USU pledges support to military members
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 10:11
Utah State University became the first university to formally pledge support to military service members and their families when it signed a community covenant with the military Nov. 3 during halftime of the USU-Texas State football game.
The agreement has many possibilities for USU and service members around the state, according to Brian Higginbotham, USU Family Life Extension specialist. Higginbotham moved the effort forward with the extension to have USU sign the community covenant.
“Typically it’s municipalities that enter into community covenants,” Higginbotham said. “Utah State got involved because our outreach mission began as a land grant university is being mindful and serving everyone in our state. So, we look at our populus as a community.”
Higginbotham said service members and their families around the state can benefit from the resources already in place through USU’s extensions, such as family strengthening classes at Hill Air Force Base and 4-H programs for children of military families.
The extension will provide live video broadcasts of the annual community forces meeting when representatives of the communities that signed covenants meet every year, according to Capt. Earl Simmons of the Utah National Guard.
“We’re really excited for that,” Simmons said. “That meeting in the past has been held in Salt Lake County and it’s been harder for some to reach it. We can now get those in Blanding, St. George, Box Elder and make it more accessible.”
Simmons said though the extensions, attendees of this meeting will be able to interact at the meetings or view a recording of it later.
“What we’re trying to do is educate community leaders on the challenges veterans have and help them help make life easier for veterans,” Simmons said.
As part of the community covenant, each municipality — as well as the university — appoints a person to be the military liaison. Simmons said it can be challenging for a veteran to gain access to programs they are entitled to, whether it be educational or health services, and having that person there can help.