Dodge, duck, dip, dive and donate

Feb. 17, 16 students from UW Tacoma and Tacoma Commu­nity College played almost two hours of dodgeball to support the 2018 Pacific Northwest Student Veterans Regional Conference. The conference will take place on the UWT campus April 19–21. The UWT Student Vet­eran Organization — the organization behind the fundraising effort — has raised $280 so far, but hopes to reach a goal closer to $800.

The Veteran Organization set out to bring people together in a way that was nothing too serious, according to president Chris Burd.

“It is the first chance for us to show what we can do as veteran commu­nity on our campus, try to affect some good and to help out our fellow vets across the region,” Burd said.

Eric Ballentine, director of com­munity service for the Veteran Orga­nization and veteran corps navigator for the Veteran and Military Resource center, thinks that an event like this is fitting for this group.

“As veterans, we like to take on new ways of doing things. There’s a few sports that we play in the military, dodgeball is one of them. It’s probably the safest sport that they’ll allow us to play on campus,” Ballentine said. “It is really about having fun, getting people to come out and interact with each other.”

UWT’s Veteran Organization is a chapter of the larger nonprofit Student Veterans of America. Within the Northwest — and the Puget Sound in particular — there is a large military population, so Student Veterans efforts have been focused on connecting cam­puses and student veteran associations together, according to Ballentine.

“We are really trying to bring our region together and to make a stron­ger push for better education, better benefits and better supportive ser­vices for veterans,” Ballentine said.

Thomas Di Giorgio, who serves as the current president of the Student Veterans of Tacoma Community Col­lege and plans to transfer to UWT next fall, agrees with Ballentine on the im­portance of organizations from differ­ent schools connecting.

“[Events hosted by student veteran organizations] shows schools the value in these effective programs and bridges connections,” said Di Giorgio.

He also expressed how grateful he is that organizations like Student Vet­erans of America exist because it al­lows veterans to be connected to one another as well as resources they need to succeed and the community at large.

Di Giorgio feels that working with a student veterans club has been an amazing experience, despite these clubs receiving little media coverage.

“We don’t do it for publicity, we do it for the community,” said Di Giorgio.

The dodgeball game is the first in a series of events that will help the Veteran Organization raise money. The next event will take place Feb. 27 at MOD Pizza in Lakewood, which will not only support the 2018 confer­ence, but also help fund stoles for graduating veterans. Incoming mon­etary gifts to UWT’s Veteran Incuba­tor Better Entrepreneurship Fund are also bringing the Veteran Organiza­tion closer to their goal of $800.


To donate to the UWT Veterans Incubator
Better Entrepreneurship Fund, go to


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