The Corps of Cadets and the ROTC program provide extensive training in leadership and experience in a hierarchical organization that stresses the chain of command, accountability and adherence to clear standards of performance. Because the majority of our students will pursue careers in business, government, education and human services, VWIL develops leaders for the civilian sectors. Many civilian organizations are relatively flat in structure, use flexible systems of delegation and accountability and use consensus decision making styles. VWIL’s "class system," therefore, can be contrasted with the regimental system and allows students to practice different leadership styles. In VWIL each class — seniors, juniors and sophomores — govern themselves and their elected leaders come together to form the Class Congress. The class system guides students when they are out of uniform and is structured as a series of committees that are responsible for student conduct, academics, spirit and morale and planning and implementing the first year experience for freshmen and upper class "transitional students."
The first year experience is designed to prepare the freshmen class for full and responsible participation in VWIL. Freshmen are referred to as "nULLS," always spelled with the lower case "n". The term nULL means zero and void and suggests that the new student is unfamiliar with the ways of the corps and the values it represents. The challenge of the nULL year is to develop class unity and commitment to corps standards. During their time as nULLs freshmen have fewer privileges than upper class women and are expected to take direction, show respect and demonstrate that they can handle the multiple demands of life in the corps. Their successful completion of the experience culminates in "rites of passage," a traditional ceremony of recognition and celebration.