Task Force in Support of Student Veterans News

Student Veteran Who Aided in Somali Pirate Rescue Now Works with UT Vets

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Five years ago, as a US Navy petty officer on the USS Bainbridge, Melina Gardner—now a UT senior in sociology—found herself in the middle of a four-day standoff between the Navy and Somali pirates during the now-famous rescue of the ship’s captain Richard Phillips. As Veterans Day approaches, Gardner reflects on her experiences and how she now helps other veterans in the university’s Office of Veterans Affairs.

Show Support for UT Veterans with Buddy Poppies

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The university’s Task Force in Support of Student Veterans plans to distribute 1,000 “Buddy Poppies” to faculty, staff, and students to wear the week before Memorial Day, May 19 through 24. Last year, the Task Force passed out 1,000 poppies, and had more than 500 additional requests. The Buddy Poppy movement was started by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization after World War I. It was inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae, which described the red poppies growing on a battle site where many soldiers were buried.

UT Ranked Fifteenth in New U.S. News “Best Colleges for Veterans” Rankings

UT is ranked fifteenth in the nation among all public and private universities in U.S. News and World Report’s inaugural rankings for Best Colleges for Veterans. The new ranking category provides data and information on schools that assist veterans and active service members with pursuing a college education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill by providing federal benefits, which include tuition and housing assistance. U.S. News uses its annual Best Colleges data to rank the schools that meet three specific criteria.

Big Idea: Support UT Veterans with Poppies

The Task Force in Support of Student Veterans at UT has another big idea for supporting student veterans. They plan to pass out 1,000 “Buddy Poppies” to faculty, staff, and students to wear the week before Memorial Day, May 20 through 25. Last year, the Task Force passed out 500 poppies and saw enough interest to double the distribution this year.