As of Oct. 13, UTD has been certified as a Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps Provisional Extension Unit, which will make ROTC membership easier and more fulfilling for Comets.
In the past, Comets interested in pursuing a military career would have to rely on UTD’s partnership with UT Arlington or the University of North Texas to complete the ROTC or AROTC program. Now, UTD students can participate in the program on the UTD campus. Signed on Oct. 13 with Army Cadet Command, the proclamation creates a provisional extension unit from the host program in Arlington to bring to UTD three permanent cadre members, two military members, one contractor and one recruiter for potential ROTC cadets.
“Having ROTC now at UTD where they won’t have to travel to Arlington, where they just come to school and there’s ROTC members here for their military classes, for their physical training and for their military science labs is going to be a huge factor in recruiting a lot more people here on campus,” Greg Leclair, Lieutenant Colonel and professor of military science, said.
According to Leclair, the fact that UTD is a prominent STEM institution is valuable to the ROTC program due to students’ advanced analytical ability. Leclair believes the presence of ROTC on campus will get more Comets involved with the program.
“Word of mouth, being able to observe other cadets in uniform, seeing the cadre on campus, and having an entire hallway in Green Hall will attract people,” Leclair said. “There’s going to be a lot of opportunities for ROTC to embed in campus life at freshman orientations and freshman classes to introduce ourselves and what we can provide.”
Cadet and computer science sophomore Pranitha Emani was awarded a ROTC scholarship of $45,000 and has secured a job working with the US Army after she graduates. Emani said her involvement in the ROTC program has improved her leadership skills, resilience and critical thinking skills that will help her in the professional world.
“Coming from a person in high school that was very soft spoken and [not] being able to speak as much, ROTC has brought out another side of me,” Emani said. “I’ve been more confident with myself being able to speak up, have a good voice for myself and being able to collaborate with others and having that teamwork and cohesion.”
In the past, Emani had to commute to both UTD to pursue her degree and UTA for ROTC training. This prevented her from being involved in many extracurricular activities her freshman year.
“I think one of the major setbacks why most Dallas cadets don’t participate in the ROTC program is because it’s more of a time commitment to drive to another campus,” Emani said. “With that being said, people not having access to cars or anything like that was a major setback to why people weren’t interested in ROTC.”
“I feel like, especially with this new opportunity that’s come up, we’re trying to get it out there and expand our resources,” Emani said. “We’re making sure that everyone knows that there is an ROTC program at UTD and it’s not off campus anymore.”