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Meet the new Regimental Commander for the year 2024-2025

Sophia M. Righthouse was selected as the NU Corps of Cadets newest Regimental Commander from 2024 to 2025 this past week.

According to Righthouse, the Regimental Commander: “…is the unwavering commitment to dedicate their personal time to the stewardship of the Regiment, possessing concern for all Cadets, no matter their rank, position, or status, eager to hear their apprehensions and worries, and ultimately exerting every effort for the unequivocal advancement of the Corps, even in the absence of acknowledgment.”

In this exclusive interview, she shares her hopes, desires, and comments:

How does it feel knowing you are the FIRST female regimental commander since 2018?  

I feel incredibly honored to have been entrusted with the position of Regimental Commander, and I strive to represent the Corps of Cadets to the best of my ability, listening to each Cadet’s desires and needs. While being the first female regimental commander since 2018 is certainly a milestone, I am more excited to represent the Corps, focusing on leading with competence, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. A Cadet’s worth and capability are not determined by those attributes we can physically see but rather by attributes such as courage, resilience, intellect, empathy, and temperance. These truly define an individual’s potential and effectiveness as a leader. My aspiration is to be acknowledged for maintaining unwavering advocacy for the Corps, leading with stewardship, and ensuring that I serve the daily demands of the Corps efficiently. Although it is an honor to be the 7th female regimental commander, I am prouder being among two centuries of leaders carrying on the traditions and legacy of Norwich University. 

How does it feel knowing you are coming from a Provisional Battalion background, knowing the perception the Corps of Cadets has towards Cavalry, Drill Team, and Regimental Band? 

The Corps of Cadets is made up of a diverse range of specialty units, each with its own valuable and unique traits. Each unit provides Cadets with an avenue of experiences, enabling them to hone and apply their leadership skills. All units have a distinguished history within the Corps and play a valuable role in carrying forward their traditions for future generations of Cadets. Individuals form perceptions from their personal experiences and biases. An individual’s perception often does not reflect the sentiments of the masses. Personally, I can only speak to my own experiences at Norwich. I have been a member of the Cavalry Troop, cheer, the 2nd Battalion Public Affairs NCOIC, a staff reporter for the Guidon, a Humanities Initiative Fellow and Intern, a Peace and War Center Fellow, a writing coach for the Center for Writing, and I am most proud to be contracted with Army ROTC. While participating in all these endeavors, I have always felt respected and valued, never sensing a perceived image from the Corps. There is true value in the diversity of the various programs, units, and clubs that, combined, make up the very fabric and history of Norwich University. 

What were the processes like? (The initial interview, the final decision, the reveal?) 

The process for Regimental Commander is initiated by applicants submitting a packet with a cover letter and resume to the staff in Jackman Hall. Of those who submitted, 15 were selected for interviews with various mentors and Cadet leadership. From the 15, the mentors narrowed it down to three cadets. These three cadets then met with Colonel Passalacqua and Dean McGrath for a meeting to discuss ideas and goals. Finally, the top three cadets met with General McCollough for the concluding interview, lasting about an hour. The Regimental Commander was revealed to us during a lunch with the ROTC commanders, deans, and vice presidents. While the process was nerve-racking, the candidates had the ability to learn so much about themselves as leaders, as well as having the ability to share their personal ideas for the school. Personally, I enjoyed the process as I honed my interviewing skills and focused on refining my vision for the Corps.  

What are the goals you hope to accomplish next as the new regimental commander?  

I have a plethora of goals I hope to accomplish next year for both the betterment of the Corps, as well as improving the experience of Norwich for each and every Cadet. First, my main vision for next year includes reinstating honor and pride for the Corps. Over the past years, I’ve noticed the honor each Cadet embraces faltering progressively. I plan to attack this concern immediately at its core. To me, becoming Regimental Commander has nothing to do with the position, label, or designation granted nor the presumed status that many believe follows. Instead, I see the Regimental Commander as a listener and a servant leader to all at Norwich. I hope by listening to the needs of the Corps, acting promptly and efficiently, and demonstrating to Cadets that no matter their rank or status, Regimental Staff will recognize their vision and that their words and actions are able to produce substantial change in the Corps, that a sense of honor will become re-instilled in their pride for this institution.  

Next, with the jobs for next year being announced in the following weeks, Regimental Staff will begin planning for next year’s events. Not only will this ensure success for events we already know will be occurring, but will also allow Cadets in leadership ample time to come forward with their own ideas on how to improve these events, allowing Regimental Staff the ability to execute these events in line with the Cadet’s vision of the Corps. 

I plan on fostering a stronger relationship between all specialty units, sanctioned clubs, sports teams, Norwich’s Dean and Provost, and the Commandant Staff in order to promote the ability to participate in several activities on campus congruently. I recognize the limited lines of communication that many Cadets may feel like they have while participating in these engagements. Specialty units, clubs, sports, and academic societies are a cornerstone of Norwich’s distinctiveness, and I am committed to allocating my attention towards cultivating their growth and prosperity.  

What are some new policies you hope to implement, if any? 

Before any new policies are implemented, the Corps needs the ability to voice their vision for the Corps in a sanctioned manner. While I personally have spoken to many Cadets about what they hope to see enacted in the Corps, there are plenty of Cadets I haven’t had the ability to meet yet. I plan on hosting “Town Hall” meetings by company, allowing cadets to inform myself and my staff of both the great satisfactions they wish to see continued in the Corps, as well as grievances with plans of action. These ideas will be noted, strategies will be curated, and hopefully, cadets will be able to see, in real-time, their ideas put into effect within the Corps.  

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About the Contributor
Aira Yzabel Manampan, Editor In Chief
Aira Yzabel Manampan is The Guidon's current Editor-In-Chief and Editorial Cartoonist. She is a senior, expected to graduate with the class of 2024 in May. Aira is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. She is a part of the Corps of Cadets, affiliated with the Regimental Band. She is active on campus as the president of the Cartoonist of Norwich Club and the Digital Media Manager for The Grenadiers Jazz Band. Aira also serves as an ambassador for the NU Undergraduate Research Program and a Fellow for the Norwich Humanities Initiative for the Department of Global Humanities. Outside academics, she is a freelance cartoonist/illustrator.
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