Blue Hen Veterans hosted a tailgate reception to promote awareness of student veterans.

Blue Hen Veterans

Tailgate reception welcomes student veterans and supporters

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2:09 p.m., Sept. 11, 2013--At 10 a.m. Saturday morning, a group of students and community members, like so many others, gathered outside of Delaware Stadium to show their Blue Hen pride before the kickoff of the football game between the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.

This group, however, had a special mission – to raise awareness of the University’s student veterans.

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Blue Hen Veterans, a registered student organization with about 70 members, hosted the tailgate reception for student veterans and their supporters with the dual goals of introducing these students to the established support network at UD and making the University community aware of student veterans on campus.

“Too often, younger generations don’t realize that a classmate in their early 20s is someone that fought for our country,” says Steve McGuire, president of the organization. “That’s the main reason we invited so many students to eat. Our location was perfect for exposure to students walking by and we were able to meet a lot of fellow Blue Hens while enjoying an event.”

Food for the event was provided by Residence Life and Housing, along with a portion of the 40 first-come, first-served complimentary tickets to the football game. Army ROTC was represented by Major Daniel Bowles and Master Sgt. Terence Duffie. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 475 provided help with tables, chairs and paper supplies.

“By collaborating on this event, we were able to help student veterans connect to campus opportunities and become more familiar with supportive resources at UD,” said Danielle Dolan, area coordinator with Residence Life and Housing. “It was a pleasure meeting our student veterans and hearing about the experience they bring with them. We look forward to finding more ways of helping new members transition to our campus community.”

Andrew Whitely, a non-veteran who is friends with McGuire, prepared the food for 120 people.

“It was gone when we finished,” said McGuire. “He was outstanding in keeping the food coming as the students came through. He is a great example that you don't have to be a veteran to support what we do.”

If you are a student veteran or interested in supporting Blue Hen Veterans, contact McGuire via the group’s Student Central page or join the open Facebook group Blue Hen Veterans.

Article by Tabitha Groh

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