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NMSU to host first-ever Military and Veterans Appreciation Week

To honor New Mexico State University students, faculty and staff members who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces, NMSU will host the first-ever Military and Veterans Appreciation week on campus, Nov. 7-13.


People sitting at tables outside having lunch.
New Mexico State University students and employees enjoy a Veteran?s Day picnic in 2013. The picnic, which is sponsored by NMSU Military and Veterans Programs, is one of the many events scheduled for NMSU?s first-ever Military and Veterans Appreciation week Nov. 7-13. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

The new tradition is a collaboration between Military and Veterans Programs, Military and Family Communication Team in the College of Arts and Sciences, NMSU Student Veterans Organization along with the Air Force and Army ROTC.

?This is the first event of its kind for veterans and military,? said Jacobo Varela, Military and Veterans Programs director. ?It allows us to celebrate past, present and future Aggie veterans and let the community learn more about their unique culture. It will provide a variety of opportunities for the community to meet our veterans, learn about research currently being done at NMSU, as well as some entertainment that can also enlighten. One of our end goals is to inform the university and continue to create and foster a friendly and supportive environment for our military and veteran students.?

The week begins with the Las Cruces Veterans Day Parade, Saturday, Nov. 7. Military and Veterans Programs and the NMSU Student Veterans Organization will participate in the downtown parade.

On Sunday, Nov. 8, the Air Force and Army ROTC will host the Armed Forces 5K End Zone Dash. The obstacle course run begins at 7:30 a.m. at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Online registration is available at http://mvp.nmsu.edu/5k/.

On Monday, Nov. 9, an opening and dedication ceremony for the week will be held at 10 a.m. at Aggie Memorial Tower. NMSU Provost and Executive Vice President Daniel J. Howard will be the featured speaker.

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, Military and Veterans Programs will host its annual Veterans Day Picnic and Information Fair from 12-3 p.m. at the Garcia Annex Courtyard. NMSU has invited local service organizations to have tables and meet university students.

At 5 p.m. Jeanne Flora, NMSU Department of Communication Studies associate professor, will present a talk ?Post-Deployment Family Reintegration: Military Family Communication Challenges and Strengths? at the College of Health and Social Services auditorium.

?Military service members and their families face serious physical and emotional stressors associated with deployment and family reintegration,? Flora said. ?Even though a majority of families show remarkable resiliency, the symptoms and consequences of these stressors can threaten post-deployment family reintegration and prove difficult for partners and children, who face their own set of ongoing challenges related to lengthy periods of family separation and deployment transitions.?

?Because good support for military family reintegration has been met with barriers, this talk addresses avenues for support and also invites audience members to offer suggestions,? she noted.

At 6 p.m., NMSU will host a faculty and staff Military Veterans banquet at The 3rd Floor Bistro at the Danny Villanueva Victory Club in the Stan Fulton Center.

On Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, a free screening of ?Fort Bliss? will be held at 5:45 p.m. at Domenici Hall. A reception and discussion along with a question and answer session with the director, Claudia Myers, will follow the screening.

Thursday, Nov. 12, consists of several informational day presentations. ?Successful Strategies to Support Veterans and Active Duty Military in the Classroom? will be held at 10 a.m. at the Teaching Academy. This session is designed for faculty members who would like to learn more about military families, deployments and problems active duty military and student veterans can have on campus. The panel includes Varela and Candice Gilbert from Military and Veterans Programs, Flora, David Boje, NMSU Department of Management professor, and Josh Dunne, NMSU Student Veterans Organization.

Communication Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences is sponsoring three panels at the Health and Social Services auditorium. At 3 p.m., ?Alternative Therapies for Warriors and Their Families? will discuss the various therapies used to treat post-deployment stress and adjusting processes. This panel includes Bernie Wazlavekek, chief, behavioral health, McAfee Army Heath Clinic, Corey Vas, NMSU assistant director of student counseling, Maria Bagwell, social worker, and Jacquelyn C. Williams, Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn program manager, El Paso VA Healthcare System.

At 4 p.m., ?Bonds of brotherhood and matrimony: The dual identities of an American Warrior? will discuss how American Service members often face the prospect of managing their identity as a military member and leader within their own family. Anthony Epperson, NMSU communication studies graduate assistant and second lieutenant, U.S. Army National Guard, will give the presentation.

The day concludes at 5 p.m. with ?Using Equine and Narratives Re-story Techniques for Stress Management for Warriors and Their Families.? This panel will discuss how horses are used to relax people and help them learn life skills and how storying and re-storying can lower stress. Boje and Grace Rosile, management professor, and Wanda Whittlesey-Jerome, NMSU social work associate professor, will present this panel.

?We want to be a veteran-friendly university,? said Boje, a Vietnam veteran and Wells Fargo chair in the Department of Management. ?In fact, NMSU ranks 157th among the U.S. News & World Report for best national universities for veterans. There?s always more that we can do to help our student veterans transform the narrative of their lives while they?re here at NMSU.?

The week concludes on Friday, Nov. 13, with ROTC/National Guard/Local Recruiters Day, which will include displays, games, demonstration from the BMX stunt riders, climbing wall and information tables.

The Air Force ROTC?s annual Veterans Heritage Dinner will be held at 7 p.m. at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum.

For more information on the week?s events visit http://mvp.nmsu.edu/military-and-veterans-appreciation-week/.