A week-long series of events culminating with a Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 12, will bring educational opportunities for and about military veterans to the forefront on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
According to Stephen Knotts, EIU’s coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services, “Veterans Week” will demonstrate both veterans’ support and veterans’ awareness.
“We want to support our student veterans on campus by letting everyone know that they, too, are EIU,” he said.
The Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony has become an annual campus event. This year, community residents are invited to join students, faculty and staff at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 12 in front of Old Main (the “Castle”). The ceremony will include the laying of a wreath and remarks by both Cody Gallagher, a student veteran and ROTC cadet, and EIU President Bill Perry. The ROTC Panther Battalion will render a three-volley salute, while the EIU Department of Music will perform the National Anthem and the playing of taps.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved inside the building. The public is also invited to three related events, including two panel discussions featuring some of Eastern’s current student veterans.
The first panel will talk about their military service experience, then discuss their transition to EIU, including the challenges they face as older, nontraditional students. A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.
“Many of them feel that there’s no connection. They don’t have that strong bond they felt with their military unit,” Knotts said. “Plus, over time, they’ve may have lost some of the studying and/or testing skills they knew before entering the military.” That discussion is scheduled to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall.
During the same time period and in the same location on Wednesday, Nov. 7, a panel of female student veterans will tell their stories, focusing on those issues specific to “being a female in the military,” including “expectations, hygiene, sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
EIU’s annual Veterans Day concert – this year titled “Call to Duty: A Veterans Day Tribute” -- will feature the Eastern Illinois University Wind Symphony, plus special guest, the Springfield-based 144th U.S. Army Band’s Five Star Trombone Ensemble. Admission to the concert, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in Dvorak Concert Hall, Doudna Fine Arts Center, is $12 for the general public, $10 for EIU faculty/staff and senior citizens, and $5 for EIU students.
Additional events scheduled in commemoration of Veterans Day include those aimed at military veterans only.
EIU’s Career Services will hold a workshop designed to teach veterans how to use their military experience to write a civilian resume. The one-hour workshop, scheduled to begin at noon on Thursday, Nov. 8, will be followed from 1 to 4 p.m. with opportunities for student veterans to participate in mock job interviews.
Those interested in the workshop need only show up at the appointed time at the Career Services office, located in Eastern’s Human Services Building. Those wishing to participate in a mock interview should contact Career Services in advance, either in person or by calling 217-581-2412, to schedule a 30-minute slot of time.
Also, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs will feature its mobile Veterans Center – a 40-foot-long RV – throughout the day on Tuesday, Nov. 6, and from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Nov. 7, near the southeast corner of the MLK Jr. Union (just south of Java Beanery and Bakery). Veterans are welcome to visit the center for information on such topics as veterans’ benefits, counseling services and more.