By tradition, November is a popular month for family celebrations, and USD continues to honor this heritage by recognizing the sacrifices made by U.S. veterans and their families.
President Biden issued a proclamation Oct. 31 declaring November 2022 as National Veterans and Military Families Month. USD looks to show support by honoring veterans and their families through various campus events.
USD Student Veteran Resource Center Coordinator Jacob Aus helps active duty and retired service students navigate the diverse avenues of higher education. He also works with dependents of military members to ensure a smooth college transition.
“I’m the one who creates a lot of these programs for the veterans. Our first event is the Hall of Heroes,” Aus said.
The Hall of Heroes is held this entire week, and offers current students, faculty and staff who are service members a chance to share their military and university experiences through a poster hung up in the MUC.
On Tuesday evening, the university hosted a veteran panel. The panel gave students and faculty the opportunity to ask questions about military population and services, and Aus said it had been quite a few years since USD last held this event.
USD also hosted two Military Appreciation Day games this weekend.
“This is probably our third or fourth year that we’ve done this,” Aus said. “We’ve done games in the past, but just called it something different.”
Military members and dependents received free entry to the games, and were recognized during timeouts and at halftime. The South Dakota Army National Guard also made an appearance in the tailgate section of the football game, showcasing original military vehicles.
As USD continues to honor the strength and sacrifices made by military members, Aus said they also understand the importance of preparing those currently serving for their civilian future.
“I focus on ensuring they have the proper tools and resources to transition from their military service into the civilian world and start working there. We have various offices on campus all helping make sure they’re successful,” Aus said.
Although the calendar may show the National Veterans and Military Families honoration as a month-long tribute, USD continues to honor active duty members and veterans year round.
The Patriot Plaza, located between the Knudsen School of Law and the Beacom School of Business, honors three USD alumni Medal of Honor recipients, the centennial of USD’s Army ROTC program and other veterans. The feature displays the American, South Dakota, POW/MIA and USD flags.
“It has the six different branches of service so that’s a very unique thing you don’t see on a lot of campuses across the country,” Aus said.
Other events USD students and staff can look forward to this week include the Native American Culture Center’s lecture on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in Farber Hall and the American Legion’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. at the Vermillion High School.