The San Diego State Veterans Center in conjunction with the Student Veteran Organization hosted members of the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion last Wednesday. This is the sixth year SDSU hosted marines and sailors who have been wounded or disabled during combat operations. The Marine Corps operates two Wounded Warrior battalions — one in Camp Lejeune, N.C. and the other in Camp Pendleton — and has shared a partnership with the veteran community of SDSU.
The event annually includes a barbecue dinner at the SVO house on Hardy Avenue and educational briefings by deans and administrators of various colleges from SDSU. Guests receive information about opportunities available in the different fields of study as well as requirements and strategic planning for those service members and families interested in attending school after their release from active duty.
Veterans Coordinator Nathaniel Donnelly hosted this year’s meeting. According to Donnelly, the purpose of the event is to facilitate soldiers during their transition from service to education, but this doesn’t necessarily mean encouraging enrollment at SDSU.
“This is the sixth year we do this event and every year it gets bigger and better,” Donnelly said. “It’s not just about getting these people into SDSU, it’s about helping them get into school, any school.”
SVO President Tess Banko was also present to meet the service members and their families during the dinner.
“Tonight the veterans of SDSU came together to do something really important for some really good people,” she said. “Every year we do this, it gets better and we get to reach more people. We are really grateful for their service and we are more than happy to do this for them. It’s the least we can do.”
The wounded warriors are assisted with educational information by Camp Pendleton Academic Adviser Salem Berhanu who is an SDSU alumna. She also serves as a liaison to SDSU from the Marine Corps base for prospective service members interested in entering a four-year college.
“We want to thank SDSU for doing this. It is so important to the veterans to be able to get these types of resources and be able to direct them in the direction they want to go and what’s best for them and their families,” Berhanu said.
During the dinner, SDSU President Elliot Hirshman gave some remarks and thanked the service members for attending. Following the meal and briefings, the attendees were escorted to Viejas Arena for the men’s basketball game against Wyoming.