March 03, 2009 | Matt Decker

On Saturday, April 4, the newly formed Military Appreciation Club shall host a paintball outing for interested students.

“Paintball is a military-ish like thing that we can do to get people interested in us, and to hang out. It will be a fun time. Plus we’ve got pizza in the Noordewier-Vanderwerp basement afterwards,” said freshman Ross Pursifull, who is the club commander. The event, which will be the first ever hosted by the new organization, will feature Calvin and Grand Valley State University participants versus Western Michigan University participants.

Many colleges participating

Pursifull, who is a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), explained that the group was created with the goal of offering fellowship to students affiliated with the ROTC, National Guard or the Reserve. “On 'first ’werp,' we’ve got a lot of ROTC guys. We just wanted to have a way for all the military people to hang out and have fellowship,” said Pursifull, who is considering history as a major.

In the Grand Rapids area, GVSU, Grace Bible College, Aquinas College, Cornerstone University and Calvin all belong to the same ROTC group. Social networking for his new group will be easy for Pursifull and fellow charter members of the Military Appreciation Club, freshman John Eske and sophomore Andrew Taylor, both of whom are also members of ROTC.

Discussion and support

In addition to paintball, Pursifull envisions movie nights for the group, during which discussion about the ethics of war can take place. Also, Pursifull aspires for the new organization to act as a support group for families of deployed soldiers. “There are a lot of family support groups for deployed soldiers, and we are thinking we could probably partner with some of them and help out some families with their husbands or wives deployed overseas,” he said. “We want to go down to the local National Guard armory or wherever and say, ‘Hey, how can we help?’”

Because the Military Appreciation Club was recently approved as a student organization, those plans will take time to be implemented. However, the paintball outing is coming up very soon. Pursifull wants his club to include all the students on campus, not just those who participate in the military.

For more information or to sign up for the paintball outing e-mail Ross Pursifull at

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