Weeklong event celebrates USC’s veteran students

first_imgVice Provost of Academic Operations Mark Todd and President of Student Veterans Association Joshua Lynch spoke about the struggles veterans face and the resources available to veterans at the Veterans Appreciation Week kickoff event in Sample Hall on Monday evening.Regina Nordahl, associate dean of USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, has hosted and organized Veteran Appreciation Week for two years in a row and hopes to establish it in coming years.“Its an appreciation and an awareness. It’s a way for students, faculty and staff to understand who our veterans are and what their experiences have been and how their experiences contribute to who we are as a University,” Nordahl said. “The more we know about one another, it’s a way to expand our knowledge and let people understand they have more in common than they think. VA week allows us to be forward-thinking and look at our similarities, not our differences.“Some of the highlights of Veterans Appreciation Week will include a career fair, a letter signing, boot camp workout and veteran luncheon taking place during the week. Josh Lynch served in the Army National Guard from 2008-2014. He was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and now strives to ease veterans’ transitions and spread awareness about the veteran population on campus as President of the Student Veterans Association. “There’s this stereotype that veterans are crazy [and] you can’t work with them. That’s all wrong,” Lynch said. “VA week will put us on the map and spread awareness that we do exist.”Todd spoke about the veteran community and USC’s immensely diverse student body.  USC has over 600 veterans enroll as students each semester, and that number is growing. Todd said that much of the veteran population at USC are transfers from community college, and USC’s Veteran Resource Center is set up to ease that transition. “We are just tremendously proud of our veterans and instead of just celebrating Veterans Day, we want to express our gratitude to them by putting on a whole week of events,” Todd said. “The university admits over 800 community college transfers and one in every six come from community college compared to our competitors — one in 1,000. So we greatly value the diversity that community college brings and a lot of our veterans come in through that route.” Jennifer Perdomo serves as coordinator for the Veteran Resource Center, and oversees many of the support systems and resources available to veterans on campus. She said that the resources offered by the center help veterans who may otherwise struggle to keep up with their classes.“We may have students who may not want to be known as a veteran and that’s okay but we have that veteran space available where they can lounge or study and have safe space like any of the other culture centers on campus,” Perdomo said.last_img

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