AU Vets holds charity event for homeless veterans
The All-American Showdown will take place on the quad today at 4 p.m.
Various AU clubs and organizations will go head-to-head today in AU Vets’ All-American Showdown on the quad.
Each team will face a series of military-inspired challenges that test physical strength, mental stability and team spirit. These challenges encompass a wide range of physical capabilities. AU Vets’ Facebook event lists bear crawls, farmer’s carries, planks and push-ups, among other exercise challenges.
Eight teams of four that are divided into men's and women's divisions will compete to get their name on a plaque outside of the Veterans’ Lounge in Asbury Hall.
All proceeds go to charities to help homeless veterans in the D.C. area, according to the event page.
The organizers however are trying to remain vague when describing the specific activities included in the event, School of Public Affairs graduate student, veteran and host Greg Schaefer said.
“No matter what job you’re in within the military, there’s always an element of uncertainty,” Schaefer said. “Our reason for vagueness regarding the events was to add uncertainty to the event.”
Aside from these physical challenges, there will also be challenges regarding spirit and mental strength.
“We’re asking all the teams to dress up as patriotic as possible. Whoever is the most patriotic will have a substantial advantage,” Schaefer said.
Initially, AU Vets’ reached out to Greek life for participation, since they thought the exclusivity of the event would be appealing, according to Schaefer. After experiencing a lack of response, they expanded inclusion to all organizations at AU. Among these participating organizations are Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Lambda Chi Alpha, the men’s rugby team and Army ROTC, Sergio Morales, a veteran and another host of the event, said.
“From day one, the purpose of the event was to try to integrate student veterans into the student population,” Schaefer said. “We wanted to bring all organizations together, and give them a little taste of our experience.”
AU Vets are working with the D.C. Mayor’s Office to select a charity to dedicate its proceeds to. It is looking for organizations that send 90 percent or more or their money to a homeless veterans’ transition shelter.
AU Vets are already setting the date for next year’s All-American Showdown, slated for Veterans Day on Nov. 11, 2017. The group is working with the Student Activities office to create an even larger event, with 32 or 64 teams, Schaefer said.
AU Vets’ created this event in attempts to be recognized by the community. By constructing an event that brings many student organizations together, AU Vets’ hoped to promote their own inclusion and bring awareness to their presence on campus.
“The veterans community is a marginalized group at AU. People don’t know we exist,” Morales said. “Staff doesn’t even know that we have a lounge. We want to strengthen relationships with Greek life, and raise awareness to veterans’ presence on campus.”
AU Vets is made up of 400 GI Bill recipients at AU. Ninety are veterans and 310 are dependents or spouses of veterans. These people and their voices often go unheard at AU, Schaefer said. AU Vets want to integrate themselves into the community, as they are often forgotten.
“If you know a veteran in your life, you know that they bring a different knowledge base and outlook on life,” Schaefer said. “Through this event, the organizations are going to realize how much value AU Vets have in the community.”