Mesa barbecue brings veterans together

Balkis Nasery

Student Veteran's Organization promotes barbecue

Alicia Sanchez, News Editor

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Many people remain unaware of how many veterans actually attend Mesa College. There are various people of the Mesa student population that have contributed to their country in unimaginable ways.

Lori Senini, a registered nurse with the student health services, co-sponsored the first veterans’ barbecue of the year. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, Major Senini worked along with the veteran affairs office, student health center, and the tutoring center in order to “help make a combination of resources for our veterans,” as well as help finance the event.

According to Senini, there are almost 2,000 veteran students at Mesa. A survey was conducted last year in order to better understand what veterans need and they responded that they needed to feel a sense of belonging. In order to help the veterans feel more at ease, this barbecue was planned specifically targeting veterans, staff, and faculty. This event was created to help them all interact with one another in an easygoing environment. Observing the events taking place in the barbecue, veterans received the opportunity to interact  and network with other veterans as they identified with one another and bonded over shared stories of their experiences.

When asked what they wanted as special resources for the Mesa campus, many responded that they would want a veteran’s lounge where they can relax after a rigorous day of class.  Senini actually mentioned having a center on the fourth floor for veteran students so that they can have a quiet area to study along with resources such as a copy machine and a printer.

Also,  the secretary from the  Student Veteran Organization , David Thompson, shares that there is not enough representation for veterans at Mesa ; they need more members for their organization. Because there are only a few veterans that are aware of this organization, many do not know that there are benefits for veterans who want to transfer to a four year university. Universities offer extra help that helps veterans transfer faster even if they are missing 2-3 units. Until they receive more representation, the Student Veterans Organization will continue to sponsor themselves.

Veterans provide their time and energy for their country and when they come to study at Mesa it can be unnerving to  commence a new stage in life. This barbecue provided the needed push that allowed veterans to socialize with one another as well as the opportunity to learn about the benefits that they may receive. It proved its intended purpose and the veterans at Mesa College have a bright future to look forward to when it comes representation and more veteran events.