On the United States Marine Corps’ 240th birthday and the eve of Veterans Day, the university’s Veteran’s Club members spoke at Coffee and Culture to discuss their time in the military and experiences following.
The club’s members have served in various military branches, ranging from the Wisconsin National Guard to the U.S. Army to the U.S. Air Force. Some members said they stayed countryside, while others were deployed outside of the states to places such as Iraq and Kosovo.
When asked about what they missed most during their time serving, the speakers had staggering answers.
“Color. I missed seeing color. Because it’s just dessert. It’s tan. It’s a boring color, and you see that for seven months straight,“ said Tegan Griffith about her time in Iraq. “I would cut pages from National Geographic, and I made this giant mural in my little plywood-hut that was of water, flowers and bright colors.”
Griffith served four years active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and currently studies communication at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Many speakers applauded UWSP Veteran Coordinator Ann Whip for her outstanding job of helping veterans adjust to campus life.
Christopher Slattery, U.S. Air Force member and history and political science major, commended Whip for her advisement, and he also recognized David Chrisinger’s First Year Seminar class for veterans. Slattery recommended that all professors be aware of mental illness struggles veterans go through.
Cali Olson, a freshmen psychology major, attended this event for a class but found the panelists’ stories influenced her more than she expected.
“It was really interesting to hear about the student veterans’ transitions back to civilian life and how they feel about their college experience. Their stories and memories made me laugh. It was nice to get to know them,” Olson said.
As for veterans seeking help or those who are just coming to UWSP, Whip has some advice.
“Come. Come and talk,” she said.
Senator Julie Lassa, Representative Katrina Shankland and members from the Veteran’s Service Office, Stevens Point Police Department, Portage County Sheriff’s Department and the La Crosse Veterans Center attended this meeting.