Students and supporters will be raising money for veterans on the back nine on Saturday.
Campus veteran organizations will host a golf tournament for the fourth year in a row to raise funds for veteran programs and scholarships.
The event, held by the VETS office, the VETS Club and the UA Alumni Association Veterans Alumni Club, will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Hilton El Conquistador Country Club and will end with an awards dinner recognizing the winners. Typically, the tournament raises between $3,000 and $6,000 each year, which helps fund veterans’ organizations, among other things.
“Without the fundraising that we hold, we wouldn’t be able to continue some of the activities and programs that we have,” said Natasha Crawford, chair of the UAAA Veterans Alumni Club. “We encourage everybody to just come out.”
There are already about 20 teams signed up for the tournament, a mix of veterans and non-veterans. A four-person team pays a $300 entry fee, and individual players pay $85 to compete.
For some veterans, the funds provided through the tournament will help them with education costs. A number of students use post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to pay for tuition, but some are unaware the benefits only last up to 36 months, said Cody Nicholls, assistant dean of the VETS center.
Because not all students graduate in that time period, some are left facing high costs to complete their degree requirements.
“That clock is ticking when you’re enrolled and using those benefits,” Nicholls said. “What some of this money goes to is to help those students who run out of educational benefits.”
Nicholls said that organizers hope to raise awareness about the limitations of the GI Bill, as well as issues that veterans face every day.
Ricardo Pereyda, a former UA student who has attended the event before, is planning to volunteer at the tournament this weekend. Pereyda said it provides veterans with necessary financial assistance and a much-needed rest.
“It allows the student vets to take a break toward the end of the semester,” Pereyda said. “It also highlights the support from the community and the university for our veterans on campus.”
In addition to the awards dinner, a raffle and a silent auction will also be held to raise funds. The tournament is intended to not only bring veterans together, but also to increase outreach to the community at large.
“This is our way of reaching out to the Tucson community,” Crawford said, “and just letting them know they can reach out to new people and build friendships with other vets and support people.”