GVSU student veterans celebrate military culture, Marines' birthday

By Sarah Hollis | 11/13/17 12:15am

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GVL / Luke Holmes - The Student Veterans gala was held in the Alumni House on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

There are nearly 500 student veterans currently attending classes at Grand Valley State University. It can be a challenge to readjust to student life after serving in the military. With so many veterans at GVSU, it’s important for students to understand how to approach and interact with them, not only in class, but in the community. 

To help spread knowledge about this culture, the Student Veterans of America (SVA) at GVSU held a Veterans Day cultural awareness event Friday, Nov. 10, in the Kirkhof Center. The event also celebrated the Marine Corps' birthday. 

For three hours, attendees could walk around looking at poster boards with information about the different branches of the military, such as the Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force and Army. There was ample opportunity to learn about everything from statistics relating to each branch to people who received awards of honor for their service in those branches. There were also uniforms and medals in front of each board for attendees to look at.

The attendees ranged from students who went for a class to veterans from every one of the branches of the military. 

“We have to do some co-curriculars for my LIB 100 class, and this was one of the events that was allowed. It seemed pretty interesting to me,” said Kyle Follick, a senior and therapeutic recreation major at GVSU. “I’ve always liked the military, and that’s what this is all about. I thought it would be one of the better ones to go to. 

"Our military has always been there to help us, so it’s cool to go there and support them and hear what they have to say and hear what they have to go through and everything.” 

Other students attended the event to show support for the armed forces.

“I did come as part of student senate; it wasn’t an obligation but more so a heart’s desire to kind of expand on my knowledge of the Army and the Air Force and the Navy,” said Alia Johnson, a senior studying public and nonprofit administration at GVSU. “More so to show my support, but it’s also good to get a chance to meet new people and to get exposed to new things.”

Corey Smith, a senior and supply chain management major at GVSU, attended the event because he has some family ties with the military. 

No matter the reason why the attendees decided to come to the event, they all had the opportunity to learn information about military culture. Student veterans, as well as other veterans from GVSU and the community, walked around the room greeting non-veteran students and sharing their experiences. 

“I learned what a Marine’s birthday is and that you have to use a special sword to cut a cake and that it’s very important to the Marines and other branches of government to do this tradition to show passing of traditions and to show camaraderie,” said Elizabeth Mouzone, a senior studying international business and human resources at GVSU. “This event is very important, and you can learn a lot.”

Those interested in the event but unable to attend will have the opportunity to participate in other events hosted by SVA throughout the rest of the year. More information is available on the organization's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SVAGVSU/.

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