Western Illinois University is dedicated to helping and honoring Veterans. November 11th always marks the day we commemorate Veterans and service men and women for their bravery and dedication to our country. WIU and Western’s Veterans Resource Center took it a step further and recognized these men and women throughout the past week during Veterans Appreciation Week.
The University created Veterans Appreciation Week about three years ago. Kathy Meyers, assistant director of the Veterans Resource Center, was very optimistic about the week and the events planned. “The feedback is always really positive when we reach out to the veterans on campus,” she said. The annual weeklong celebration is a way of trying to give back to the veterans so they know we are truly grateful for their sacrifices.
The week kicked off with a tribute ceremony on the morning of Veterans Day; it was a memorable time. Speakers included WIU President Jack Thomas, WIU’s Veterans Club President Calvin Smith, and SGA member and National Guardsman Michael Quigley, among others. “The ceremony is always very moving,” reflected Meyers.
Even local grade schools participated in this week’s activities. Some grade school children drew pictures to honor the servicemen and women. These pictures were placed all over campus for everyone to see. That just goes to show that you are never too young or too old to express appreciation for our veterans. Some students in First Year Experience classes wrote letters which will be mailed to deployed troops. “Our campus is phenomenal when it comes to veterans and troops,” said Meyers. With all of this and more being done, I whole heartedly agree with her.
“Different departments do different things through the week for them…this week really opens your eyes,” explained Meyers. This fun filled week not only included activities such as discussion panels and movie showings, but it brought awareness to the veterans and all they have accomplished. Each day a different event took place; to see the schedule of events, visit http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/veterans/VeteransDayEvents.php.
The Veterans Resource Center is a vital place for veterans on WIU’s campus. The resource center helps guide veterans through the process of being both a student and a veteran. The office is an intricate part of helping veterans process paperwork and get the most out of their experience as a WIU student. This transition may be tough for some. “Veterans sometimes feel outcast,” stated Meyers. His feeling of being an “outcast” is combated by help and warmth from the Veterans Resource Center staff.
But, to top it all off, it was announced this week that WIU has again been named a “Best for Vets College.” This makes four years in a row WIU has received this title! Congrats to WIU and always remember to appreciate the veterans!