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Widener Student Earns Select Leadership Experience in Malawi

Widener junior Jordan Saufley (left) poses with officer trainees from the Malawi Army.

This past summer, while many college students were busy working or spending time at the Jersey Shore, Jordan Saufley of Wilmington, Del., a junior operations management major at Widener University, was in the African nation of Malawi helping to repair a crumbling school house and training with the Malawi Army.

Saufley, a cadet in the Widener Army ROTC Dauntless Battalion, was among a select number of cadets nationwide chosen to participate in the U.S. Army Cadet Command Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) Program.

The purpose of CULP is to develop greater cultural awareness and foreign language proficiency skills in the Army by exposing cadets to everyday life in different cultures. The end goal is to produce commissioned officers who possess the right blend of language and culture skills required to support global operations in the 21st century.

Cadets have the opportunity to select from a list what country they would like to visit as part of the program, but Saufley chose to roll the dice.

“I didn’t have a preference of where I went,” Saufley said. “At first, when I heard I was going to Malawi, I wasn’t sure what part of Africa it was in. I was excited to go, but I wanted to know what I was getting myself into, so I hopped on Google to see what was going on in the country at the time.”

After a week-long crash course at Fort Knox, Ky. on the social, cultural and historical aspects of Malawi, Saufley was off to Africa. While there, he and the other ROTC cadets in his group were engaged in humanitarian service, and participated in military exercises with the Malawi Army officer trainees.

“They had a school on the base for families. The roof had collapsed and it was in a bad state,” Saufley said. “We pooled whatever money we had and purchased lumber and helped them fix up some of the classrooms so they could use them again. We also purchased notebooks, pens and pencils.”

Saufley said the CULP program was an invaluable learning experience from a cultural and leadership perspective.

“One of the most important things I learned was being able to figure out how to work with another culture because the world is a much smaller place today,” Saufley said. “It was one of the best training opportunities I’ve had as a cadet at Widener.”

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve more than 6,000 students. Widener is proud to be a tobacco-free campus. Visit the university’s website,