Veterans Day celebration
ELISABETH SMITH | ASST. NEWS EDITOR | THE USD VISTA
While Nov. 11 may seem like just another Wednesday for some Univeristy of San Diego students, for the military community it is a day to honor military service across the nation. Veterans Day, a national holiday observed to honor those who served in the armed forces, is very special to the military community at USD.
The USD Veterans Center held a few events on campus to commemorate this day. At 8 a.m., they held a roundtable discussion in the Degheri Alumni Center with LtCol. Brian Von Herbulis, ROTC Midshipmen, and Cadets. The discussion focused on service as an officer in the U.S. Military.
The second event was held in the UC Forum C at 10 a.m., where the USD NROTC presented the colors. Three speakers —USD Veterans Student Services Coordinator Derek Abbey, Von Herbulis, and Student Veterans Organization President, Jhonnatan Chinchilla — spoke about various aspects of Veterans Day.
The Veterans Center also hosted a clothing drive in collaboration with the Two Men and a Truck Moving company. This drive, the Movers for Military project, aimed to provide clothing and hygiene products to homeless veterans through the Veterans Village of San Diego. This drive started at the end of October and concluded on Nov. 11.
“These events are a way for the university to observe the holiday,” Abbey said. “The biggest part is recognition. I’d like to see a connection between the student body and the military community on campus.”
According to Abbey, military affiliated students make up 6.9 percent of the campus population.
“[The military students] are a contributing part of the community,” Abbey said. “The entire USD community should become aware of military culture, and these Veterans Day events are just another part of that.”
Aside from facilitating these events for the community, Abbey wants to spread the word about the Veterans Center to military students.
“Letting military students know we have a robust program is a big part of my goal,” Abbey said. “I want to let them know they can seek support and it is possible to get a higher education.”
USD does provide support for the military community throughout the year. Programs like the Yellow Ribbon Program and the support for the G.I Bill allow veterans to get higher education.
“The resources that are here let them be the highest students they can be,” Abbey said. “[The resources] can give them trajectory beyond USD to become ambassadors for the program.
Jhonnatan Chinchilla is a junior and the president of the Student Veterans Organization at USD. Chinchilla served in the Marine Corps before coming to USD.
As president of the Student Veterans Organization, Chinchilla seeks to encourage other veterans to seek higher education. The organization is available to assist veterans with everything from applications to listening to their stories and sharing their experiences.
“We create a family atmosphere here,” Chinchilla said. “Outside of school we gather and create a sense of community.”
For Chinchilla, Veterans Day is a time to remember past veterans and celebrate current ones.
“I think of the ones who led before us,” Chinchilla said. “The ones who had a really bad experience and sacrificed for us. They put on that uniform and sacrificed for our country.”
While USD does not observe Veterans Day with a day off, this does not stop the community from observing the holiday.
“The university is very neutral about what holidays are celebrated,” Chinchilla said. “We’re grateful for the benefits that USD provides. Veterans Day is where we sit back and remember, and the university allows us to do that while also supporting us year-round.”
Through continual support from the university and the Veterans Center, military connected students are able to thrive in an environment that caters to their specific needs. And with the Veterans Day events that were held, Student Veterans Organization extended the chance for the entire USD community to honor Veterans, on and off of our campus.