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President's Corner: November 2017

This month, Old Dominion University reaffirms its commitment to service in many forms.

With one-quarter of our students affiliated in some way with the military, Old Dominion takes seriously its responsibility to honor the nation's veterans.

Last Thursday, we commemorated Veterans Day in a ceremony on Kaufman Mall featuring remarks from Rear Adm. Jessie A. Wilson Jr., commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic, and one of our students, Sgt. William Reckley, who will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines when he graduates.

As usual, we scheduled the observance to coincide with Activity Hour, so that those who wanted to attend would have no conflict with classes.

Old Dominion also has played a leadership role in a veteran-related event this week - a forum, titled "Emerging Talks: Cloaked in Invisibility," in which women in the military will share their experiences. It will start at 7 p.m., Wednesday Nov. 15, at the Hugh R. Copeland Center in downtown Norfolk, and the public is welcome. The event is sponsored by WHRO's Emerging Leaders Board, five of whose board members are Old Dominion employees.

On Thursday, the VA's Mobile Vet Center will be on Kaufman Mall, providing information on counseling services to veterans and military-affiliated families.

The University promotes other types of service, as well, and the spirit of Thanksgiving has influenced activities throughout the month.

During Homecoming Weekend, the Latino Student Association partnered with Student Engagement and Enrollment Services to collect donations such as blankets, shoes, socks and toiletries to assist in the Hurricane Maria relief effort in Puerto Rico. Students spearheaded similar drives after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

In another ongoing initiative, students volunteer to help other members of the Monarch family. IGNITENorfolk, a campus ministry on 49th Street, twice a week opens a pantry providing nonperishable food items, from canned meat to pasta, to ODU students and employees who need help rounding out their meals. Last year, it provided more than 1,500 meals to 400 people. This month, the pantry plans to provide turkeys for the holiday. IGNITENorfolk also sponsors weekly student visits to mentor youngsters at Park Place School.

Other student service activities this month have included assembling recovery kits for sexual assault victims for the Fear 2 Freedom organization and, fittingly, visiting the LINK of Hampton Roads Veterans Emergency Shelter to paint parts of the building.

Our staff also gives back. The University's Hourly and Classified Employees Association is in the midst of its annual Thanksgiving food drive.

Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." At Old Dominion, our students are living that life every day.

IGNITE Pantry welcomes donated food, particularly grains and canned fruit, and financial contributions. For more information, go to ignitenorfolk.org/give or email info@ignitenorfolk.org

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