In honor of Veterans Day, student veterans at SMU are collecting donations for holiday care packages for military members serving overseas. Items will be accepted 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 in the Hughes-Trigg Commons and on Saturday, Nov. 12 on Bishop Boulevard near McFarlin Auditorium, where the student veterans will host a Boulevard tent before the SMU-Navy game at 2:30 p.m.
The students are seeking portable snacks, books, magazines and toiletries; monetary donations will be applied to the care packages and shipping charges, says junior Santiago Martinez, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2004 to 2008. He leads and helped found a new student organization, the U.S. Military Veterans of SMU.
“Most people know someone who has served or is serving in the military, whether it was a great-grandfather, a parent, a brother or sister, cousin or friend,” says Martinez, a communication studies major in Meadows School of the Arts. “With care packages, our community can give something back to those who have chosen to serve our country in a time of war. Troops also get a reminder that we are thinking of them, which is a real boost for morale.”
Nearly 175 veterans, reservists, active-duty military and their families are attending SMU through programs including the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which provide education benefits to military veterans and their dependents. SMU also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, contributing tuition funds that are matched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. SMU’s student veteran population has increased more than 200 percent in the last five years.
Written by Sarah Hanan – photo from DeGolyer Library’s WWII collections.