Fighter jets flew over the California Lutheran University Veterans Day celebration in Kingsmen Park Friday, Nov. 11 to honor veterans. The event was filled with many different tables and activities, such as a pullup challenge at the Marine recruiter table and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department whom provided a mounted unit as well as a demonstration of a bomb squad robot and showcased a bomb squad suit.
There was also a banner from the American Red Cross that students could sign and it would then be delivered to the troops overseas. The Veterans Resource Center information table and the Farm & Flame food truck was also at the event. The Veterans Day Event Coordinator David Castle said the Veterans Resource Center has been planning this event since the start of summer.
“We try to do something for every Veterans Day and now that we actually have our own center, we try to be a little more involved with the overall campus,” Castle said.
The Veterans Resource Center is located in the Student Union and serves to promote veteran awareness on campus as well as be a place on campus where veteran students can hang out with other veteran students. The Veterans Resource Center also celebrated the one-year anniversary of its opening this Veterans Day. Castle said one of his main goals for the event is to reach out to other students on campus.
“We want to commemorate Veterans Day. It is somewhat of a personal event for us, but also we love to actually engage with the rest of campus,” Castle said.
Veterans Coordinator Jenn Zimmerman was originally given the opportunity to help improve and pioneer a program for Veteran students while she was attending Cal Lutheran. Zimmerman was originally granted an internship through the school by former Dean of Students Bill Roser and Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing Matthew Ward, to create a system that helped process the veteran students’ GI Bill of Rights between different departments around campus more efficiently. This eventually led to her current position as Veterans Coordinator.
Zimmerman said her goal is to make sure that the veteran students on campus feel appreciated.
“[My goal is] for each of our veteran students is just to give them something back. We recognize you, we appreciate you and I want everyone to enjoy,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said she hopes this event shows the students of Cal Lutheran that there are Veterans in their classes and not to stereotype them.
“Our veterans really just want to be in the mix of everything with students. They want to share their experiences. They want to get to know you and for you to get to know them,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said that her goal for faculty and staff members of Cal Lutheran is to recognize that veteran students are non-traditional students.
“I want them [faculty and staff members] to understand that there are veteran students in their classes and that they have different needs than your typical student so for faculty and staff members to recognize that and work with them would be great,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said that she is hoping to have a Vet Net Allies seminar in fall 2017 to help faculty and staff members better understand the differences of having veteran students in class versus traditional undergraduates.
President of the Military Veterans Club Michael Gonzalez was pleased with the participation in Friday’s event and seeing students engage with the personnel at the different tables. Gonzalez also works for the Thousand Oaks Sheriff’s Department and was grateful to all the sheriffs that came to campus to participate in the Veterans Day event.
“I’m really appreciative of all the sheriffs that came out, for a few of them it’s their day off so they managed to spend a little time with us to help out,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the Military Veterans Club is always looking for new members and that you do not have to be a veteran to join the club. All Cal Lutheran students are welcomed and encouraged to join the club.