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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

Student Veterans of America Brighten Holidays for Area Families

By Sarah Uzzi G’21

On Friday, December 6, 2019, you’ll see a five-ton truck in the Lima Hall commuter parking lot surrounded by veteran students challenging the Saint Rose community to “stuff the truck” with gift donations for families that can’t afford holiday gifts. And you’re invited to contribute a gift of your own!

It’s a toy drive spearheaded by the Student Veterans of America, which has had a chapter at Saint Rose since 2013. An organization that welcomes all student veterans and veteran friends of the school, this club is a great opportunity for veterans to come together, participate in fun activities, and share in the type of camaraderie they experienced while in the service.

Breanna Sisson ‘20 (shown with her three-year-old son, Ryker) is the SVA chapter president at Saint Rose. A former Petty Officer Third Class with the U.S. Navy, Sisson started at Saint Rose in 2016, majoring in human resource management. Her vice president, Giovani Saldana ’21, is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, as well as Sisson’s good friend.

We asked President Sisson to talk a little about the SVA’s activities, and share thoughts about her experience as a military veteran at Saint Rose.


Toys for Tots toy drive

What activities is the SVA hosting this holiday season?

Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The program was founded in 1947 by Reservist Major Bill Hendricks.

We have set Toys for Tots boxes at several locations throughout the Saint Rose campus. Anyone who would like to donate can put unopened gifts in these boxes.


What’s this about a truck?

Our biggest event is Stuff the Truck on December 6: From 9 until 4, in the Lima Hall commuter parking lot, we will have a five-ton truck with several volunteers from the Veterans Center stationed around it. We’re inviting people to bring their unopened donations to fill the truck.

We need all hands on deck for this event. We hope that, at this time of year, people are out there thinking about kids and families who are less fortunate than themselves. Please consider donating a gift!


What other some other activities you’ve been involved in?

We held a Friendsgiving at the Veteran Center at the Veterans Center on campus, where we brought all of the veterans who are a part of this establishment together. It is for us to just spend time with our friends and family at the school and getting to know one another a little bit better.

We have used our fundraising money to buy small gifts for some of the individuals here that we will either raffle or give a couple of gift cards to help with buying their families gifts. The holidays can be a stressful time for all of us; being a single mother, I know the struggle the most. We want to give back to the people who make this place the warm and comforting place it is.


What do you want people to know about your organization that they may not know?

We just want people to know the Student Veteran Association members here at Saint Rose are very hard workers and love to help their community in any way possible. We would love to have more individuals interested in being a part of the events and day-to-day activities that take place here at the Veterans Center on campus.


How are you enjoying your time at Saint Rose?

I am enjoying my time at Saint Rose. I have since the day I got accepted and started classes. The Veterans Center has helped with the majority of my happiness. It gives me the resources and friendly environment that many veterans look for and desire. It is people who have experienced many life challenges the same as me, and also have been out in the real world. So, I love Saint Rose and the fact that they work hard to make it an accommodating environment for us vets.

What do you think?

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