The Villanova population has many amazing stories to tell, but perhaps one story that has remained relatively overlooked until recently is that of its veterans. Many students may not be aware of Villanova’s sizeable population of veterans, particularly in graduate programs. Fostering a community for and spreading awareness about the heroes we live and work alongside every day is one of the primary goals of Villanova’s Society of Veteran Affairs (VSVA).
In the Philadelphia area, and all over the country, there are thousands of struggling veterans in need of help. VSVA was created this year to provide an active response to this need beyond typical gestures such as raising flags and stating, “thank you for your service.” Surveys show that veterans prefer others donate to, or volunteer with, veteran-related organizations to show support. VSVA hopes that fundraisers and volunteering events will motivate stunts to help in these more meaningful ways.
“We’re a new club on campus, but we’re here to make a statement,” founder and President Sindi Kulla ’22 said. “We have so many students from military families and this organization is recognizing all the sacrifices our loved ones have made to keep our country safe. America is America because of the brave men and women in uniform.”
Even early on, VSVA is already having success bringing students, faculty and staff to serve a great cause. The society raised $300 during their Veterans Day Booth, which they donated to Fischer House Donation. They are also holding donations for David’s Drive 831, a nonprofit that collects underwear and socks for veterans. In the future, they hope to bring in speakers and hold a challenge course. In the meantime, anyone is welcome to sign up and become a member or attend the society’s events and open meetings.
Villanova’s recent hiring of army veteran Michael Brown to head the new Office of Veterans and Military Service Members and VSVA’s founding makes now a better time than ever to get involved with the mission. The club encourages students to start conversations with veterans and consider getting involved with service organizations that provide support for military families, housing, mental health, employment, or suicide prevention.