Little St. Nick Foundation Promotes Veterans’ Needs With Veterans Day Carnival

By Lisa Striffolino

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the UT chapter of the Little St. Nick Foundation (LSNF) hosted a Veteran’s Day Carnival in an effort to bring awareness and show support for veterans as well as for LSNF.

Jenna Fiorello, President of UT LSNF, said that the planning process for the carnival has taken months, and that she wanted to create this event to bring some patriotism to UT as well as to educate students about veterans’ needs.

“There are around 300 veterans at UT currently,” said Fiorello, senior human performance major. “It breaks my heart to see veterans on the street who have fought wars, veteran suicide recorded rates jumping from 22 to 44 a day, and difficulty transitioning back into civilian life due to post-traumatic stress (PTS). I wanted to make an event to not only honor veterans but to support them where they need it.” 

The event, hosted at Pepin Stadium, featured a slew of games and activities including a mechanical bull, military challenges, carnival games, and get-well card making for children in hospitals. Live music was played at the carnival and there were free t-shirts and cotton candy given out to anyone who attended.

Students recognized all of the good that the carnival was doing, not only through the excitement of different activities, but through an understanding of the meaning behind the event as well.

“I am really excited about the carnival games and live music being performed at the event,” said Grace Attig, senior advertising and public relations major. “I also think it’s really cool to see all of the organizations come together for a really great cause. I feel like this event gives students the chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and I’m excited for more people to see all of the good that LSNF is doing.”

There were 12 different non-profit organizations at the carnival that support veteran needs in different ways. These included some large organizations such as Til Valhalla Project which came to support suicide prevention, as well as the others that were there to educate on subjects like PTS, Military to civilian transition, and housing. Other organizations featured at the event included Apex Gym, Guide Dog Foundation, and ROTC.

ROTC member, Kelly Klimek, is honored that ROTC was given the opportunity to volunteer at the event.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for ROTC to reach out on campus and support other organizations,” said Klimek, senior forensic science major. “ROTC puts a huge emphasis on community service and helping out whenever we can. I don’t think people realize that there is actually a large veteran population on college campuses, so it’s great to bring awareness to their service and provide something that recognizes the sacrifices they and their families have made.”

Fiorello said that her goal with this event was for it to be fun as well as impactful.

“I would love to help someone who needs it through this event and make it a yearly tradition at UT,” said Fiorello.

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