USC salutes veterans with campus events

As the nation honors all of its veterans Wednesday, USC will honor the veterans here on campus as a handful of organizations host receptions recognizing their service.

According to USC’s Office of Veteran Affairs, there are currently 218 student veterans attending USC, whose work will be appreciated at the day’s events.

“Everyone should at least remember in their own way that there are people who sacrifice a lot so that we can all be safe and free at home,” Scott Lowe, the vice president of the USC Veterans Association and a student veteran himself, wrote in an email. Lowe served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 and 2005 to 2006 as an infantry sergeant in the 101st airborne division.

Lowe said students should take the time to understand and appreciate the efforts of student veterans who are looked down on and misunderstood.

“There is a stereotype that we aren’t that bright, and that we had no other options other than to join the military,” Lowe wrote. “While there are some who fit the stereotype, most of us are not like that at all, and especially not those of us who made it into schools like USC.”

Students will have the chance to honor their fellow students who have served at a variety of events Wednesday.

Hosted by the USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and USG, the second annual Veterans Day Appreciation Reception will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the USC University Club.

Student veterans will also be able to receive information on the services and programs available to them at the Veterans Day Recognition Bonanza, to be held at the northeast corner of McCarthy Quad between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Visitors at the event will have the chance to view military equipment, gear, weapons and two humvees.

But Lowe said students don’t need to attend the events to honor veterans.

“One really easy, yet meaningful, way to do that would be to simply say, ‘Thank you’ to a veteran,” he wrote. “After the military, veterans move on with their lives, but it’s nice to know that what we’ve done is appreciated by those who we protect.”

In addition to the events being held in their honor, the Office of Veterans Affairs helps student veterans by ensuring their current enrollment is verified to the Veterans Association, so they can be paid through the GI Bill.

“We are the liaison between the students and the VA regional office,” said Quence Smith, grading and veterans affairs coordinator for USC’s Office of Veteran Affairs. “We interact with the veterans here on campus and interact with the rest of the world that may be interested in attending USC.”

The post-9/11 GI Bill provides educational benefits to veterans who return to school after serving in the military.

“The fact that I was able to serve my country, and then come to a great school like this really says great things about the opportunities available to all of us,” Lowe wrote.