UT’s Student Veteran Services paid tribute to veterans enrolled in the University with a display of American flags arranged in the shape of the Longhorn logo to kick off Veterans Appreciation Week on Monday.
The annual flag display prepared by Student Veteran Services included a flag for each veteran enrolled at UT. This year’s Veterans Appreciation Week events include a twitter photo competition Monday, a benefit fair Thursday in the Student Services Building and veteran opportunity awareness discussions open to the public Friday at the University Teaching Center.
Student veteran coordinator Ben Armstrong said Veterans Appreciation Week is usually the one time every year veterans get the attention they deserve. Student Veteran Services encouraged students to take a pair of dog tags they distributed Monday and tweet a creative photograph that reminded them of veterans in Austin. Students were able to submit photos with the hash tag “#SVSphoto” for a chance to win a $25 iTunes gift card. Armstrong said students at UT and residents of Travis County have always been supportive of military events and the attention Student Veteran Services received from students at Monday’s promotion made him proud.
“Student Veteran Services is a one-stop shop for student veterans who don’t know about all the benefits they could be taking advantage of,” Armstrong said. “When we get attention from regular students, it helps all the veterans who aren’t already part of Student Veteran Services activities get involved in the community.”
Jeff Abadie, a veteran and UT alumnus, said student participation in Veteran Appreciation Week is important to him because any attention at all to student veterans is more than usual. Abadie said this week bridges the veterans in Student Veteran Services to others on campus who want to increase involvement with raising awareness.
“The main benefit of Student Veteran Services for me was the social aspect,” Abadie said. “It’s nice to have a group of friends who went through the same stuff I did after being in the military.”
Abadie said he thinks more people are getting involved in veteran support on campus and are interested in spreading the word. Students in Student Veteran Services participate in social events, including tailgating before football games and monthly meetings.
Veterans Appreciation Week helps student veterans gain access to education funding benefits, community outreach and health care benefits provided by the Veterans Administration health care system. Speech/language pathology sophomore Meagan Orsak said the flag display Monday was perfectly timed, because everyone still had Veterans Day on their mind.
“I didn’t realize how many students were in the military,” Orsak said. “Other students have fraternities or sororities and clubs that get all kinds of attention, so it’s cool to see the group veterans have created for themselves on campus.”
Printed on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 as: Veteran benefits rise to spotlight