While most National Honor Societies revolve around student commitment to community service, CSUâ€™s SALUTE inducts members who have already provided the highest service, not just to their community, but their entire country.
SALUTE stands for service, academics, leadership, unity, tribute, and excellence and is dedicated as an organization to the recognition of student veterans, active duty, National Guard, and Reserve members who have excelled in academics.
Ann Ingala, assistant director of Veteranâ€™s Services, said individuals accepted to SALUTE have more than completed this aspect through service in the armed forces. SALUTE also requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 to enter their lowest tier of membership.
â€œTheyâ€™ve distinguished themselves in service, a lot of them in the battlefield, now weâ€™re recognizing them in the classroom too,â€ said Ingala, an army veteran and former active duty army wife.
CSUâ€™s Office of Adult Learner and Veteran Services was awarded the American Council on Education/Wal-Mart Foundation Success for Veterans Grant to fund their innovative organization.
â€œWeâ€™ll always be the first and I think that speaks to our commitment to student veterans and military,â€ Ingala said.
So far, CSU has expanded to five other universities, and is seeing continued and growing interest in individual and charter membership, Ingala said.
Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, a charter member, was motivated by its more than 700 veteran students in their 23,000-student population said Jeff Grunow, chair of the universityâ€™s Emergency Care and Rescue Department
â€œMost of our students are older, married, have children, or work,â€ Grunow said. â€œWe felt we were not meeting the needs of our veterans.â€
Veterans tend to be portrayed as having problems or being broken, Ingala said. She wants to demonstrate through the institution of SALUTE that veterans are â€œintegral members of college and societyâ€ and should be highlighted for their achievements in higher education.
Tonight SALUTE will honor its first 12 inductees in the Adult Learner and Veteran Services Recognition Reception at 6:00pm in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
Staff Writer Allison Welter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org