No strangers to early mornings or strenuous workouts, members of Binghamton University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program joined Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger for his daily run Friday morning.
Cadet Anubha Pathak, a junior majoring in accounting, said ROTC students decided to join Stenger for a run on the morning of Oct. 10 to promote the program.
“We want to be an integral part of the Binghamton community, and we think that this will be a good step by running with the president of the University,” Pathak said.
Stenger said he was happy to run alongside the ROTC students.
“These are really dedicated students who love their country, want to make a difference, want to help in any way that they can,” Stenger said. “They know that they’re going to put themselves in harm’s way someday, and you have to appreciate their efforts and their loyalty. And they’re a lot of fun to run with — that’s for sure.”
Though waking up for a 6:20 a.m. run around the campus may be a struggle for some students, this is a typical morning activity for ROTC students.
“Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and sometimes Thursdays as well, we’ll have physical training at this time and we’ll run and do various workouts in the morning,” said Cadet William Lemen, a senior majoring in biology.
The ROTC program is fairly new to Binghamton; the first students graduated from the program in 1980. Students in the program go to Cornell University for classes every week with cadets in other ROTC programs in the Cornell Excelsior group, which also includes Cornell, Elmira College, Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland.
“Our actual host school is Cornell, which President Stenger was an alumni,” Pathak said. “Our classes are Tuesday, and we have to drive up to Cornell. There hasn’t always been an ROTC, but they’ve had a cadet core, which is where people would train to join the army. And once ROTC started, which was after World War II, that’s when the ROTC came to Cornell as well.”
Stenger said the program is relatively small, but it’s been consistent in size over the past two years.
Lemen, who has run with Stenger in the past, organized the students’ run with the University president.
“Last year we ran with President Stenger. I figured it would be pretty good for the program,” Lemen said. “It would be a good thing for him to be here and see what we do three to four times a week.”
Despite the difficult morning workout routines, the cadets said that they take pride in their place as ROTC students and are optimistic about the outcome.
“A lot of times it gets monotonous, and you can get kind of lost in all the stuff you do,” Lemen said. “But just knowing that you get to be an officer in the United States Army at the end of it — that’s the main goal, that’s the light at the end of the tunnel.”