Veterans Week to honor ROTC groups at halftime, connect students

Veterans Day may be over, but campus groups and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center are providing students and faculty with opportunities to write letters to enlisted soldiers, learn more about student veterans and celebrate veterans’ sacrifices.

A candlelight vigil and a “Salute to Services” at Friday’s football game against Washington State will honor veterans as a part of Military Appreciation Day.

This is the second year ASU will celebrate Veterans Week, said Capt. Steven Borden, director of veteran services at the Pat Tillman Veterans Center.

“We’re trying to establish the tradition around Veterans Day,” Borden said.

Flags decorate all campuses as a connection between veterans and non-veterans, Borden said.

“Salute to Services” may be the largest event.

Borden said veterans and students in the Army, Air Force and Navy ROTC programs will be recognized at the game.

“It’s an attempt to thank all of our service members – those here at ASU and those from the community,” Borden said.

Pat Tillman Veterans Center military advocate Joanna Sweatt said Veterans Week is about emphasizing the importance of veterans’ actions.

“(It is) kind of a reminder throughout the week that we’re celebrating sacrifices veterans have made for country,” she said.

Part of this effort is the opportunity for students to write a letter of thanks to a soldier overseas, Sweatt said.

“For us, it’s more about appreciation,” she said.

Before the game, there will be a tailgate for student veterans to get together, meet one another and provide exposure for student veterans on campus.

It’s an opportunity for fellowship among those with similar histories, Sweatt said.

Although similar events have happened at the beginning of semesters, this is the first one to be tied into Veterans Week, Sweatt said.

“It’s the first of its style that we’re doing,” she said.

The Center is hosting “The Veteran’s Journey: A Transition Through the University Environment,” a lecture series aimed toward educating faculty and staff, Borden said.

The lectures were hosted at the West and Downtown campuses Tuesday and will be on the Polytechnic and Tempe campuses Wednesday.

Doctors will speak on the unique adjustment issues veterans face in transitioning from military to university life.

Although this event is geared at faculty members, students are welcome to attend, Borden said.

Student veteran clubs from all four campuses were involved in setting up the week’s events, Sweatt said.

Tempe Veterans Club President Keith Finkle, an interdisciplinary studies senior, said the club’s involvement was a carry-over tradition from last year.

But there is a personal reason as well.

“We’ve all received care packages, the random letter,” Finkle said.

Now they’re at the other end of the equation, asking other students to send letters.

Finkle said outside of event promotion, part of the veterans’ duty is to let students know who they are writing to and provide any answers they need.

These veterans also help provide ideas for content and thoughtful messages for those stuck on what to write.

He said the goal of this is to “bridge communications between veterans and non-veterans.”

It opens connections between the two classes to work together and do more together, she said.

Finkle said the clubs’ other goal is for students to “have veterans in their thoughts on the days outside of Veteran’s Day.”

 

Reach the reporter at smande17@asu.edu