Enjoy burgers, a beer tent and live music, meet other military-connected students and find out about organizations which offer veterans help and resources at a “Fall In” back-to-school celebration Thursday, Sept. 18. Bring your family and drop in anytime between 2 to 8 p.m.
National Louis University is sponsoring the event at Cantigny Park, 1s151 S. Winfield Road, Wheaton, and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is lending her support. Student veterans from all Chicago-area universities, and veterans thinking about pursuing higher education, are all welcome to attend for social time, networking and mentoring. Hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, coleslaw, water and soda will be free, as is the parking; the only charge is for beer.
“It’s a fun day. It’s designed to gather student veterans to network and mingle, and empower them with other networks, whether focusing on academic advancement or career and leadership development,” said Paul Knudtson, NLU’s Director of Armed Services Relations.
Veterans can mingle with others and visit display tables from organizations which provide services to veterans, such as The Mission Continues and Team Red, White and Blue.
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s schedule does not permit her to attend, but she has sent a letter officially endorsing the event. She wrote: “It is my honor to welcome you to the 2014 Student Veterans Fall-in. A special thanks to National Louis University who, with the support of Student Veterans of America, organized this wonderful event.”
Riley Wright, a veteran and Americorps/VISTA volunteer at NLU, hopes veterans will use the day to get advice from each other.
“For example, if you come to the event and you’re a military-connected student at a two-year college, you might talk to a student at a four-year college about what they’re doing,” she said. “We’d like to see mentorships.”
Veterans can browse the various display tables from Chicago-area colleges and universities to see what programs they offer, and find out where they can pursue a course of study for careers which interest them, Wright added.
National Louis is underwriting the event, and a $10,000 grant from the DuPage Community Foundation will help cover the costs, Knudtson said. Partners include College of DuPage, Cantigny Park (which waived its fee for the event), Veterans Assistance Committee for DuPage County, Lewis University and DeVry Military Resource Club.
The event was scheduled from 2 to 8 p.m. so veterans and their families can drop in at a time when they’re not working or at school.
Knudtson explained that while Illinois has an estimated 35,000 student veterans, each college or university has only a relatively small number, so events like this one are a fairly rare opportunity to spend time with other Illinois student veterans.
The event will take place rain or shine. In the event of rain, it will take place at College of DuPage, which is not far from Cantigny.
To register your organization as a vendor, please click here or contact Carey Smith, 312-261-3809 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To place an ad in the program book, please contact Riley Wright at email@example.com For additional information, contact Paul Knudtson at firstname.lastname@example.org.