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Expressing gratitude to the men and women who have served our country in the military is important to Olivet College students. To show their gratitude to Michigan veterans, students from two groups on campus teamed up to lead a fundraiser to benefit the Battle Creek VA Medical Center. With the ultimate goal to help local veterans, the Alpha Phi Kappa fraternity and the Veterans Advocate Group collected donations beginning March 27 and delivered the goods to the hospital on April 5.

Donations included toiletries, such as toothpaste, soap and shaving cream, as well as new clothing and nonperishable food items. Monetary donations or gift cards were also collected. Michael Strauss, an Alpha Phi Kappa brother and member of the Veterans Advocate Group, had the honor of delivering nearly $1,000 of donated items to the hospital on behalf of the two organizations with help from his fraternity brothers.

“Our country is struggling with unity right now, so the brothers of Alpha Phi Kappa thought that one thing most people agree on is respect for veterans,” explained Michael, who is a senior. “We came up with this idea for a fundraiser not only to help veterans, but also as an opportunity for two groups on campus to work together. As a veteran myself, I feel it is important to give back to my fellow service members who put their country before themselves.” Michael served in the Navy from 2010 to 2014, including a nine-month tour in Afghanistan.

Service learning is one of the core teachings at Olivet, encouraging students to Be More and Do Good. Through annual Service Days, courses centered around service learning and frequent service trips, in addition to many fundraisers and volunteer opportunities organized by student-led clubs and organizations, such as this one, students earn more than just an education. They develop the skills to become global citizens capable of creating change.

“Olivet College recognizes and honors the sacrifices that U.S. service members make in the defense of our nation,” said Leslie Sullivan, registrar and VA certifying official. “This is an opportunity to align ourselves with the programs and support services communities offer to assist veterans.”

Currently, Olivet is home to about 25 veterans, reservists, guardsmen and military dependents as faculty, staff and students. Awarded as a military-friendly school by both the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency and Victory Media’s Military Friendly® program, Olivet offers specialized scholarships, academic advising, transferable military credits, a Veterans Advocate Group, an on-campus veterans coordinator, special veterans events throughout the year and more to military students.

“My transition from the military to becoming a student was not always easy,” Michael said. “The support of my friends, family and wife, as well as my advisor, KayDee Perry, and Leslie Sullivan, helped me get well on my way to graduating and becoming the person I want to be. Olivet College has given me the knowledge and tools to be successful, and to live a life based on hard work, service to humanity and acceptance. I will always cherish my time spent at this institution and forever remain proud to be Comet.”

Olivet College is committed to helping U.S. active duty and military veteran students navigate educational opportunities. Learn more about military students at Olivet College. For more information, contact Leslie Sullivan at 269.749.7638 or lsullivan@olivetcollege.edu.

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