There’s nothing like food in a room full of students to stimulate a good discussion. Fortunately both were in abundance at the Powered By Pizza discussion held on Wednesday of last week.
The group discussion focused on current issues veterans are facing in the U.S. in relation to health care and treatment. The discussion was put on by the American Democracy Project (ADP) at Weber State and was led by Charlie Chandler, the WSU Veterans Services coordinator.
To start off the discussion, Chandler first described what life is like for veterans who are about to return home. Chandler spoke about the huge amount of information veterans are presented with prior to returning home.
“They are given a lot of information and expected to absorb it all, which can be difficult when finally returning home is the only thing on their minds,” Chandler said.
Chandler mentioned that veterans are told they should seek treatment for any war-related injuries within a year of returning home.
The conversation picked up and students began to ask questions concerning the health care received by veterans. A question about the number of doctors available to veterans sparked a lively discussion about what it takes to get more doctors and why, even though the money is available, there still aren’t enough being hired.
“Despite the money being available to hire, doctors cannot be forced to go into the Veterans Affairs system,” Chandler said.
Marissa Questereit, the WSUSA leadership vice president, was among those attending the discussion.
“It’s important for students to be engaged and to care about these current issues. Veterans do so much for our country and students need to remember that,” Questereit said.
India Nielsen, the director of the ADP, also commented on the importance of students being involved with these discussions.
“It’s important for students to get involved with the American Democracy Project and our events because civic engagement is a necessary component of higher education,” Nielsen said. “Many students aren’t aware of current issues, and the ADP helps not only inform students, but also engage us in the issue. The ADP helps give students a sense of pride in Weber State and in our community at large.”
The discussion ended with a response from Chandler to questions about what students can be doing locally to help veterans. Chandler talked with students about the necessity for a walk-in clinic to treat those veterans returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Chandler said a clinic is not currently available to veterans in Ogden yet and that he believed one would be a great addition to the city. Chandler is willing to get students involved in making this clinic a reality.
Students interested in getting involved with these discussions, or with helping Charlie Chandler with a bill to get a PTSD walk-in clinic in Ogden, can contact India Nielsen. Nielsen’s contact details, and more information on ADP, can be found online at www.weber.edu/leadership/adp.