University recognizes Veterans Day

The+Quinnipiac+bookstore+displays+various+military+uniforms+to+commemorate+Veterans+Day.

The Quinnipiac bookstore displays various military uniforms to commemorate Veterans Day.

Andrew Breunig

The American flag will be raised with military pride this upcoming Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 11 at 9 a.m. on the Mount Carmel campus. The ceremony is only a small part of a larger effort run by the Student Veteran Organization (SVO) to honor former military members and bring awareness to the sometimes chaotic transitions veterans face to the civilian world.

SVO will also be holding their fourth annual “Cup of G.I. Joe” event in front of the Carl Hansen Student Center on Friday. Former military members will be handing out coffee and donuts asking students to sign cards that will then be sent to deployed service members. Donated funds will go to SVO in support of future awareness events.

The Quinnipiac bookstore displays various military uniforms to commemorate Veterans Day.
[/media-credit] The Quinnipiac bookstore displays various military uniforms to commemorate Veterans Day.

On Friday morning, as proud veterans gaze up at the stars and stripes, waving in the brisk autumn air, a mix of emotions ranging from pride to uncertainty may cloud their minds.

The transition from military to student life isn’t always an easy one, especially for discharged veterans who now have the added responsibility of family obligations or are wrestling with a job to provide extra support.

Jason Burke, Quinnipiac director of veteran and military affairs, works extensively with nearly 150 student veterans, ensuring that everyone fully capitalizes on their federal educational benefits and properly acclimates to the higher learning environment.

“University life is such a different dynamic from the military,” Burke said. “It’s not as rigid as military life and sometimes takes time to adjust. Most veterans have already matured and grown in their own way and it’s important they feel a part of the Quinnipiac family.”

Burke also serves as the Student Veteran Organization’s administrative advisor, working closely with the organization as they continue to provide support and spread awareness on and around campus.

Christopher Bolduc, the president of SVO, works alongside Alexander Hartman, the vice president, and Jakob Loren, the treasurer, to make sure Quinnipiac veterans feel at home.

SVO’s mission statement is to advocate for veterans, families and supporters with the value of higher education and future endeavors after graduation.

“We’re currently cooperating with Phi Sigma Sigma and Sigma Phi Epsilon to support each other in ongoing campus events,” Bolduc said.

The sorority helps SVO during the spring to kick off “Operation BBQ,” a community barbecue event where the proceeds go to helping homeless veterans. The SVO is also leading a “boot camp-style” workout that will strengthen ties with the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Hartman and SVO want to ensure that they foster a learning environment that benefits everyone.

“There’s a stigma attached to veterans on campus that we usually remain aloof from the rest of the student body or that we’re unapproachable,” Hartman said. “We want to eliminate that stigma.”

Not limited to just campus activities, SVO works with the surrounding community as well. “Out of Darkness” is a community-led charity walk in Hamden that SVO is proud to be a part of. The charity is led by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and works to spread awareness and raise money for further research into suicide prevention.

In January, SVO will be attending a conference for the Student Veterans of America, where they will network and meet with other veteran leaders across the nation.

Christopher Bolduc defined Veterans Day as a time to honor those brave men and women who have served and sacrificed but also as a day to reflect on the hard road ahead.

“A lot of veterans out there are plagued by mental illness or homelessness, and unfortunately too many people simply don’t know about it,” Bolduc said. “We want to be the mediators and share our experiences with the rest of the student body.”

Hartman said SVO just wants student veterans to feel at home.

“No matter what their military experience was like, we’re here to help and support those service members transitioning to the college atmosphere,” Hartman said. “We’re still a team.”