Pizza with Patriots Service Learning Project by Jessica Woods

 

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Few know that UCA has a long military history, but take a walk on campus and you will soon see how UCA has chosen to honor their fallen. Oak trees lining the sidewalks serve as living reminders of those World War II veterans and alumni of UCA who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Additionally, the school has erected war memorials outside McAlister Hall that lists and honors all fallen veterans who were alumni of the university, and a wiki memorial page has been created to provide more information for these veterans. Yet even after all the work that has been put in to remember these servicemen and women, many students walk by these memorials without recognizing their significance.

This semester in Donna’s Core II class, we focused on what we can do as students to raise awareness and support for these memorials and the veterans who are part of our community on campus. We split into three groups: an event group tasked with organizing an event to support UCA veterans, a communications group to spread the word about these memorials, and a research group that focused on sharing the stories of these veterans by creating web pages for them by expanding the memorial wiki page.

The event group’s work culminated in a gathering called “Pizza with Patriots.” Students were able to connect with veterans in their community as they shared how the time they spent in the military has shaped them. Furthermore, Pizza with Patriots provided for the release of information about a scholarship opportunity starting next fall. The communications group worked to establish a $300 essay contest challenging contestants to research and write about the veterans in which these memorials are dedicated. In doing so, they created a legacy to increase awareness about the memorials on UCA’s campus. Lastly, the research group conducted genealogy research to find photos and information to help bring the names of the men and women etched on the war memorials to life. We were able to expand the UCA War Memorial web page to include information about virtually every single fallen veteran honored on the war memorial.

I was a part of something this semester that has created a lasting impact on my community. The work my class did has brought people together and shared stories that deserve to be heard. Be looking for more information about the essay contest next semester, and if you want to learn more about the stories of these fallen heroes please visit the UCA War Memorial web page at https://honors.uca.edu/memorial/index.php/Main_Page

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