CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University’s Military Service Organization (MSO) recently celebrated its one-year anniversary of creating connections with veterans, elected officials, and representatives from the Veterans Administration.
Professional pharmacy student Ankit Pandav formed MSO in 2017 after seeing a disconnect between veteran students with other students attending college right after high school.
“The transition is hard; we feel very out of place” Pandav said. “In the military, we have the mentality of taking care of the guy next to us at all times. At school, it’s a completely different lifestyle. The community at Cedarville is a great thing for veterans; we just need to extend it to meet them where they are.”
MSO has grown to 20 students who meet to encourage each other and serve the community. They take regular trips to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dayton to minister to the veterans there and aid the homeless community that surrounds the center. MSO hopes this will become a platform to support and serve veterans statewide.
In early February, MSO had its first election and elected Drew Adams, a second-year professional pharmacy student from Kentucky, as its president. Adams has served with the Columbus infantry as part of the Marine Corps Reserve since 2016.
“We’re currently trying to grow MSO and connect more of the military personnel from Cedarville to our group,” Adams said. “The military is a huge part of a veteran’s identity and at Cedarville, you tend to lose that connection. We want to rebuild that unity with other veterans on campus.”
Both Adams and Pandav were invited to the Ohio Statehouse for the annual Veterans Caucus in December 2017 to participate in discussions about the needs of veterans in Greene County and how to support them through pharmacy practices. They attended with three other representatives from the Veterans Outreach Committee, a part of Cedarville’s chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA).
Cedarville University’s School of Pharmacy was the only pharmacy school represented at the event and The Ohio State University was the only other school with a campus military organization at the event.
“One goal in attending the caucus was to learn,” Pandav said. “We also wanted to represent the Cedarville school of pharmacy to show how a pharmacy school can support veterans. We just need to see the needs and learn how to meet them.”