Veterans serve Colorado State University community

Seth Bodine

In spring 2015, there were a total of 1,261 veterans enrolled, with 850 on campus and the remainder in online courses.

Team Rubicon, a nonprofit disaster response organization comprised of veterans and first responders, allows veterans to give back to the community. It was founded in 2010 after a few Marines went to help with the earthquake in Haiti.


“One of the big things about serving in the military (is that) you learn, and you like being something bigger than yourself and giving back, and that’s what Team Rubicon does,” Director of Adult Learner and Veteran Services Jenny Pickett said.

CSU alumnus Luke Adler and Jason Sydoriak, an economics and political science major, joined Team Rubicon for flood relief.

“We inherently believe in public service, and when you leave the service, you understand that’s not the end of service,” Sydoriak said. “And that’s why I continue a lot of community volunteering, to know that this is ingrained in us as Coloradans, as Americans, that we inherently want to give back to each other.”

One of Team Rubicon’s most recent service projects in Fort Collins was filling sandbags at Lincoln Middle School.  This began when two sixth graders spoke with Adler while he was student teaching geography at the school and told him that they wanted to give back to the community.

Photo by: Hannah Beckwith.
Photo by: Hannah Beckwith.

After organizing the event with the city and the school district, fifth through eighth graders helped the veterans fill sandbags. The sandbags will go to to the City of Fort Collins for the purpose for future flood relief. Around 3,000 sandbags were filled, according to Adler.

“I’m absolutely amazed about how enthusiastic these kids were,” Sydoriak said. “They really enjoyed themselves, and how hard working they were. It’s also great to have CSU veterans to be a part of it.”

The best part of the project was seeing the kids so enthusiastic about the project, according to Adler.

“You have like, way more kids who don’t have as much and don’t get as much recognition,” Adler said. “It’s just great to see them really happy and caring about that, and being proud that they are making a difference.”

For many veterans, the transition to college may be difficult.

“A lot of military people are searching for something,” Adler said. “Especially if you go overseas and fight, you go from an intense life-or-death to college. It gives us something to do. I feel like we are contributing to something again.”


Collegian Reporter Seth Bodine can be reached online at or on Twitter at @sbodine120.