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Four Great Ways to Appreciate Your Student Veterans

New York City College of Technology will host “Veterans Appreciation Week” April 26-30, 2010. The week will feature a number of exhibits, discussion panels and other events in the College’s Atrium Amphitheater, 300 Jay Street (at Tillary) in Downtown Brooklyn, that honor its student veterans and other men and women in uniform. These events will include a discussion panel by published veteran writers as well as a sit down session with Rudy Reyes, who has served in combat deployments and also played the part of a combat veteran in the popular HBO mini-series “Generation Kill.” Other activities will include photography exhibits by City Tech student veterans organized by esteemed photographer and photography teacher Erica Leone.

This has been a busy year for City Tech’s Office of Veterans Support Services and coordinator Brian Laguardia. In addition to planning the April 26-30 round of “Veterans Appreciation Week” activities, Brian and staff are busy preparing for a Memorial Day trip to Washington DC to tour our nation’s capitol and student veteran participation in New York City’s Memorial Day Parade. On campus, Brian brings great energy and dedication to ensuring that all City Tech student veterans are availed of every opportunity and benefit available to them.

“Many veterans choose not to talk about their combat experiences,” says Brian, “while others refer to it in every other sentence they utter. Regardless, remember that veterans do not choose when, where, or why they go to war. They are employees of the government, and do what they are asked to do when they are asked to do it, even when what they are asked to do is to put their lives on the line in highly dangerous areas and situations. When students and teachers encounter a student veteran in or out of the classroom, take a moment to say thank you for serving our country. Take it from a combat veteran that expressions of gratitude like this go a long, long way.”

Brian also encourages members of the larger college community to reach out to the Student Veterans Club.  The club meets every first and third Thursday of the month during club hours in the Pearl 104 Conference Room. Non-member students and faculty are invited to stop by to offer their support and ideas or volunteer their time. “That support and presence,” he says, “will serve as an exceptional morale booster for men and women who defended our country and saw good friends lost to the ravages of war.”

April 2010 offers all members of the college community with ample opportunities to show support for and to say thank you to our student veterans. April 26 will feature a “Veterans Appreciation Week Photo Slideshow,” from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m., in the Atrium Amphitheater. The event will feature presentations by student veterans on photos they have taken, what those photos mean and the stories behind them.

April 27 will feature a 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Atrium Amphitheater “Veterans Appreciation Week Panel Discussion” with veteran authors Kayla Williams (I Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army), Colby Buzzel (My War: Killing Time in Iraq), Jason Hartley (Just Another Soldier), Rudy Reyes (Hero Living: Seven Strides to Awaken Your Infinite Power) and Roy Scranton, who accounts have been published in several publications, including Denver Quarterly, LIT, and Glyphs. The panel will be moderated by 1st Lt. Jacob Siegel.

April 29 will feature a 12:30 to 2:15 p.m. Atrium Amphitheater viewing of an episode of the popular HBO series “Generation Kill” and a follow-up Q&A with veteran author and series actor Rudy Reyes. Reyes will talk about the public and media perceptions of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their experiences and how those perceptions differ from the way things were and are. All of these events are free and open to the college community and general public.

On Memorial Day in May, City Tech student veterans will march in the Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. Says Brian Laguardia, “As a combat veteran I can tell you there is nothing quite like walking in a veterans parade, being applauded by tens of thousands of citizens. Every year, City Tech is well represented in New York City’s Veterans Day Parade and the Memorial Day Parade in our nation’s capital. Believe me when I say that these demonstrations of public support mean so very much to us.”


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