Mary Posani / Lantern reporter
Undergraduate Student Government and Vets 4 Vets, a student social network for military veterans on campus, hosted a Veteran’s Day celebration and open dialogue about foreign policy at the Ohio Union Thursday afternoon.
The event was sponsored by Vets 4 Vets and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a national network of businesses, national security and foreign policy experts, and academic leaders who support diplomacy.
Student veterans, ROTC members, local veterans and students were invited to join in a reception in the West Union Ballroom. About 40 people attended the event.
USG President Nick Messenger said he wanted to use this event to acknowledge our student veterans and student members of the military.
“We want to take a moment out of our time and celebrate the students we have on campus who are veterans and the ROTC members and future military members and officers we have here on campus,” Messenger said. “We also want to acknowledge local veterans and community members and alumni just kind of in a celebration.”
The reception hosted a panel discussion about the importance and use of smart power, the use of non-military means to achieve national objective, retired Air Force Col. Frank Titus said.
“It’s the effort to use diplomacy and economic development to resolve international conflict to minimize the need to use military force,” Titus said.
Panel discussion had Army Maj. Gen. James Kelly, Vets 4 Vets co-president, army veteran Anna Rice, and navy veteran Angela King with Titus as moderator.
Rice, a current OSU student, was deployed in 2005. During her time serving, she has become a supporter for smart power.
“Dealing with the conflicts we are dealing with, we are not fighting the entire country, we are not fighting the people,” said Rice, a fifth-year in psychology. “We must work with the people to gain support to push out the terrorists and push out the insurgents. There is a lot that can be accomplished by building strong relationships and helping out these countries that need our support and our help.”
After the panel, the discussion opened to the crowd to ask questions and provide feedback about smart power and its use on foreign policy. Panelists agree that the reception was positive and enjoyed the discussion.
“I was so pleased to see a mixture of people here,” Titus said. “You had people of different ranks and people of the different armed forces represented here.”
Student panelists Rice and King were also pleased with the feedback from the crowd. King said the reception was an excellent way to promote smart power.
“I thought it was very productive and important to educate people on the subject,” said King, a third-year in health sciences. “We want to recruit other veterans to join the force and support our elected representatives to making something like this happen on Capitol Hill.”
As Vets 4 Vets and USGLC passed on the importance of smart power, the reception also honored veterans and those who are currently serving in the military. Messenger said students should remember the importance of Veteran’s Day.
“I think it’s just a moment we can take a time out and reflect on the people serving the country and all the things that they do for us,” Messenger said. “It’s not just a day you can take off class. I don’t think we are always appreciative as we should be.”