Two by two, Patriots scaled Fenwick library. The 90-foot western wall provided an intense training exercise and exhibition for Patriot’s Day at George Mason University.

Rappelling is a core training event for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets.

“This training teaches students [cadets] how to challenge themselves and trust their training and leaders,” said Major Paul Kremer, the professor of Military Science at the Patriot ROTC Battalion. This training was not limited to cadets of the Patriot battalion. Anyone willing to sign a liability waiver could rappel.

“This is a chance for students to experience something different and to see if they are interested in the army,” Kremer said. “There are a lot of smiling faces, and that is what we’re looking for.”

Rappelling is an inherently dangerous activity. Safety was a paramount concern. Before anyone was allowed to get near the ropes they were instructed on safety procedures, how to tie their “swiss seat” harness and inspected by the staff at several stations, Kremer said.

The event drew a large crowed of onlookers, and those who wished to sample the ROTC experience.

“It was a chance to do something fun,” said freshman Nick Nicholson. “It was kind of a rush.”

Once at the top, many students timidly rappelled down the brick wall face, while the more experienced ROTC cadets quickly made their way down the wall.

“I would like to see more stuff like this,” said freshman physics major Eduardo Roca. Roca lost his shoe as he descended Fenwick.

“It was intense,” Roca said. “Once you’re at the edge, the nervousness and tension builds and climaxes.”

For every one person who passed on this experience, there were three who eagerly jumped at the chance to rappel the wall.

“How often can you rappel off a building?” said Kelsey Riley a junior majoring in tourism and events. She recruited her friend Lian Todd a junior majoring in psychology to join her descent.

The fact that this training coincided with Patriot’s day was coincidental, but extending the exercise for another day — in order to invite more people to rappel — was intended to capitalize on exposure.

“It helps get our name out there, and helps with school relationships,” said Erin Dailey, a senior majoring in government and international politics who serves as the cadet Battalion Commander. “It lets all the students see what we do.”

About 51 students expressed interest in joining ROTC next semester, Dailey said. The organization touts scholarships and job security for future second lieutenants in the United States Army.