The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee community salutes veterans Nov. 12-16 with “Bringing It Home,” a series of special events that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new campus Military and Veterans Resource Center (MAVRC) on Monday, Nov 12.
The weeklong observation kicks off Nov. 12 at 7 a.m. on Spaights Plaza with the National Roll Call, a reading of the names of U.S. military members who have lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The reading, which takes about six hours, will continue into the afternoon. Simultaneous readings are taking place at campuses across the country.
Also planned for Spaights Plaza is a “Boots on Campus” display, with hundreds of pairs of combat boots signifying the presence of military and veteran students on campus. A display of thousands of American flags on the grassy areas of the plaza will honor those in the UWM community who are serving, or have served, in the military.
At 9 a.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at MAVRC, located on the ground floor of the UWM Union in the Terrace area. Invited guests and dignitaries include Gerald V. Kapinos, the original founder and current director of operations for the national Student Veterans of America office in Washington, D.C. Kapinos is a Wisconsin native and started SVA while a student at UW-Madison.
“Bringing It Home” activities continue in the Wisconsin Room, UWM Union, from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Programming includes a panel composed of military and student-veterans from 11 a.m.-noon. The panel will discuss making the transition from the military to campus culture at UWM.
A National Moment of Silence, connected with similar efforts at other universities, occurs at 11 a.m. Chancellor Michael R. Lovell will speak at noon, followed by a presentation by Associate Professor Virginia Stoffel, Department of Occupational Science and Technology in the College of Health Sciences, and graduate student Nikhil Tomar. They will discuss their work with veterans and active military using Photovoice. (Participants represent their point of view by taking photographs, then developing narratives to go with their photos.) Also part of the program is guest speaker Bob Curry, UWM alumnus and founder of Dryhootch, a nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans return home.
“I Am UWM,” a special photo exhibit, will be on display in the Union Concourse on Monday. The exhibit will feature faculty, students and staff who are former or current military service members. Participants will have the opportunity to create and display a photo collage that shows them during their military service and on the UWM campus. The exhibit is being coordinated with the UWM Union Art Gallery.
The day will conclude at the end of the National Roll Call on Spaights Plaza with the playing of “Taps.”
Also part of the weeklong observation will be brown-bag lunch programs on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and Wednesday, Nov. 14. Tuesday’s program, in room 240, UWM Union, will be an educational presentation on military and student-veterans on the UWM campus. Wednesday’s program, in room 280, UWM Union, will be a focus group for military and student-veterans regarding a new study that will develop a life-skills program for young veterans returning to civilian life. Participants will receive a $10 gift card. Pizza and beverages will be provided during the group interview.
On Monday, Military Honor buttons will be distributed on Spaights Plaza. Black buttons will identify UWM students, faculty, administrators, staff and community members who are military veterans. Yellow buttons will identify supporters of UWM military veterans.
The week’s activities are coordinated by MAVRC, Student Veterans of America chapter at UWM and the Veterans Advisory Council (VAC). The VAC is a group of UWM faculty, staff and students who are concerned about fostering a veteran-friendly and inclusive campus. “Bringing It Home” also is supported by the Division of Student Affairs.