Summer 2017 Corps Review    |    Back

First-year cadets go through the check-in process on the first day of New Cadet Week 2017.

First-year cadets go through the check-in process on the first day of New Cadet Week 2017.
First-year cadets go through the check-in process on the first day of New Cadet Week 2017.

By Lt. Col. Dave Williams ’79, U.S. Army (retired)

My friend the late Charlie Cornelison ’67 used to talk about recruiting for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and the regimental band in railroad terms, which makes sense for a fellow who grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, at that time the epicenter of the Norfolk and Western Railway.  

According to Charlie, a train with a new freshman class of cadets would pull into Blacksburg, they would disembark, and the train would pull away empty — and it was up to both the current Corps and dedicated cadet alumni to fill the train for the return trip to Blacksburg the following August. As you read this, the Huckleberry is on its way to Blacksburg with approximately 360 new cadets on board. 

When it departs empty, our work will begin again.  

Recruiting is a broad front, and alumni recruiters are involved in everything from the simple to the complex. Being a Corps recruiter could be as simple as advocating for the Corps with friends and neighbors with high school-age children. 

Some of us are involved with college fairs, both spring and fall. College fair volunteers agree to meet representatives of Virginia Tech’s admissions office at various venues, both in and out of state, to talk with prospective applicants to the university specifically about the Corps.  

This summer, alumni recruiters have written personal notes to those individuals who accepted an offer of admission to Virginia Tech as cadets. The beauty of this project is you do not have to be a subject-matter expert on every aspect of the current Corps. All you have to do is remember that the Corps was, and is, important to you and follow the guidelines of a vetted message. 

Some of us are also involved in Corps parents clubs. Here we are both recruiters and retainers along with the parents of current cadets.  Nothing settles the nerves of the parents of soon-to-be cadets as the calm words of others who have experienced the Corps.

One of the more effective techniques is visiting the two or three high schools nearest your home. First, request recruiting material from Lt. Col. Rewa Mariger at rhintz@vt.edu. When the material arrives, call and introduce yourself to the guidance director and make an appointment to drop off the material. During that visit, volunteer to be a facilitator for information for any students who express an interest in the Corps. The notes would fit on the back of a ticket stub.

If this sounds interesting to you and you want to get involved, just fill out the online form.

We will make you a conductor, too!

Get Involved: Participate

There are several simple ways you can help us recruit new cadets.

For example, advocate for the Corps with friends and neighbors with high school-age children. Or visit some of the high school near you with a recruiting package. If you want to get involved, just fill out the online form