Western community rappels at Sallee

Steven Barnum , Assistant News Editor

The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) gave students and faculty at Western Illinois University the chance to rappel.

The ROTC program was created in 1916 in order to better prepare students to become future members of the United States military. The program is now available to students in more than 1,700 colleges and universities in the country. Hundreds participated in the exercise, which took place on the side of Sallee Hall last week.

With the assistance of a sergeanton the roof of the building,  participants were strapped to ropes to ensure they were safe and secure. They were then given instructions on how to properly travel down the exterior of the building with the rappelling process.

Reaching the ground requires users to bounce their feet off of the wall to create momentum on their way down. According to MS3 Jason Lunstrum, the ultimate goal is to bounce just once. Lunstrum says that this ROTC campus event serves two purposes.

“This is not for us to practice our skills, but to open it up to the public and get a reaction from students and everyone else on campus,” he said. For Paige Rohrback, the exercise could offer a chance to step outside of your comfort zone.

“It was a really cool experience, definitely not something I ever saw myself doing, but I’m really glad I did it,” Rohrback said. “Initially, going over the edge was terrifyingbut once I went over it was totally worth it.”

Rappelling is a skill that could be useful in several situations: traveling down paths with loose rocks; as a safer method of climbing for those with less experience; and if there is an injured climber who needs assistance.

According to climbing.com,rappelling is often a dangerous practice, but there are simple steps to ensure it is done safely and correctly. The acronym “BRAKES” is common knowledge in the rappelling community. Each letter stands for a step to make it easier to remember. In order, the steps are buckles, ropes, anchor, knots, ends and safety backup.

For Preston Bubb, rappelling was something that was hard to pass up.

“It was an experience that I’ve never gotten the chance to have before, let alone for free,” Bubb said. “It’s really nice that Western has opportunities like that for their students to participate in.”

Lunstrum estimates that roughly 400 members of the Western community rappelled while the ROTC was on campus. For those who didn’t get a chance to rappel this time around, the ROTC holds this opportunity every semester. Although it’s designed to recruit and train, Lunstrum says everyone is welcome.

“This is just something we do to interact with everyone else on campus,” he said. “We can still have a fun time together.”