Stephen Mancini – Staff Writer
During the last day of the Autumn Leaf Festival, the Clarion University Student Veteran Association (SVA) chapter plans to volunteer by helping with curbside cleanup on Oct. 8. They will be walking throughout Main Street during the day policing all trash and ensuring it finds its way into the appropriate receptacle.
Chapter President Samuel Richardson said, “This year has been the greatest turnout as far members go. In comparison the previous years, we have never had these many members, and now that we have the numbers I want to make sure we are doing all we can to help the community and our veterans.”
Along with the cleanup, the SVA will be promoting its 22-a-day Pushup Challenge. It is a challenge that encourages people who are physically able to do twenty-two push-ups. They do this in recognition of the daily estimated twenty-two service members who commit suicide.
So far, the challenge has been a success for SVA since its start in September. They have recorded themselves doing push-ups in a joint effort, reaching out to local and on-campus organizations. After uploading on their social media page, these videos have now received thousands of views, some as upwards as twelve-thousand.
SVA member David McKnight III said, “I know someone that has taken their own life, unfortunately. This event is important to us because it allows us to help the community and help raise awareness and between cleaning up and the pushups we hope people will recognize and support us as we continue to grow.”
Last year, the SVA struggled with its membership, now they have 33 active members that are comprised of not only students who are currently active-duty or prior-service members, but also military dependents, their spouses and Clarion ROTC.
Haley Holzwarth is a member of the SVA and recognizes that the 22-a-day Pushup Challenge is not something new, but it is however new to Clarion. “I think what has really brought attention to the club was this challenge the beginning of last year. Given that many students on campus and across the entire town witnessed it or had been involved brought attention to the SVA and gave people something to strive towards,” said Holzwarth.