Until January of this year, ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) students were on their own when it came to finding transportation to the schools where their branch of ROTC operated. For the three branches of military ROTC (Army, Navy, Marines), this meant traveling respectively to the University of Santa Clara, San Jose State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. In an attempt to make Stanford a more military-friendly campus, the Military Service as Public Service initiative (MSAPS), hosted by the Haas Center, was created at the beginning of 2010. Part of its function is to fund Zipcar transportation for all ROTC students.
With no ROTC program on campus, students often have to commute to other campuses for the rigorous academic and physical training that their ROTC curriculums entail. Before MSAPS, this commute had to be paid for by students themselves. Since the initiation of MSAPS, the Haas Center covers all costs through a reimbursement program. For two ROTC students (who wish to remain anonymous due to military regulations), this funding has been a tremendous help.
One of them told the Review, “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this help from the Haas Center. My first year, there was a senior who had a car. But once he left, I was on my own. I would have had to buy a car and pay for gas and maintenance. That’s why when the Haas Center came in with the money, it was amazing.”
Many credit William Treseder ’11 as the initial influence behind establishing this program. Treseder, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, had come to Stanford as a transfer student after serving in the military for five years. As Sebastain Gould ’12, a U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal, remembers, “[Treseder] approached different departments a couple of years ago, when nothing happened on campus for Veterans Day. He basically built a military support-network.” The concern over the lack of military community and understanding on campus was alarming to Treseder, especially given the rise in the number of veterans coming to Stanford due to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
The Haas Center’s MSAPS program currently receives its funds from President Hennessy’s office. “We provide a block grant of funds to the Haas Center for students participating in ROTC,” the President’s office informed The Review. “The amount of money is relatively modest, but sufficient to meet the needs as outlined by Haas. It comes from the President’s discretionary funds.”
When asked whether this support will always be available to the MSAPS program, the President’s office responded, “Presidential discretionary funds are typically used to support new ventures and programs and are intended to last for a limited period of time. It is our hope and expectation that a permanent source of funding will be identified to support this activity.”
MSAPS makes several other contributions aside from covering ROTC Zipcar costs. These include celebrating military service, identifying student liaisons, inviting guest speakers, and organizing community-building events. The most recent event was the Veterans Day Barbecue at Sigma Nu on November 11. According to attendees of these events, President Hennessy himself was present at the last barbecue at Sigma Nu in the spring.