Celebrate our veterans at Freedom Fest

Freedom Fest, a new NSU event to raise awareness and money for veterans returning home from overseas, will be held Nov. 16 on the Alvin Sherman Library Quad from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The event will include performances by a hip-hop team from Hollywood and by a former contestant of “The Voice,” Michaela Paige, as well as a K-9 demonstration and a car show featuring Bugattis, Ferraris and Humvees.

There will be an all-veteran parachute team will land in front of the Alvin Sherman Library, while displaying NSU’s flag and service flags from all branches of the military. For families, there will be bounce houses, popcorn and snow cone and cotton candy machines.

There will also be a motorcycle show in which a motorcycle crew will show off their bikes.

The H.E.L.O. Foundation, a non-profit organization based in South Florida that stands for Heroes Entering Life’s Opportunities, will host the event to support the Nova Student Veterans Association (NSVA) and the Undergraduate Student Government Association.

Junior business major Kelsey DeSantis, president of NVSA and co-founder of the H.E.L.O. Foundation, said the event’s goal is to bring the community together. She emphasized that it’s an event for more than just veterans and their family members.

“It’s more so for the community to show their support for those who have served … and by you being there, you’re thanking a veteran,” said DeSantis.

The event is free, but H.E.L.O. and NSVA are accepting donations to help support their missions. DeSantis said that the organization aims to help men and women who recently ended their service to transition into college. The groups also hope to establish additional campus resources and a bigger veteran’s resource center with counselors, offices and a resource coordinator, which, DeSantis said other universities have. Freedom Fest donations will also go toward scholarships for student veterans.

Members of NSU student organizations will volunteer at the event, many setting up tables with interactive activities like face painting.

Freshman business major and veteran Dan Beja is handling operations for the event and making sure it runs smoothly. He said Freedom Fest is going to be the first event of its kind within NSU’s veteran community.

Beja said, “It’s been really nothing short of astonishing to witness all the positive feedback we’ve gotten from people and organizations.”

Sophomore criminal justice major Jake Milkovich, vice president of NSVA, said the idea came together about a year ago after the group collectively brainstormed how they could help veterans. Milkovich said he’s proud of the plans, especially as means to share veterans’ experience with the community.

“It’s not even about the activities, it’s just about the message — being able to have people gather in one spot where we can tell them what it’s all about is the best part for me,” he said.

Parking is $10 for commuter students and the community in the parking garage across the Carl DeSantis Building and the money will go toward the costs to create Freedom Fest. Student organizations who would like to participate in the event can sign up with NSVA at the Veterans Resource Center in the Rosenthal Student Center, Room 218.

For more information, visit facebook.com/events/394298024012566/?source=1.

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