Clarion Student Veterans Association exercises for a cause

Victoria Mikita – Staff Writer

Statistics show that 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Clarion University is bringing awareness to this statistic to campus and the community by participating in the “22 Pushup Challenge.”

The 22 Pushup Challenge involves a group or organization congregating to complete 22 pushups in a row, and then posting a video of the challenge on a social media outlet.

One of Clarion University’s newly recognized student organizations, the Student Veterans Association, helped to kick-off the 22 Pushup Challenge on campus by posting videos on its Facebook page.

Student Veteran Association member, Samuel Richardson, brought the idea to his organization. “A few years ago, I saw California University of Pennsylvania’s ROTC program doing the challenge, and we had recently created the Student Veterans Association, so I brought up the idea of doing it as well,” said Richardson.

There are 22 days of videos for the movement, and a number of other campus organizations at Clarion have participated in the challenge, including but not limited to, the women’s basketball team, the football team, Phi Delta Theta, Kappa Kappa Psi and the Hip Hop Dance team.The Student Veterans Association reaches out to other groups on the days its own members may not be available to participate.

They also teamed up with the Clarion Area football team for a video during its challenge. Following that, the Clarion Area football team paired up with St. Mary’s for a 23rd video, which may lead to its groups participating in the challenge for another 22 days.

Videos of the challenge, many of them reaching up to 2,000 views thus far,  can be viewed on The Student Veterans Association’s Facebook page.

“I have been fortunate enough to be almost four and a half years in and to not have had to deal with a loss of any of my army friends, and I would never want to, but I know that there are people out there who have. The line of work is rough, so to me the challenge is a way of giving back. I have personally never been deployed, so this is a way for me to really get involved and make a difference in the military whether or not I go defend our country overseas, I can help the boys back home,” said Richardson.

As a newer student organization, the 22 Pushup Challenge was beneficial for the Student Veterans Association as well. This challenge is not only meaningful to members who are a part of the organization that have their own loved ones who are veterans, but it is also a valuable outreach and recruitment tool.

Richardson shared that he has taken the 22 Pushup Challenge and done something a little differently with it. On the 22nd of each month, he takes time out of his day to check up on friends, old and new via text, and ask them how they are doing.

If you group or organization participates in the 22 pushup challenge, hashtag “22PushUps” or #22Kill to make your video go viral and spread awareness to veteran suicide.

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