SVA game night bridges campus and community

Jessica Zemlicka

UW Oshkosh Student Veterans of America brought students, the community and student veterans together to raise awareness of SVA’s efforts at Game Night on March 3. The game night was a successful event featuring games and presentations by campus community members, according to a UW Oshkosh SVA Facebook post. “The event had life-sized games, board games, Minute to Win It games and prizes,” the post stated. “There was a color guard performance and OshCappella sang the national anthem. It was an outstanding event that helped create awareness of the SVA on the UWO campus.” UWO SVA has been working with the public relations campaign class and Public Relations Society of America Bateman Team to increase participation of student veterans with SVA. The Game Night followed after a Cherry Berry fundraiser and the SVA Penny War, which raised $196 according to Bateman Team member Kimberly Lohre. Lohre said the event was a great achievement because of the different types of attendees. “We had the traditional students, student veterans their families and also Oshkosh community families at the event,” Lohre said. “They were all interacting and playing games together and that was the goal of the event, to make student veterans feel more comfortable in their school.” According to Lohre, the turnout relected the events success. “We had a good attendance rate,” Lohre said. “We estimated that over 100 people attended the event. We reached our objectives and it was amazing to see the finish product.” UWO SVA president Aaron Kloss said the efforts of the public relations campaigns class and the PRSSA Bateman Team could not be recognized enough. “I can say thank you all night long but I can never express how much I appreciate all [the campaigns class] have done for our organization,” Kloss said. Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said he was grateful for being invited to the event and was proud of the hard work from students all over campus from PRSSA, the journalism department, OshCappella and the Fox Valley ROTC color guard. “What I’m struck by in this room is the nature of students helping students. It’s a great demonstration of the kind of caring environment we have here at this institution,” Leavitt said at the event. Leavitt said attending the event and hearing about SVA in recent weeks has increased his awareness of what the UWO SVA chapter does for student veterans on campus. “I’m delighted to be a part of this so that I have a better understanding of what the student SVA chapter is trying to do on this campus and ways this can be supported,” Leavitt said. Leavitt said the University looks to preserve a sense of community for veterans on campus. “I certainly applaud all the student veterans who are here today for their decision to come to UW Oshkosh,” Leavitt said. “I think we do, as an institution, pride ourselves in being a very veteran- friendly campus.” Leavitt said he is willing to speak to student veterans and help to make the most of their transition from active duty to higher education. “I want to pledge to you today that I will always have an open door when it comes to our student veterans on this campus,” Leavitt said. “If there is anything you need from me, I’m one floor up from the veterans center and I’d be honored to participate or somehow make easier your time here at UW Oshkosh.” Kloss presented Leavitt and the public relations campaigns class professor Jean Giovanetti with an SVA coin for their work with the SVA and student veterans. “There’s a tradition in the military that when you do something really outstanding and above and beyond what is asked of you, you receive a coin,” Kloss said. Kloss said Giovanetti’s work with the public relations campaigns class to create awareness and increase participation within SVA deserved the coin. “Professor Giovanetti has been an outstanding member of this project and pushing [the campaigns class] forward with a great public relations campaign,” Kloss said.