Diddle Arena the focus of Army ROTC grant

Sgt. 1st Class Richard A. Villeneuve (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Charles K. Honaker hang a banner in E.A. Diddle Arena Friday as a part of a $38,000 ROTC branding project at WKU. The project is cost free to the university and to ROTC.

Johnathon Hudgins

As one of seven universities chosen this year by the U.S. Army Cadet Command for added branding support, WKU, its students and visitors will be seeing added Army ROTC signage and awareness at Diddle Arena.

Sgt. 1st Class Charles K. Houaker of the Army’s Accessions Support Brigade said Friday, as he and Sgt. 1st Class Richard A. Villeneuve were hanging prints in Diddle Arena, that seven schools are chosen from eight regions annually for added branding support.

The cost of materials used for this project are about $23,000, with the average cost per school being about $28,000.

Houaker said that the labor used to install the material would cost an estimated $10,000 if an outside company was hired to install it instead of the Army.

Villeneuve said that the Army producing and installing the branding materials, which include prints, pop-up banners and all other signage, helps cut costs.

“From beginning to end, it’s all Army,” Villeneuve said.

Houaker said that in addition to helping with recruitment and retention in the ROTC program, the added branding around Diddle Arena will help build camaraderie between ROTC and the school.

He also said that the sense of patriotism from the school and the community is already high and that he felt welcomed at WKU.

Villeneuve said that not only have the students and faculty been welcoming, they have also been very supportive and helpful during the process.

“A ‘thank you’ from a student brings a tear to the eye,” Villeneuve said.

Houaker said that he has been to multiple universities across the country doing the same thing that he is doing at WKU.

Before branding is installed, Army representatives are sent to the chosen school to take pictures and measurements of the site where the material will be posted.

After the assessments have been made, the Army meets with the school and its ROTC program to discuss branding options and concepts.

Capt. Joe Huggins, WKU’s ROTC Recruitment Operations Officer, said the Army and its Cadet Command provide other materials and support throughout the year for special events and other things.

Although there is already some branding posted around campus, this project will be centered on Diddle Arena.

“We will focus branding on Diddle Arena to see what we can do and later on possibly spread around campus,” Huggins said.