Students United for Returning Veterans (SURV), a group started six years ago by graduate students at the Center of Psychological Studies, wants to unite students and veterans under one organization by expanding its undergraduate membership.
Carlos Garcia, president of SURV and graduate student at the Center for Psychological Studies, said, “We’re looking to do a lot of things differently. SURV will encompass veterans just returning from war, active veterans, and veterans from previous wars. Students can also join if they want to work with veterans either on campus or in the community, or if they are interested in joining the service.”
Changes to the organization will come from its newly elected executive board. This regenerated time in the life of SURV will give students the opportunity to present new ideas and help shape how the organization will affect veterans and other students, said Garcia.
SURV works with the Division of Student Affairs at NSU and the Veterans Office, and will soon be registered with the National Student Veterans Associations. This will give the organization the tools to reach out to veterans on campus and reach out to students who want to know more about the service, said Shawn Martin, SURV member and graduate student at the Oceanographic Center.
“My goal was to serve as a liaison to the university between NSU and the voice of the veteran and service member population to figure out what we can do better as a group, what this group needs and what we feel we should offer,” said Martin. “SURV hopes to collaborate better with the university and solve problems like one recently shown in The Current, where a student mentioned having a difficult time being excused for a weekend, a month, or two weeks out of the year from his classes due to the military.”
SURV will host lectures about suicide, post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues that affect veterans. The organization will also host community outreach events and help students who are interested in research about the military and psychological issues.
“Through research, we have found out the high suicide and depression rates with veterans,” said Garcia. “We’re getting a grasp now on how prevalent it is. And it’s not just the veterans who suffer, but the families as well. We’re looking to reach out to families. There are so many things we can do, so the more members we have, the more ideas we can have.”
The organization is seeking members who are interested in joining the service, interested in helping veterans and the community or interested in learning more about mental health issues surrounding the service, said Martin.
“This is such a different organization than most,” said Martin. “There is a lot of interest in wanting to help veterans and people in the military. Supporting our troops is what it’s all about. It’s all about helping our country’s heroes. There’s not a better feeling than being able to do that.”
Students and veterans can find out more information by emailing Garcia or Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or by visiting SURV’S Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/NSUSURV/.