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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
While their personal experiences are vastly different, a group of ten undergraduate Dartmouth students have a common bond: military service. They've recently come together to form the Dartmouth Undergraduate Veterans Association (DUVA), and there is currently international representation from Israel, Norway, Singapore, and the United States. They all share a familiarity with the mental and physical rigors of military service, as well as questions about college life.
"DUVA's main goal, right now, is to support each other," says Samuel Crist, a member of the class of 2010, a U.S. Marine, a veteran of the Iraq War, and DUVA's first president. "Many people helped me, here at Dartmouth and elsewhere, and I wanted to establish a veteran network on campus so we can take care of each other." Crist is from Youngsville, La.
Crist explains that DUVA's creation was inspired by a similar group of graduate students at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business. The Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association invited Crist and two friends, also veterans, to a meeting. Crist and the others all thought the Tuck model could be duplicated for undergraduates.
Dartmouth's President James Wright, a former Marine, has been working over the past several years to encourage veterans, particularly those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, to go to college, and has recently advocated for a new GI Bill. "I'm pleased that our undergraduate veterans have come together with this common bond," he says. "The international nature of their group is distinctive, and I think it fosters global awareness. I'm proud of these veterans, and I hope other Dartmouth students find opportunities to learn from DUVA."
The group gathers about once a week to discuss issues ranging from homelessness among U.S. military veterans to more basic things like class schedules and dorm life. Generally, the veterans are a bit older than traditional undergraduates, and because of their experiences, they often approach the everyday stress of student life in different ways.
"I think we provide an official vehicle for talking about the needs and experiences of student veterans to the larger campus community," says Abe Holland '08, from Irasburg, Vt., a member of the U.S. Air Force who served in support of operations in Afghanistan. "We also provide support for new veterans coming to campus or thinking about coming to Dartmouth, and we hope we can facilitate discussions where non-veteran students and veterans can share perspectives."
Former U.S. Marine and World War II veteran John Rassias, professor of French and the William R. Kenan Professor, serves as a faculty advisor to DUVA. "This is a very committed group," he says. "They are all working hard to situate themselves and get back into the stream of life again after serving in the military." Rassias says he was very impressed by a recent DUVA effort to encourage fellow undergraduates to send letters to their Congressional representatives in support of a new GI Bill.
"I like how DUVA is a grassroots effort to support veterans and veterans' issues," says Philip L. Aubart '10, DUVA member from Minneapolis, Minn. and in the U.S. Army. "I hope we can successfully make the entire campus aware of the fact that there are veterans in their presence and to be able to reach out to campus to the extent that we may have non-veteran members of DUVA helping us with our mission."
Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.