There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at with no result.” – Winston Churchill

There are non-traditional students, and then there are non-traditional students.

Some naturally freak over the stress of an upcoming test or an overdue paper. A precious few shudder at the memory of being shot at by a determined enemy with lethal force.

For the latter – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard veterans – the transition from a structured military life (some include actual combat experience) to less orderly college campuses can be incredibly daunting. Throw in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and one really gets the picture.insleeproc

We may all say the right things about supporting our veterans, and salute them for their service. More importantly, do we as a society take the quality time to help them in making the difficult transition back to civilian life — including college — after years of utter boredom interrupted by bouts of sheer terror?

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) each year sponsors a Bateman case-study collegiate public relations competition pitting campuses across the fruited plain against each other. It may not be the equivalent in the public’s mind as the Rose Bowl or March Madness, but the work striving for that “One Shining Moment” is just as intense.

This year’s PRSSA-chosen subject is the plight of student veterans. For five dedicated-and-talented public relations majors at Central Washington University, it meant choreographing from scratch an entire earned-and-owned communication platforms campaign, focusing prime-time attention on these student veterans.

Starting In the Future and Working Back to the Present

Central Washington University’s Bateman team met for the first time last fall. The PRSSA’s rules are explicit; there is absolutely no jumping the gun. All campaigns cannot begin before February 15 and the must end by March 15.

Finis. Endo Musico.DSC02459

For CWU Bateman leader Sarah Collins (in blue) and her team from left-to-right, Nicolette Bender, JoAnn Briscoe, Jasmine Randhawa and Travis Isaman, they essentially planned out their own military-style campaign, apropos for the subject of student veterans.

Knowing the Ides of March is the stopping point (except for post-campaign evaluation), the Bateman team meticulously planned all the steps along the way that led to a successful week on campus and off, saluting student veterans.

In fact, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee declared the past seven days as “Student Veterans Week” in the Evergreen State.

This gubernatorial recognition did not happen by accident. Here is the list of major events:

Monday, February 29: (Leap Day) Resource Fair for Veterans and their families was featured on campus.

Tuesday, March 1: A five-participant “Experience Panel” was conducted, causing Almost DailyBrett to ponder whether we truly appreciate our veterans, who risked their lives for us.

Wednesday, March 2: Students were encouraged to sign a gigantic “I Support SV” placard at the Student Union and Recreation Center.

Thursday, March 3: The “Unheard Voices” concert was held, commemorating prisoners and war and missing in action.

Friday, March 4: The capstone was the Student Veteran Art Exhibit at the artist/Marine John Ford Clymer Museum, coinciding with Ellensburg’s “First-Friday” art walk. Drawing special attention was Navy vet David Sturgell, artist Kaitlyn Farr and the “subject” for the art, 80-pound bulldog, “Daisy.”DSC02456

Thinking the War Is Over

“You can be supportive or you can be supportive” – Navy veteran David Sturgell

Listening to the vets participating at the “Experience Panel,” one was floored by the stat that only 7 percent of Americans have dawned the uniform, and only 1 percent have experienced combat.

Student Army vet Wesley King lamented that many in our population believe the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. Navy veteran David Romero reminded the audience that 15 years after 9/11, we as a nation are still engaged in the troublesome Middle East.

The veterans told stories of shifting from the ultimate regimented society to the largely undirected world of colleges and universities. There is PTSD and fights with Jack Daniels and other intoxicants.

“Some stress over a test,” said King. “At least you are not getting shot at.”

“Sometime, I would just sit in the back of library, just to be alone,” said Army vet Calvin Anderson.

“We (King and Anderson) would drink all day,” said King. “There was no structure in our lives. We finally stopped drinking, when we got a cat.”

The veterans expressed concern about the lack of mental health professionals, but were grateful for the support of fellow students.

Their stories deserve to be told. The Central Washington University Bateman team has done its duty to salute these veterans and tell their stories, and tell them well using as many conventional and digital outlets as they can find.

Let the chips fall where they may …

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu100445.html

http://prssa.prsa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/2016timeline.pdf

http://prssa.prsa.org/news/national/news/display/1402

https://www.facebook.com/groups/792093870903952/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/the-courage-to-succeed-as-non-trad-students/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/launching-a-second-career-2/

http://www.clymermuseum.com/

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder

http://www.governor.wa.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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