Students organize Patriotic Unity Rally on campus
As a way to unite the campus of Saint Joseph’s University, students organized a rally in support of the troops and the country.
The SJU Patriotic Unity Rally was held on Feb. 14 outside of the Chapel of Saint Joseph. The event included food, music, and a speech from the keynote speaker Ralph Galati, ’70, director of Veterans services.
“We know the campus is so divided politically, we just wanted to have a meeting as Americans rather than who is a democrat and who is a republican,” said Angelo Pizza, ’18, one of the organizers of the rally.
Andrew Schallenhammer, ’18, another organizer of the event, said that his hope for the rally is to bring the campus together, regardless of which politicians they support.
Galati, an Air Force veteran, hoped the rally would raise the awareness of the services that are available to veterans from the Office of Veterans Services.
“Anything that could help with awareness of the issues of military and veterans is always good and not just for the community, not just for the average citizen, but also with the hope that it might encourage some of our student veterans to come forward a little bit and help them gain any services that they might need or help with their transition,” Galati said. “And I want to continue to make St. Joe’s a veteran friendly campus to help attract more veterans to come here to St. Joe’s.”
Galati also explained that he wanted to make sure everybody in the St. Joe’s community understands what the Office of Veterans Services does so that they can serve the community better.
In addition to creating support and raising awareness for veterans, the organizers of the event are also accepting for donations for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We wanted to donate to the Wounded Warrior project because they are one of the most reputable and well known charities that supports the heroes that make our quality of life possible,” Pizza said. “We wanted our gathering to pay respect to and support those who have given up so much in fighting for our country.”
As of Feb. 14, $540 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I am always appreciative of the student population doing things on behalf of our veterans and military,” Galati said.
Pizza said that he sees the rally as a step in the right direction for the campus.
“Many people have come to put politics before everything else, it is important to remember that we are united as Americans,” Pizza said. “Additionally, we have come to see a negative light cast on patriotism and love for our country. This is unacceptable. We hope this rally will serve to chip away at this negative connotation.”