Second annual fundraiser for UI student veterans takes place Saturday

Sponsors from around the Iowa City area are coming together Saturday, March 4 for an evening to support University of Iowa student veterans at the Iowa City VFW Post 3949 (609 Hollywood Blvd #2). This is the fundraiser’s second year.

In proper Heartland fashion, the evening will kick off at 5 p.m. with a dinner serving beer, pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans. Following dessert, local roots band HomeBrewed will lay down the boogie until the clock strikes 8:30 p.m. Various prizes will be auctioned and raffled throughout the night.

Fundraiser for Student Veterans at the University of Iowa

Iowa City VFW Post 3949 — Saturday, March 4 at 5 p.m.

“The primary mission of our band is to give back to the community” said Pete Damiano, who sings and plays harmonica in HomeBrewed. He is also the director of the UI Public Policy Center. Last year his band helped raise $4,000 at the first annual fundraiser.

Money raised from the evening will help fund new infrastructure for student veterans at the university. For the next year, student veterans are able to use a dedicated room in the old communications building while the search for a permanent space for them continues. But the proposed new learning center will guarantee access to computers, printers and projectors as well as a study space for the 1,500 veterans enrolled at the University of Iowa.

Iowa City VFW Post 3949 hosts a fundraiser for UI student veterans on Saturday, March 4. — photo by Zak Neumann

That number doubled this year from last. Part of the increase may attributed to an incentive program that allows out-of-state veterans to attend Iowa universities at in-state tuition. 219,006 Iowans are veterans, according to Veterans Data Central. That means just shy of ten percent of the state’s adult population is comprised of veterans — roughly three percent higher than the national percentage.

“Many student veterans are nontraditional students,” Damiano said, “So they have other parts of their lives — families — that they have to focus on as well on top of tuition.” Due to thin budgets in veterans’ programs at the school, he said, fundraisers like this alleviate financial pressures for student veterans.

The Iowa City and Riverside VFWs came together to put on the event with the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment: Military and Veteran Student Services, UI College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC and UI Public Policy Center. Tickets are $15 to the public, $10 for students, which include dinner and entertainment.