Marine Corps group aims to garner support for on-campus candidates

Members of a new club called Semper Frogs plan to bring the camaraderie of the U.S. Marine Corps to campus.

Senior advertising/public relations major Mandy Carnes, founder of the club, said she wanted to tie in the Marine Corps’ motto of Semper Fidelis, which means “always faithful,” with the university.

“Since we are the Horned Frogs and the Marine Corps is our main emphasis, I chose Semper Frogs as the name, meaning that we will always be a frog,” Carnes said.

Carnes said the idea for the club is modeled after the Semper Fi Society in the Marine Corps. She said that after returning from Officer Candidates School last summer, she realized there was no solid support system on campus for Marine Corps officer candidates.

“It was essentially like you were going through the program by yourself,” Carnes said. “I didn’t want any future candidates to feel like the Marine Corps was in the background.”

Carnes said so far Semper Frogs has eight members. She said the club needs at least 10 members in order to be considered an official university-affiliated organization. Carnes said the short-term goal for the club is to reach 20 members, but she would like it to continue to increase. She said currently there is one veteran member.

There has been a lot of student interest in the club, Carnes said, but the biggest obstacle has been effective communication with the interested students.

“A lot of people do not know about the benefits (of being) a Marine Corps officer and only see the presence of the Army and Air Force,” Carnes said. “I really want to change that and show students that the Marines are definitely on (the) TCU campus.”

Carnes said anyone, not just prior or current Marine Corps officer candidates, can join Semper Frogs.

The purpose of Semper Frogs is to organize Marines, students and officer candidates to raise “esprit de corps,” or morale, Carnes said. She said it is important that the club form a bond with the university community, provide leadership development and engage in community service projects and events.

Carnes said she wants to model the club after the level of involvement Greek organizations have with their philanthropies.

“We are hoping to acquire a charity, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and put on our own race for them,” Carnes said.

According to the Wounded Warrior Project Web site, the charity provides programs and services to severely injured service members during the time between active duty and the transition to civilian life.

Currently, Carnes said the club is working on conducting a five or 10k charity race during the fall for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. She said the club participated in the Spring 2010 Mud Run Challenge on April 11..

According to the Mud Run’s Web site, regular citizens, civil servants and military personnel compete in a series of boot camp obstacles that are surrounded by mud for the race.

Carnes said the club has monthly meetings and also meets three times a week to workout together. She said members also meet once a month for a ruck march, where they strap on their boots or backpacks and go for a hike.

April Brown, chair of the veterans’ committee and assistant director of assessment and retention in the Office of Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services, will serve as student adviser for the club. Brown said the club will be an official organization within the next year. She said clubs like Semper Frogs often generate community support because of their affiliation with the Marine Corps.

Carnes said the mission of Semper Frogs is to help develop students into future Marine Corps officers or into productive leaders of society by building a solid foundation of leadership traits and principles based on the traditions, ideals and core values of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Matthew Harris, a sophomore communication studies major who helped launch the club, said he wanted to help create an atmosphere where students interested in the Marine Corps could learn and share knowledge with students who have similar interests. He said he also wants Semper Frogs to be a club where veterans could be active.

“Veterans usually aren’t your typical 18-year-old right out of high school,” Harris said. “Through Semper Frogs they can be plugged into a social club where students share their interests and benefit from their advice.”