Lila Public Relations, a student-run campaign, honored student veterans on campus at an event this Tuesday.
Students were invited to write a thank-you letter to veterans, spin a “Task & Answer Wheel” and take a picture with the American flag. The event was co-hosted by theCrew, and students and veterans came out to support the campaign.
“It’s always kind of a strange feeling getting recognized because almost any veteran will tell you that we don’t consider ourselves heroes; we are just doing the job we signed up to do,” Marine Corps veteran Gabriel Merigian said. “To have people in the school voluntarily do this for us… it’s just touching.”
Lila Public Relations is competing in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s 2016 Bateman competition. This year’s competition features Student Veterans of America (SVA), and participants compete by raising awareness for SVA on their own campuses.
Madison Ladd, a senior strategic communication major and Lila Public Relations team member, said her team members were surprised in their preliminary research that not many students knew there were veterans in their classes.
“Part of our campaign is to eliminate the stigma of the ‘broken veteran’ or that they suffer from PTSD,” said Ladd. “They’re very accomplished on campus and they really do a lot for us.”
There are two teams competing in the Bateman competition at TCU: Lila Public Relations and More Than a Vet. Each team consists of four senior strategic communication majors.
William Howe, president of Student Veterans Alliance and a former combat medic in the army, said both teams reached out to him and he is amazed at the work put into the campaign.
“We are still not to the place where we can say, ‘I’m comfortable on campus,’ yet, but I think student veterans feel like they are actually being considered now… They’re not invisible anymore,” Howe said. “Both teams shine a light on veterans that didn’t really exist before, and that has been awesome for us.”
Many students came to the event and showed their support for TCU’s student veterans. Senior Kristen Robinson said the idea of writing to veterans was meaningful to her.
“They’re not just doing a flimsy event, but are having more substance to it,” said Robinson.
This was Lila Public Relation’s last event of the semester. Final entries are due to PRSSA in April.