Marywood creates chapter in veterans program

Marywood+creates+chapter+in+veterans+program

Photo credit/ Joe Petro

Autumn Granza, Community Editor

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” So said the famous poet, Maya Angelou, of Veterans Day.

Marywood not only recognizes and celebrates veterans, but they also recently began offering them an opportunity to further their education.

The new Office of Military & Veteran Services at Marywood began in the spring of 2012. The office serves as an advocate for all military veterans and their families, and is there to accommodate all needs. Basic needs, including education benefits for the veterans or family members of veterans, are taken care of in a timely manner.

Since opening in 2012, the Office of Military & Veteran Services also began its own chapter of the Student Veterans of America, which is a nationwide program that “provides military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.” The nationwide program allows universities to start their own local chapters. Marywood’s chapter is called the Student Veteran Alliance (SVA), and provides students with information on jobs and activities, on and off of campus, and also aids in outside problems. The SVA acts as a “safe haven” for military students.

There are approximately 17 dependents in the program. A dependent is a student who requires education benefits. There are also approximately 62 veterans enrolled. Not all students are active, however, because many are deployed.

“There is a large number of service men and women leaving the military and coming back to school,” says Director Lauren Williams. “Each veteran has unique needs that vary from the traditional student body and that is why it is important to have an office like this on campus. It will not only serve the students, but also educate the rest of the campus community on the best practices when working with the student veterans on campus.”

The Office of Military & Veteran Services also provides educational programs for students, faculty, and staff about veterans’ needs. Workshops are held on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), reintegration issues, and military culture. The most recent workshop held in August was titled, “Beyond GI Joe: The Contemporary College Student Veteran.”

The SVA is fully in charge of the Veterans Day Celebrations here at Marywood. On Nov. 11 there was a special Veterans Day Mass held in The Marian Chapel.

The SVA members also placed 6,600 flags on campus to pay tribute to the fallen servicemen and women from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.

“I believe this is important,” said Cadet RJ Naperkowski, junior political science/history major. “It is not too often people get together and do this because they want to. It is very special.”

The names of the fallen veterans were called on November 12 in the Fireplace Lounge and there was also a Minute of Silence that was held at 2 p.m.

“Looking at the flags makes me sad and it makes me remember that we can’t forget all the brave men and women who gave their lives for this country,” Cadet Dominic Loughlin, a junior business major, said.

The flags have gained recognition on campus and social media sites. Many people stopped and payed tribute as they were walking by while others posted a simple yet meaningful, “Thank you” with a picture on Facebook.

“Everyone walking by is saying ‘thank you,’ and I think what they mean by that is that they are thanking us for representing them as the student body, and showing appreciation for everything those men and women have given up for us,” said Andrew Kudasik, junior aviation major and Navy Reserve.

Aside from The Office of Military & Veteran Services and SVA, the Reserve Officer Training Core, or ROTC, is another program that is available for military students. The ROTC is a leadership training program that allows students to earn commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S Army after they have earned a degree in their field of study. There are 16 Marywood students enrolled in ROTC, which is hosted at The University of Scranton. Schools such as Marywood, Keystone College, The University of Scranton, Baptist Bible College, Kings College, and Wilkes University are all participants.

“Army ROTC instills leadership skills that cadets will carry with them all of their lives, whether they pursue a military career or not,” said Lieutenant Colonel, Ryan D. Remely.

The Office of Military and Veteran Services is unable to obtain the veteran status of students, faculty and staff; anyone with prior military service is asked to self-disclose his or her service information to Lauren Williams. For more information on Office of Military & Veteran Services, visit www.marywood.edu/veterans or contact Lauren Williams at [email protected]