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March 2, 2012

Women vets get voice

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Written by: Alejandra Paz
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Female vets smiling and posing on Centennial Walkway. | Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

Female vets smiling and posing on Centennial Walkway. | Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

A new women veterans initiative is collaborating with the Veterans Center at San Diego State as an integration to help raise awareness.

Dr. Aaron Bruce, chief diversity officer at SDSU, said he is very supportive and interested in the Women Veterans Initiative. He said the energy and dedication women veterans bring to SDSU is excellent.

“It is important not to overlook the service and sacrifice women have made throughout the history of our country,” Bruce said. “Our student veterans, both men and women, are outstanding leaders who contribute positively to our campus and community.”

The initiative’s purpose is to unite and inform the female veteran population at SDSU about resources available both on and off campus.

Tess Banko, president of SDSU’s Student Veteran Organization, said SVO works toward maintaining a culturally inclusive environment for all campus veterans. She said an individual, whether male or female, becomes part of the family once he or she wears a uniform of the United States of America.

“The Veteran Center’s campus Women Veterans Initiative is important because it provides the opportunity for increased access to resources and support for those who seek it,” Banko said.

Angela Kozak, a speech pathology senior, started this initiative last fall. She said SDSU is a veteran-friendly campus with more than 1,000 veterans. She stressed that student veterans are all one big community and this initiative is supported by SVO.

Kozak said she is working hard to reach out to women who may benefit from having a stronger support network and building friendships.

“I know a lot of women and students I’ve talked to; we don’t want to be seen as separate because we fought really hard to be seen as equals,” Kozak said. “We are all one big community, I just thought it would be good to say, women are veterans as well.”

There are many resources available for women veterans ranging from work-study to on-campus health care. There are some veterans who come back from serving their country with post-traumatic stress disorder, or have to nurse infants between classes. Kosak said it is important to educate and communicate where they can go for assistance on campus.

Channelle McNutt, Associated Students diversity commissioner, said female veterans play a key role in the SDSU community.

“It is important to recognize the sacrifices, hardships and triumphs of our women veterans,” McNutt said. “They are a vital community to understand, embrace and support within our SDSU campus community.”

For more information about resources available on campus, upcoming events and news about the women veterans, visit

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Alejandra Paz



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