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'Got Your Six' shows military support

By Elisha Farler Staff Writer

September 12, 2013

Photo by Sara Owen
Students sign the "Got Your Six" poster to show their support for active military and veterans.

The Student Veterans of America, along with support from the Military and Veteran Services, collected around 300 signatures during a pledge signing for the Got Your 6 campaign on Aug. 28 during the Involvement Fair and on Aug. 29 in the University Center Lounge.

“The slogan Got Your 6 is a military term that means I’ve got your back,” SVA President Sherry Jacobs said

The campaign’s goal, as stated on the web site, is to bridge the civilian-military divide by creating a new conversation in America, so that veterans and military families are perceived as leaders and civic assets.

The Got Your 6 site explains that the term shows the support and loyalty that is needed among comrades in the military culture.

“UNCP was approved to use the slogan on July 25,” University Coordinator of Military and Veterans Services Michael Clawson said. UNCP joined the Education Pillar of the campaign, which is one of six pillars to help veterans transition back into civilian life.

“The national campaign, with help from SVA and the Pat Tillman Foundation has set a goal to collect pledges from 500 universities and colleges by June 2014,” Clawson said.

SVA along with Military Veteran Services will be holding another pledge signing booth during Pembroke Day on Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Quad between Old Main and Livermore Library.

This event will allow another chance for students, faculty, staff and the community to show their support by signing the Got Your 6 banner. The goal will be to reach out to all attendees for more signatures and scout for those interested in joining SVA.

The goal of the education pillar in the campaign is to support veteran students by enhancing policies, programs and resources.

In joining the campaign, UNCP takes another step to help military affiliated students succeed in their educational goals through support and services, Clawson said.

“The more awareness and representation these students have the better the support services will be,” Clawson said.

He explained that the goal is not to alienate anyone, but that they have earned these things by serving their country.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill gives veterans more opportunities in higher education as well as the ability to pass them on to their families.

“When we have a population approaching 1,000 [military affiliated] students, that is a lot of money the government is paying in benefits to the school. Part of that could be given to promote veteran awareness and services, at least that is my thought,” Clawson said. 

Clawson would like UNCP’s pledge signing to promote awareness for all students, staff and faculty that military affiliated students are among them.            

He feels the campaign is an opportunity to show their support for UNCP’s military affiliated students.

According to Clawson these military affiliated students are from five categories that make up 13.9 percent of UNCP’s student population. That is more than 800 students.

The five categories that Clawson and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness keep track of are:
•          Active Duty
•          Veterans
•          Dependents
•          National Guard
•          Reserves

“It cannot just be about numbers. You want to be able to help and support students. If you have a good product at the end, that being the student, that goes out into society as a contributing factor then you promote the school in itself. That student becomes the face of the university,” Clawson said.

UNCP has been named a Military Friendly School by both Military Advanced Education and G.I. Jobs magazines for the past six years.

To make such lists requires meeting certain criteria that only 15 percent of schools nationwide meet.

By joining the campaign the school pledges to continue to work towards being a military friendly university. 

The Got Your 6 slogan is one tool Clawson is using to bring awareness while he tries to grow other resources that are needed.

He is working with the Veterans Task Force that is made up of a cross section of faculty, staff and administration representatives.

The VTF is overseen by Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ken Kitts.

Clawson credited Chancellor Kyle Carter along with Director of Community and Civic Engagement Aubrey Swett, who is also a member of the VTF, and many others with their efforts over the years to make UNCP a military friendly school.

Swett recommended engaging these fellow students in conversation that reaches beyond just their service background as another way to show your support. 

And show respect by accepting these students just like other non-traditional students.

“Conversations do not have to be associated with their military experiences. They have lives, families and are pursuing the same goals. They want to develop a professional career,” Swett said.    

Got Your 6 campaign uses the power of the entertainment industry and non-profit organizations that are veteran inspired.

For more information on the Got Your 6 Campaign visit www.gotyour6.org.

Military and Veteran Services Office is located in the D. F. Lowry building.

For more information on Student Veterans of America or to join the student organization visit www.uncp.edu/veterans/sva.htm

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