August 26, 2010, 10:49 PM
When Keenan Jones wants to catch up with his stepfather, he tries to avoid video conferences. Thereâ€™s a three-second delay in his stepfatherâ€™s Internet connection, and the video chat must be arranged months in advance.
Jonesâ€™ stepfather is in the U.S. Army, doing military intelligence work in Afghanistan in his sixth long-term deployment.
â€śI miss him a lot, but itâ€™s gotten to the point where me and my mom can manage,â€ť said Jones, a first-year undeclared engineering student. â€śItâ€™s just a system weâ€™re in.â€ť
Jones is one of about 5,000 incoming first-years who are preparing care packages this summer for troops overseas.
During the last day of each orientation session, first-years listen to speeches by ROTC personnel and write letters to soldiers.