Veterans plan to ‘increase the fun factor’ on campus

Matt Quijas

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – Although the semester has just begun, the Student Veteran Organization (SVO) is already planning to honor those who will be graduating this June.

The organization’s members voted on Wednesday, Feb. 8, to serve chicken and steak entrees at an end-of-semester dinner proposed by SVO President Joey Zaliagiris.  Date and location of the event remains to be decided.

In suggesting the dinner.  Zaliagiris, a Navy veteran, said “our goal is to increase the fun factor” for 1,200 veterans currently enrolled at Grossmont College – which counselor Renee Tuller has said is the largest  enrollment of veterans at any college in California.

Other “fun factor” activities under discussion at Wednesday evening’s meeting in a classroom in Building 53 included participation in the campus’s sweetheart fair for Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14; a possible golf outing;  and the continuation of Taco Tuesdays,  at which club members are served four free tacos and one non-alcoholic beverage.

SVO officers in addition to Zaliagiris include Diego Segura, vice president;  Robert Anthony,  vice president of finance, and Erica Morehouse, secretary.  Several vice presidencies  – for camaraderie,  membership, and community service – are expected to be filled.

Anthony, a Marine veteran, reported that  SVO earned over $800 during the Week of Welcome, at which SVO cooked and sold “Bomb Burgers” for students who visited its booth in the Main Quad.   He said future barbecues are in the works, and the club is discussing other ways to earn revenue.

Raul Flores, a retired sailor with 21 years of active duty, emphasized the importance of spreading the word to the vets and informing them on all the benefits of getting involved with SVO,

It’s important to answer the question “WIIFM, what’s in it for me”–  A common term used in the military, Flores said.   Flores went on to say veterans are able to help each other out in regards to finding the right teachers and classes that will be most beneficial in assisting the vets in their journey through college. 

Quijas is a student in Media Comm 132A.  He may be contacted at [email protected]