Student vets seek ties to campus community

The Student Veteran Organization is trying to connect student veterans with the BW community by increasing involvement through events and partnerships with different organizations.

The organization wants to become more immersed and part of the culture at BW, said Britnee Davis, president of the Student Veteran Organization.

“Our goal is to not be the outsiders,” said Davis. “We kind of stick out like sore thumbs just because we are a different demographic.”

They want to become a normal visual, and not have people taken aback when the encounter members of the organization, said Davis.

“Sometimes our community is a little misunderstood. We’re just like everybody else,” said Davis.

Due to a different lifestyle, student veterans may find it challenging to be more involved on campus.

Most of the student veterans aren’t living on campus and have multiple responsibilities to juggle, such as a family, which makes it difficult to be involved, said Nancy Jirousek, director of Adult, Transfer, and Military Services.

It’s important for the student veterans to get involved because it’s part of the college experience, said Davis.

“You only get one shot really, to do college the right way,” said Davis. “The positive college experience includes being involved in things.”

Some student veterans come to BW complete school and move on to the next phase, while others really want to experience the traditional college experience, said Jirousek.

“You can’t put them all under the same umbrella,” said Jirousek. “Each one is coming here for a specific reason.”

The next step for The Student Veteran Organization is to find more partners on campus, said Jirousek.

This November, student veterans will be joining an HPE class to participate in something called canoe battleship, said Jirousek. This will serve as a fundraiser that allows teams to try sinking each other in BW’s recreation center’s swimming pool.

“Canoe battleship is something were really excited about because that’s our chance to really engage with other organizations in something that’s definitely our element,” said Davis.

The Student Veteran Organization has also planned to do some volunteer work with one of the fraternities on campus, Alpha Sigma Phi, said Davis.

“We’re really trying to branch out with our volunteer stuff and invite other organizations to come and do that with us, and just be a part of the campus culture,” said Davis.

They will be volunteering for Homes for Our Troops, which is an organization that builds custom homes for veterans who have suffered from severe injuries.

The Student Veteran Organization has held a variety of events for their student veterans that appeal to different interests. Davis said that art therapy events, like ceramics and sip and paint, have had successful turnouts.

“It’s all on how to reach people,” said Davis. “We’re really working on trying to reach our population as much as possible.”

On Nov. 11 for Veterans Day, there was an opportunity to recognize all those who served and acknowledge the suicide rate for veterans.

“We want people to be aware that it’s not an easy road sometimes,” said Jirousek.