Matthew Velge is a business management major with a focus in accounting coming up on graduation. Velge is an American student who grew up in Brussels, Belgium, which he says, “Growing up abroad, like Future Leader Camp(FLC), gives me a whole new perspective. Some students don't realize in different places in the world [things] are done a little differently or it's not the way you know; it's the way people perceive them to be.” He attributes his upbringing overseas to his broader view of the world as well as his passion for multicultural diversity, which Velge claims is well represented here at Norwich University. During his time at Norwich, he has encountered students from around the world and feels it has been beneficial to the university in general. Velge looks forward to the opportunity to expand his horizons further with study abroad to the Virgin Islands because of their business program. He encourages everyone to go especially those in the corps, “[They think they’re] losing an opportunity of a semester to have a rank here, which is not true.” Looking forward to not only graduating and studying abroad, he has plenty of interests on campus that excite him such as the chess club, game theory, upcoming international military events, military history club, and student government association (SGA).
One of Matthew Velge’s proudest moments with Norwich University is graduating rookdom, “You're finally a cadet and you're finally one of the Norwich cadets, like you're not a rook anymore. When you graduate from rookdom you're doing what others would not do.” He attributes much of his success through rookdom to his experiences at Future Leader Camp in 2016. Velge recalls, “My first day coming in as a rook, I was already calling people by ranks and knowing what rank people were. They were like, ‘Either you're [a] military brat, or you went to a military High School.’ But I was like, ‘No, I just did FLC.’ For me FLC taught us that, it was really easy for me just calling people Staff Sergeant, sergeant, Sergeant First Class, first Sergeant and all this kind of stuff. When you're in FLC you act like a rook.” Thinking about the rookdom experience, he found that it directly parallels FLC, “Those two weeks, I would say, for most kids are the two most productive weeks; they're the most efficient, like during rookdom, you get a lot of things done and you get them done very fast, so I think it helps you be more productive.” Matthew Velge makes the point to distinguish how the summer camp works, it is much shorter than rookdom, however it creates a lot of structure and discipline that cadets learn their first year at Norwich University during that first week of camp. He notes that in week two, it is more activity based around skills taught by the army such as rappelling and land navigation.
While Velge is on the cusp of graduation, he is looking forward to what his future after Norwich University will be. If he can, Matthew Velge wants to enter the armed forces; but if not he would like to go into public investment or banking. As a senior, Velge has some advice he would like to share with high school students, “College is a lot different than high school. Cause High School is very structured, and you don't have as many responsibilities and you're not as responsible for organizing your day. I think a good thing that FLC did was that it gave a structure, so I use what I learned from FLC to structure my school based here in Norwich.” He recommends attending Future Leader Camp, “It gives you an idea of should I join the corps of cadets or not? It's like a pre-rookdom.” He feels that Norwich University has a lot to offer with the rise of new clubs and ones making large strides. He is leaving his mark with SGA in getting great ideas regarding how to improve the school’s food, the chess club is on the rise to be a competitive team, and creating marketing opportunities for the military history club to recruit new students with passions like his own.