Monday, March 30, 2009

Chico State SVO in the News...


Posted: 03/30/2009 12:00:00 AM PDT

CHICO -- Ian McGilvray is a 32-year-old business major at Chico State University who spent nine years in the Marines.

Soldiers who enter the college community are often "older and have seen the world," he said.

"We're not here to party. We're not wondering 'what's going on tonight'," he said during a forum Wednesday on campus attended by about 60 people.

The average college student is 23.8 years old, he explained.

"By the time I was 24 I had been in the military six years."

The forum was part of Chico State's Conversations on Diversity.

Students might not automatically think of veterans as part of a "diverse group," explained Tray Robinson, Chico State diversity coordinator.

But they share experiences that are worlds apart from average students.

McGilvray described the support for former military at Chico State as "outstanding."

But there are issues.

He said sometimes former military students are stereotyped, and often hide the fact that they are veterans.

Last semester, McGilvray said he had a professor who told the class the "military trains us to kill women and children and to become a sociopath," McGilvray said.

Those types of things anger him, especially when he has been there and knows better.

Student John Hart joined the Army National Guard as a family tradition. While he took on military service with a sense of pride, it was also a job.

"A lot of students don't realize a lot of people in the military actually work in an office," Hart said.

Part of his time was spent in Kosovo, where Hart's job was to gather intelligence, as well as be a friendly face.

"My mission was with kids in classrooms, to get kids to work together on art," he explained.

"When you meet a vet, don't assume they were on the front line," he said.

Wes Shockley is an Army veteran who spent two years in Iraq as a mental health specialist, helping soldiers deal with stress.

He said he had a hard time being away from his wife and children.

When he returned, he was irritable and found he was arguing more. He also didn't like crowds.

"In combat you get fired at daily. People are in tents and rockets will land in your tent. Their front line is everywhere. I was affected more than I thought."

He said he sees his time at college as his second chance and plans to get a degree in social work and work in veteran affairs.

David Martinez, 29, grew up in Oakland and joined the military with plans to attend college.

Since he was 10 years old he wanted to become a game warden, and he knew a college education would be needed.

He served in a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Kosovo as well.

When he was sent to Fallujah, Iraq, he was 23 and a sergeant.

"When you get back, you try to get back into normal life," he explained.

But he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

"Sometimes I don't sleep at all," he said, and he also has trouble with large crowds.

In college, his goal is still to become a game warden, and he knows that he will have to "prove to Fish and Game I'm a qualified candidate."

Yessica Lupica served as an Arabic interrogator/translator.

Her family has a tradition of military service and she joined during peace time when she was 17. The plane attacks of 9/11 took place while she was in basic training.

By the time she was 19, she was "in charge of other people's lives."

During her military service, Lupica lost many friends, she said, including a person she was dating.

The losses continue, she said. "Until everybody is home, it's not over."

One of the issues with transitioning to college has been shifting from serious work to the more casual environment.

"Every morning what I did mattered," she said, including decisions that "lives were riding on."

When transitioning to college, it was difficult to feel like things mattered.

"I had a Tuesday morning group project and three people were hung over," she said.

She thinks about people who are still fighting a war, and "I'm sitting in biology class."

Lupica also still gets jumpy. On New Year's Eve "someone threw firecrackers and I jumped out of my skin," she said.

She also is irked by professors who make comments about the war. She was there, and has more firsthand knowledge than her professors, she said.

Robinson asked the veterans what students could do to be more supportive.

Lupica suggested not asking veterans if they have killed someone.

"That's an intensely personal question," she said.

McGilvray said he would like to see more teacher awareness. Veterans in class likely won't say when they are offended by their teachers' comments, he said.

Larry Langwell is coordinator of Veterans Affairs at Chico State.

He said the military discharges 750 veterans to California every month and the state provides about 10 percent of the military population.

In August, new rules are rolling out for the G.I. Bill, including added payments for student fees and books.

In his experience, Langwell said, veterans often don't know they're having problems when they return. It's still up to the veteran to seek out help, he said.

For more information, call Langwell at 898-5911. A Web site is at:

Chico State Student Veterans Increase Community Awareness

Last week was a big success. The Chico State SVO got on the radio and got the word out. We tabled a couple of days on campus, bringing awareness to the student population. Our Round Table Fundraiser on Tuesday night was a success. We raised between $130-$200 dollars towards our conference trip. The conversations on diversity was a huge success on Wednesday. There were at least 50 students and faculty in attendance. 6 student veterans were a part of the panel that discussed our personal experiences in transition from Military to Education. The Wednesday night screening of Lioness had 20 people in attendance. We also had our first Women Veterans of Butte County meeting on Saturday. Overall it was a great week for the Student Veteran Organization. We are now looking forward to the Student Veterans of America national conference in San Francisco on April 17.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Student Veterans Week!

Student Veterans Week

Saturday, March 21st- Saturday, March 28th

SVO supporters,

We have several events coming up on the week after Spring Break. We hope you can be a part of what we're doing and we look forward to seeing you at any of our events. Also, please pass on this information and attachments to anybody who would be interested in supporting Chico State Student Veterans. Thank you for your continued support.

Chico State Student Veterans on KZFR 90.1 FM

Saturday March 21 from 9:00-11:00 am

The Chico State Student Veteran Organization has been invited as guests on 90.1 FM, KZFR “The Point is…” on Saturday March 21 from 9:00-11:00 am. We will be discussing our experiences as veterans, sharing education and benefit information, talking about upcoming SVO events, and taking calls from listeners. Your listening support would be greatly appreciated.

Round Table Fundraiser for SVA Conference

Tuesday, March 24th 5:00-9:00pm @ Round Table on Mangrove.

20% of all REGULAR priced orders with coupon presented will be donated to Chico State Student Veterans. Your support is important, please spread the word, we need a large turnout.

The Chico State SVO is attending a national conference of the Student Veterans of America. The conference will focus on providing student veterans with information they can use on their campuses to make a positive impact. It includes two days of workshops, and exhibitor and employment fair, and plenty of networking opportunities. Chico State SVO is sending 7 student veterans to San Francisco for this 3-day conference. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to helping the student veterans finance their trip.

Conversations on Diversity- Troops to College

Wednesday March 25th @ 12:00pm in BMU 210.

The Chico State Student Veteran Organization, in partnership with Disability Support Services and the Office of Diversity, will be facilitating and speaking at a panel discussion on Wednesday March 25th @ 12:00pm in BMU 210. Please show support by attending and engaging in the conversation.

The Conversations on Diversity series (COD) focuses on the complexities of group and individual identities and how they influence one another. The gatherings provide a safe space for members of the campus community to consider the often sensitive issues surrounding identity. In providing a forum for the many voices on our campus to be heard, the hope is that, through education and conversation, there can be enlightenment, understanding, and acceptance. The Chico State Student Veteran Organization will be discussing our identities as student veterans and our experiences transitioning from the military to college.

Women in Combat: Lioness Documentary Screening

Wednesday March 25th @ 7:00pm in BMU 304. Free! For more info, call Wes 530-592-9310

The Chico State Student Veteran Organization, in partnership with the Associated Students’ Women’s Center, is presenting a free screening of the award-winning documentary about women in combat; Lioness. Lioness tells the story of a group of female Army support soldiers who were part of the first program in American history to send women into direct ground combat. Told through intimate accounts, journal excerpts, archival footage, as well as interviews with military commanders, the film follows five Lioness women who served together for a year in Iraq. With captivating detail, this probing documentary reveals the unexpected consequences that began by using these Army women to defuse tensions with local civilians, but resulted in their fighting alongside Marine combat units in the streets of Ramadi. Together the women's candid narratives describing their experiences in Iraq and scenes from their lives back home form a portrait of the emotional and psychological effects of war from a female point of view.

Women Veterans Focus Group

Saturday March 28th at 11:00am-1:00pm, location, in Chico, TBA

If you are a Woman Veteran in Butte County (student or non-student) and would like to be involved in building community and starting discussions with other Women Veterans regarding your experiences, we are having our first gathering on Saturday March 28th at 11:00am-1:00pm, location, in Chico, TBA. Snacks and beverages will be provided. This event will be facilitated by Wes Shockley, an OIF veteran and social work student. There is no direct affiliation with the Department of Veteran Affairs, CSU, Chico, or The Chico State Student Veteran Organization. All ages are encouraged to participate. Child-care will most likely be unavailable so please make necessary arrangements prior to attending. For more info or RSVP, call Wes 530-592-9310.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Welcome Back!

Our welcome back dinner was a great success. We had quite a few new student veterans show up with their families and significant others, as well as the entire usual crew. Thanks to everybody for being a part of last night. These kinds of gatherings and connections are a big part of what SVO is about. We hope everybody stays involved, we have lots to do this semester.