Honor Veterans By Donating Items, Marching 20 Miles on May 24

Everyone at National Louis University, including faculty, students and staff, is invited to participate as we commemorate Armed Forces Week from May 20-24. The week encompasses Armed Forces Day on May 18.

There are three ways to take part: donate snacks and supplies for the USO anytime before May 15, become a  volunteer or sponsor for the Ruck March (such as sponsoring a marcher at $1/mile) or join the Ruck March to raise awareness that approximately 20 U.S. military service members and veterans lose their lives to suicide every day. The 20-mile Ruck March steps off Friday, May 24 in the morning in Glencoe, Illinois and marchers will finish at Lincoln Park in Chicago. Those interested in marching only a portion of the walk, such as from Glencoe to Evanston or Evanston to Lincoln Park, may do so.

Donate items for the USO

Please bring in non-perishable snacks, small toiletries, travel games, books, etc., now through May 15. Stacey Dixon, Ed.D., director of student veteran support services, will lead volunteers in packing the items into travel comfort and care bags that the USO will distribute to military travelers at airports. Volunteers are needed to help with packing the supplies into gallon-sized plastic bags, tentatively scheduled for May 16. NLU will deliver the packs to the USO May 17.

Why help?  Almost every Friday, 300  to 500 Navy sailors graduate from the U.S. Navy boot camp (Recruit Training Command), located at Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago, Illinois. Following graduation from RTC, sailors are shuttled to Chicago airports for travel to their next location. The sailors leave the barracks around the same time but may remain in the airport and in USO centers for an entire weekend. The USO supports these recently-graduated sailors in addition to the regular traveling military community.

Recommended items to donate:

  • Packaged Rice Crispy treats
  • Handy snacks
  • Granola and protein Bars
  • Pringles
  • Gum
  • Candy
  • Snack Mixes
  • Healthy snacks
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Small ear buds
  • Activity Books
    • Crosswords
    • Adult coloring books / colored pencils
  • Travel games
  • Books, magazines
  • Razors
  • Travel size shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrushes
  • Travel size toothpaste
  • Baby wipes, tissues
  • Cards, stationary, pens
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • And more!

Home-baked goods, tobacco, alcohol and pornography will not be accepted.

Here’s a complete list of YES/NO items from the TSA website:


Join the Ruck March

NLU is actively seeking more participants to join its contingent at the Ruck March. The March will start at Veterans Memorial Park, also called Kalk Park, 298 Park Avenue,  Glencoe, Illinois. Participants may check in starting at 7 a.m., the ceremony is at 8:30 a.m. and step off is at 9 a.m. Lunch will take place at Evanston’s Centennial Park and the walk will finish near Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. View the FAQ page here.

NLU is partnering with Chicago Veterans, and half the proceeds will go to NLU’s Student Veterans Association and half to Chicago Veterans.

To register, sign up at www.chicagovets.org. There is a $10 registration fee, which includes lunch. After registering, please visit this NLU Student Veterans webpage to sign up and indicate your t-shirt size.

Volunteer or sponsor

If you can’t join the march, consider sponsoring a marcher by donating $1 per mile walked. Contact Dixon at sdixon11@nl.edu to do so.

Another way to participate is to volunteer for check-in, serving lunch, etc. during the march. See www.chicagovets.org for details.