is a great opportunity for our students,” said Gabriel Welsch, university spokesperson, “particularly those with an interest in a military career and the armed forces.”

While Duquesne has the Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC programs available on campus, 35 of the 51 cadets are enrolled in the Army ROTC section.

Duquesne’s Army ROTC program is part of the Three Rivers Battalion that consists of 14 schools within the greater Pittsburgh area. Duquesne’s Army ROTC is part of Delta company which consists mostly of Duquesne and Point Park University cadets.

Delta Company, which was formally just a platoon until this semester, has seen an increase in its membership from 20 cadets last year to 35 cadets this year.

The change in venue is part of Duquesne’s historic commitment to support the United States armed forces. The university has hosted ROTC on campus since 1917.

“Moving the ROTC program to the newly renovated space in the Libermann Building on campus provides a great hub for the program and demonstrates Duquesne’s commitment to providing creative and exciting learning spaces for our students,” Welsch said.

The new location provides cadets not only a place to learn but allows them to build camaraderie with one another, a key aspect in the military.

“When a student comes to our university, and they join ROTC ,they have an instant community,” Ufomadu said. “My goal for the [new] place is to continue that community building process in that program.”

Students will be able to watch TV, play video games, do homework and converse with one another. There is a lounge area for the cadets to relax, a treadmill and also consideration for a pool table.

Rose Conlin, who joined ROTC as a freshman and now is a senior in the nursing program, is excited for the move and to get out of the old space.

“We were just on the third floor of a building, not much space,” Conlin said. “It was kind of a hangout spot for us, but it was really more of just a classroom.”

The new area in Libermann will be better equipped to handle the growing number of cadets in the ROTC program.

“Having the offices there but more separated out than just having a desk in the middle of an open room will be nice,” Conlin said. “There has to be some private conversations sometimes, so being able to have that and having a place that people want to go to will be nice.”

Anelise McGee, who also joined ROTC as a freshman and now is a senior in a five-year program of biomedical engineering and nursing, is looking forward to spending her last year in the upgraded headquarters.

“I think a new space would be really useful for us,” McGee said. “I feel like the amount of time that we put into [ROTC], with earth other, we are almost like a sports team.”

On top of their academic curriculum, cadets enrolled in ROTC are likely to spend their four years at Duquesne taking leadership classes, physical fitness tests, learning about the military and participating in field training exercises.

“I think we deserve room space in our building,” McGee said. “A place where we can meet in, teach, learn, hang out and do homework as a team.”

While the space is dedicated to current Army ROTC cadets, Ufomadu wants all students to feel welcome at the new facility.

“We want to make it a program that everyone wants to be a part of,” Ufomadu said. “Even if they don’t end up becoming Army officers.”