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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Veterans’ Center Holds Open House

The UMass Boston Veterans’ Student Union recently held it’s annual open house on October 3. The Veterans’ Student Union promotes greater awareness of veterans at UMB, supports and connects veterans on campus, and educates society about veterans’ experiences.

Joe Giuffre, one of two Veterans’ Student Union assistant coordinators, and an Army veteran and National Guard member, stated, “Both veterans and students who are not affiliated with the military in any way can participate in this organization. They can come to the center to use a computer, watch television, listen to music, or just hang out. It is basically a place where people can come to lounge and relax.”

Along with the Veterans’ Student Union coordinator, Shupavu Muumba, and the other assistant coordinator, Stacy Cordwell, Giuffre plans to involve the Union in the local community this year through participation in a flag ceremony at UMB on Veterans’ Day and in November, a “three day long stand-down” which helps homeless veterans and non-veterans in Boston. According to Giuffre, this local-government run program helped about 30,000 homeless people in Boston last year.

Giuffre said, “We provide them with medical and dental care, clothes, food, and shelter. I try to get veterans from each branch of service involved in this event.”

Another goal that Giuffre identified for the year is to “improve what the center has,” including flags and updated computers, perhaps through fund-raisers. He explained, “We do not receive any support or respect from this university,” citing as an example that when they ordered food for their open house, and were assured by the food service staff that they were aware of the Veterans’ Student Union’s location, the food was delivered to the adjacent student center instead. Then when the food arrived, it was not what he had ordered.

“I do not think that people at this school know who veterans are,” Giuffre remarked. “Hopefully this center will raise the community’s awareness of veterans so we get the respect we deserve. For example, Vietnam veterans think that since they have not been respected elsewhere, they will not get it here, so they don’t come to the center. We welcome everyone to raise awareness and support all veterans.”

In today’s tense national atmosphere, reservists at UMB especially need to feel that they are supported and respected. Giuffre opined, “Reservists may worry about being activated because after being released from an active duty status, they have settled back into being at home and now, if they are activated, they will be required to serve two years of overseas active duty, away from their families.”

One anonymous veteran in the center stated, “I do not really want to be called back to active duty from an inactive reserve status, but if I am, I will go willingly and am proud to serve my country.”

Another veteran believes, “I have to fulfill the commitment I made when I joined the military. If I have to go, it is my duty as an American. We all take our freedom for granted, sometimes we have to pay for it.”