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CMU veterans make post-service impacts on community and university

Student veteran advocacy influences legislative efforts by lawmakers

Grand Junction – The Colorado Mesa University Student Veterans Association participated in a policy roundtable meeting at CMU featuring United States Senator Cory Gardner. Gardner was on campus thanking student veterans for their assistance and to solicit feedback on what the lawmakers referred to as “bi-partisan legislative efforts” to help veterans.

“The presence of a United States Senator on campus for the purpose of engaging CMU students is a reflection of the strength and organization behind the student clubs and associations at CMU,” said President Tim Foster. “Student veterans have an important voice and what better way to have that voice heard than to meet directly with lawmakers here on campus.”

Recent advocacy of CMU student veterans resulted in expediting financial aid payments during the partial federal government shutdown of 2018. During the campus roundtable, Gardner shared with students six bills under consideration to help veterans.

In addition to policy making, CMU military veterans are also making a community impact. On February 27, 2019 over 400 veterans and 40 organizations attended an annual Veterans Resource Tour at Mesa Mall. CMU student veterans were on-hand that day providing information about resources available to local service men and women who can benefit from the association’s efforts.

CMU Veteran Services Coordinator Amanda Herron believes that the association is critical to both campus veterans and in proving a larger community support network for veterans in general.

“One of the biggest challenges facing veterans returning from active duty is transitioning into civilian life,” said Herron. "Adding school makes transitioning even more difficult, but our students do a great job at overcoming these adversities.”

While both policy making and community education are critical to SVA members, student veterans are also engaged in supporting those whose needs are physical in nature. The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic is an event held each year at Snowmass Village. Veterans facing physical challenges are provided the opportunity to participate in one of western Colorado's most popular recreational activities.

Braydon Gear, president of CMU's Student Veterans Association, participated by volunteering for the event and says SVA provides resources and advocacy for student veterans that help them develop the skills necessary for a post service career.

“Finding joy in recreation and finding a balance in life is a valuable skill for all people, but for veterans it is a critical one,” said Gear. “The Winter Sports Clinic is one way we can help all veterans find that balance.”

SVA Vice President Andrew Rapozo remarked during the meeting with Senator Gardner that “as an Airforce Service Veteran I had a hard time transitioning. That is one reason I got involved with helping veterans transition from being service members to civilians, and in doing so, help them build a sense of community and comradery. I just want to make sure other veterans don’t face transitioning alone.”

Student veterans looking for support or seeking ways to give back to other veterans are encouraged to contact CMU’s Veterans Services Coordinator at aherron@coloradomesa.edu.

Members of the media are encouraged to learn more about student veterans and how they improve the university and the local community.

  • CMU student veterans discuss policy with Colorado Senator

    CMU student veterans discuss policy with Colorado Senator .

  • SVA leaders voice opportunities to improve veterans services

    SVA leaders voice opportunities to improve veterans services.

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Written by David Ludlam