Need a break this pre-finals week? This ROTC cadet prefers to keep busy

Sigma Nu scholarship chairman and ROTC cadet Matthew Legendre of Elizabethtown finds time to balance his school, ROTC and fraternity responsibilities.

Taylor Metcalf

On a college campus, it’s easy to get involved in several clubs and activities. It’s equally easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked. Matthew Legendre does not have this problem.

Legendre, a 20-year-old economics major, is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and WKU’s ROTC program. In ROTC, he is the officer in charge for the color guard and oversees the remedial running portion for those who struggle to pass their physical training test.

In high school, he was a part of JROTC, the junior level of the program. Years of running cross country make it easier for him to help those who need an extra push.

For Sigma Nu, Legendre is the scholarship chairman, helping the “brothers” in the fraternity find tutoring for classes they find difficult. 

“They’re both different extremes,” Legendre said during one of his few breaks. “The fraternity is a lot more social and a more relaxed environment, while ROTC is a lot more regimented.”

Legendre’s day is packed full of activities, and it all starts at 5:30 a.m. After waking up, a normal day of ROTC physical training starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 7:30 a.m. On Tuesday, he focuses on sprints. Wednesday is upper body, and Thursday is a group run around campus.

After training, he studies until 11 a.m., when his classes begin. After hours of work, Legendre heads to the gym for two hours and finishes his workout with a run. 

Just when you think his day is done, he heads to Sigma Nu to check on candidate study hours, bond with his brothers and participate in fraternity philanthropy events if they’re scheduled.

Between ROTC and Sigma Nu, he spends roughly 15-20 hours with other people, with little time to himself. But this is exactly how he likes it.

“I think I work better when I have small amounts of downtime,” Legendre said. “If I have too much downtime, I start taking it for granted and lounging around more.”

For Legendre, plans have to be made several weeks in advance — “spontaneous” outings are something he’s not prone to do. With events left and right, it can be difficult to squeeze in plans with friends. 

But through Sigma Nu and ROTC, he found friends along the way. Jacob Goldman, Legendre’s roommate and a fellow ROTC cadet, said he understands his friend’s busy schedule.

“With ROTC and fraternity events, he’s always in and out, but he does an excellent job handling both,” Goldman said. “I think the fraternity keeps him from going crazy with the incredible amount of ROTC stuff he’s involved in. It really brings him back to reality.”

Even with his small amount of time alone, he said he wouldn’t change it. He joined Sigma Nu his junior year but said he wishes he joined sooner, as he’s loved being able to get involved on campus and join other people. 

Jacob Sander, Sigma Nu vice president, said he sees big things happening in Legendre’s future.

“[I’m] not exactly sure what the future holds for Matthew after his time here at WKU,” Sander said. “But I do know that his leadership, passion and energy will bring him great success in whatever endeavor he pursues.”

Features reporter Taylor Metcalf can be reached at [email protected].