Each Veterans Day, November 11th—the University of West Georgia in conjunction with the Student Veteran’s Association and the Counseling and Career Development Center take part in Remembrance Day National Roll Call. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with a pre-ceremony with the reading of the names beginning at 9:30 a.m. in front of the UCC at the fountain.
During the event, over 70 colleges and universities across the nation will read the names of military men and women who died during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF)—also called Operation New Dawn.
Each campus that participates in the event organizes its own reading of the names and observes at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST through a simultaneous nationwide minute of silence. In addition to the events’ composition the past three years, the roll call will set aside a time frame for students at UWG to add names of UWG students, faculty or staff of who they know served in the military or either currently are a living or deceased veteran.
Donjanea Williams, the Assistant Director of Outreach and Programming for the university’s Counseling & Career Development Services along with Dr. Keim, an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and College Student Affairs for the university’s College of Education have spearheaded the event for the past three years.
Both Williams and Keim mention that the process for hosting the event takes approximately two months prior to the actual day of the event. During this process, Williams and Keim have to register the university within the registry.
The event only takes two requirements to participate in the National Roll Call. First, the university or school must participate in a nationwide simultaneous “minute of silence” at 11:00 a.m. pacific standard time on Monday, November 11th. The second requirement is that the university or school must conduct a roll call of names, which is determined by an internal committee at the university or school. During the roll call, names of those living or deceased, of any or all branches of service, and as many names as the institution wishes to call. The decision of the structure, duration, and the setting of the ceremony is determined by the school.
This year, UWG decided to take a different structure of the event. This year the roll call will allow time to read the names of anyone that UWG students, faculty or staff know who have served in the military either currently or are living or a deceased veteran.
Nationally the event takes eight hours to complete because readers announce names in chronological order. For the UWG event it will only take four hours. The names will be narrowed to the southern region and will include the states of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky and Virginia.
This year, UWG is one out of 7 schools from the state of Georgia participating in the event. Other schools from Georgia participating this year—Clayton State University, College of Coastal Georgia, Gordon State College, Gwinnett Technical College, University of North Georgia, and Valdosta State University.
Keim, an army veteran himself feels that having events such as the Remembrance Day National Roll Call helps to bring awareness of veteran support for the university and the community.
He states that for him on a personal level the importance of outreach for veterans is important.
“Having been a veteran it has really been a part of outreach for me trying to help other veterans communicate and contact one another just to know that there are other veterans here on campus to support on another,” said Keim.
Keim states that integrating into the college campus environment for veterans can be a challenging experience after serving the country.
“To try to help them become apart of the campus environment just to get a sense that they belong here.”
“It is more difficult because veterans often times are mission focused coming in.”
The Student Veterans Association is a registered student organization on the campus of UWG that provides a social group and support structure to help veterans adjust to both the civilian and college life.
The Counseling & Career Development Center provide support and counseling services for veterans in their office, located in Row Hall. For more information about the services offered on campus, please call the office at 678-839-6428.