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Cultural awareness for JSU Cadets


Something big is coming.

The ROTC on campus here at Jacksonville State University has partnered with International House students and Dr. John Ketterer, Director of the International House, to create sessions intended to broaden the understanding that Cadets in the ROTC have of the cultures around the world.

On the third floor of Rowe Hall on March 4 at 7 p.m., Cadets will be able to experience the language, customs, and courtesies found in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia through the teachings of International House students.

The ROTC has a program called Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP), which allows a certain number of Cadets each year to attend a tree week training seminar in a foreign country.

According to Captain Floyd Sawdy, a member of ROTC and Assistant Professor of Military Science at JSU, five Cadets were selected to go last summer. This summer, only one Cadet is going due to funding cutbacks.

In response to these budget cuts to the CULP program, Dr. Ketterer and CPT Sawdy, along with other members of the ROTC, brainstormed the idea of bringing the culture of other countries to the Cadets.

Desmond Clay, a Cadet in the JSU ROTC and one of the main organizers of the cultural awareness sessions, says of the CULP cutbacks, “I wouldn’t say it’s the key reason but it’s one way that altered the class.”

According to the official Army website,, minorities make up over 40 percent of the people fighting in the Army.

Cadet Clay says of the Army, “The Army is very diverse. People see an average soldier and they think that’s the type of person that goes to Afghanistan and kick in doors. But that’s not completely true.”

For example, CPT Sawdy, when he finishes teaching here at JSU, is eligible to become a sort of Ambassador with tribes around the world, in order to help learn the traditions and cultures of the tribe and help avoid starting wars due to misunderstandings.

“And that’s where avoiding conflict starts,” says Cadet Clay of learning about the cultures other than your own. “We’re trying to gain knowledge of a different culture so we can understand.”

CPT Sawdy says of the new cultural awareness sessions, “As leaders, sometimes we have to use critical thinking and think outside the box to ensure our students receive the best training. We believe this will be the start of a great relationship with the International House Students and Dr. Ketterer.”

Attendees will be divided up into three groups and a rotation will allow all the groups to be taught the different cultures that will be featured in the session.

While the program has been created specifically for Cadets, members of the public may attend provided they contact CPT Sawdy and request the privilege of attendance.

CPT Sawdy can be contacted at 256-782-8025 or

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