VWIL Cadets Really Do Learn the ‘Ropes’

wilderness 1The 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.

“Wilderness” plays a vital role in getting nULLS (first year VWIL cadets) off to a good start for what will be an exceptionally demanding four years of college.

Activities require teamwork and are physically and emotionally challenging. Upper class VWIL (also known as “cadre”) led the new crop of nULLs as they camped, backpacked, learned rock climbing and rappelling, stepped off a mountain and whizzed down a zip line, and completed ropes courses.


wilderness packing gear 2016
Packing Their Gear
wilderness logs
Climing High
wilderness brushing teeth
Learning How Backpackers Brush Their Teeth
wilderness meal time 2016
Meal Time
Wilderness hanging out
wilderness log ladder
A tricky situation
wilderness rescue
Flying High
wilderness wired
wilderness bikesShowing Their Strength