An army of Culver Stockton students, wearing National Guard-sponsored t-shirts, prepares to do some volunteer work as part of a partnership between the college and the Missouri National Guard. (Submitted photo)
CANTON, Mo. - Students at Culver Stockton College are gaining a new perspective on the military and life outside of college thanks to a partnership between the school and the Missouri National Guard.
"The purpose of the National Guard sponsorship is to build a collaborative team with local colleges in hopes of helping the Guard and the college with recruitment, as well as providing students with many program opportunities the Guard has to offer, explained Sgt. 1st Class John F. Kibbler, of Hannibal, a National Guard recruiting supervisor. "We help promote and publicize sporting events, help with campus wide projects and sponsor activities for students and aide in classroom instruction."
One of the first events the Guard assisted with was "Extreme Dome Makeover," a citywide cleanup lead by freshman students in their First Year Experience course, as well as upper classman, college faculty and staff and community members. Guardsmen worked to clean up various homes; helped remove sidewalk at the community garden, and created a walking trail around the river, as well as various other projects. The Guard was also involved in the school's Greek Life Barbeque, meeting with students and bringing an obstacle course onto campus.
Guardsmen are also participating in Culver Stockton academics.
"The Criminal Justice Department will have a couple of National Guard military police officers teach policing procedures that we typically employ," Kibbler said. The Guard is also attempting to bring in a Judge Adjutant General's officer to speak to the Pre-Law students, and student from a Small Group Communication class are participating in a leadership course."
Culver Stockton Athletic Director, Greg McVey, along with professors in various departments, worked to make the college's association with the Guard a reality.
"This has been a very viable relationship for both parties," McVey said. "Culver Stockton is committed to experiential learning; seeing and participating in activities instead of sitting in a classroom listening to a professor. The way the National Guard trains embodies that."
While Kibbler acknowledges that recruiting Culver Stockton students is one goal of the partnership, he says it also benefits students who will never enter the military.
We're passing along real-world knowledge to these students, and that is the goal of Culver Stockton, to have all courses includes experiential learning in their curriculum," Kibbler said. "The partnership also puts a friendly face to the U.S. Military, showing students that soldiers are regular people as well."
"Having the National Guard on campus sets a good example for our students," McVey added. "The Guard sets an example for commitment, duty and honor. It increases student awareness about the Guard's role in the community."
"We want everyone at the school to know what the National Guard does and to see National Guardsmen on a regular basis," Kibbler said. "Partnerships, such as the one we have with Culver Stockton College, only expand the mission of the Guard. Students will learn about the many opportunities the Guard has to offer as well as receive unique educational opportunities and we will help them promote the great things they are doing on their campus."
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