MISSOULA – The University of Montana will celebrate student veterans and active military members with its annual Military Appreciation Week.
“It is our quest to be the most military-friendly university in the nation,” said UM President Seth Bodnar, an Army veteran and current member of the Montana Army National Guard. “Leading into Veterans Day, we will celebrate our student veterans and military-affiliated students for the contributions they bring to our campus. We encourage the community to join us at these events to learn more about these students and what UM is doing to serve those who served.”
The week kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 4, as the Grizzly football team takes on Sacramento State for the annual Military Appreciation Game. Prior to the game, the Montana Army National Guard will land a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter on the Oval at 3:30 p.m. Additionally on the Oval prior to the game, there will be military weapons and equipment on display, the UM ROTC Boom Crew will be on hand for pictures and the Grizzly Strong Club and Student Veterans Organization will conduct raffles.
“Prior to tailgating, we encourage Griz fans to swing by the Oval to support our ROTC cadets and student veterans,” said Tracy Mitchell, scholarship and enrollment officer with the UM Department of Military Science. “As the number of student veterans continues to grow on our campus, we are eager to host these events to build a strong connection between our ROTC cadets and student veterans and the entire Missoula community.”
In conjunction with Military Appreciation Week, UM will launch a jointly branded merchandise line with Operation Hat Trick – with a portion of the proceeds of each sale supporting veterans’ organizations.
Earlier this year, UM was awarded the 2023 Operation Hat Trick (OHT) Excellence in Service Award for its work to promote the OHT merchandise line. In return, Operation Hat Trick donated $20,000 to Xsports4vets, a Montana-based nonprofit organization that serves combat veterans by expanding access to river boarding, rock climbing, trike flying, skydiving, rafting and other outdoor activities.
Jointly branded Griz and Operation Hat Trick merchandise is available at the M Store, Universal Athletics and the on-campus Go Griz Store – formerly the UM Bookstore.
Other events for the week include:
- Coffee, Cookies and Conversation: 8 to 10 a.m., Nov. 6 and 8, University Center Atrium. This event will include two “Why, How and Where Griz Serve” events to showcase UM’s commitment to service in all categories – military, local and national. Stop by and put a pin on the Griz veterans’ map.
- Warrior Walk: 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the M trailhead. UM student veterans and ROTC cadets will hike the M Trail together.
- Military Appreciation Griz Hockey Game: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Glacier Ice Rink. Student-athletes will wear limited edition military appreciation jerseys that are up for auction.
This fall, UM has 384 student veterans enrolled, which is a 19% increase over fall 2022. Since 2021, student veteran enrollment has increased at UM by 24%.
Contact: Tracy Mitchell, UM Department of Military Science, 406-370-0450, firstname.lastname@example.org.