Student Veteran Honored for Community Service Work
September 5, 2012 – Colby Howard (F’12, G’13), who completed two tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom, won a 2012 Landegger Community Service Award for his work with the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association (GUSVA).
The organization supports student veterans through advocacy, fellowship and dialogue with the student body, faculty and university leaders.
Howard, who will graduate with a master’s in security studies next May, says he couldn’t have managed the group without his fellow members.
The Landegger Community Service Awards commemorate the memory of the late Lena Landegger by honoring students committed to serving others with a grant for $2,500.
“I had an awesome team of student veterans with me that did just as much every single step of the way,” says Howard, who was GUSVA president during the 2011-2012 academic year. “Communications, the marketing aspects, even just the academic programming throughout the year. Everybody.”
This academic year, Howard is GUSVA’s director of alumni relations, and he hopes to strengthen relationships between current and past generations of Georgetown veterans. He is also leading the Georgetown Veteran Admissions Project, which is working on attracting more veterans to the university.
During his tenure as president, the Charleston, S.C., native said he and other Georgetown student veterans partnered with the National Park Service to conduct upkeep and maintenance of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.
Howard says the project was important to him because the memorial “belongs to us as Americans.”
“For my part as the organizer, it’s important to actually bring an activity to the volunteers that’s meaningful,” he says, adding that non-veteran students also participated in the event. “… we were making a difference not only to our lives but those around us as well.”
At one point, he says former U.S. Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.), a World War II veteran, dropped by to observe their efforts.
Howard’s GUVSA team in 2011-2012 included Dillon Behr (G’13), vice president, Matt Webb (G’12), director of communications, Nevada Schadler (C’15), director of campus programming, Nicole Heydt (C '15), volunteer coordinator and TM Gibbons-Neff (C '15), treasurer.
Barbara Mujica, professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, served as GUSVA faculty adviser and nominated Howard for the Landegger Award.
Howard came to Georgetown as a sophomore transfer student in 2009 after serving in the United States Marine Corps from 2000 to 2008, during which time he traveled to about 35 countries.
He said he was grateful to receive the King Family GU Marine Corps Scholarship, made possible by the King family of Chicago.
Once at Georgetown, he enrolled in a dual-track program in the School of Foreign Service. He plans to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) this fall to help him consider a career as a Foreign Service officer.
Howard says Georgetown and the Marine Corps have something in common – a sense of camaraderie.
“The Georgetown community reaches beyond academics and it reaches outside of the classroom for sure,” he says. “It’s tough to put it on paper or show it on a brochure, but the community at Georgetown not only [comes] out of the student body but continues through alumni.”
Howard says he’s thankful for the educational and service experiences Georgetown has provided him and hopes other veterans will learn about the opportunities that are open to them.
“There are doors open now that I wouldn’t have been able to think about or imagine four years ago when I was Iraq,” he says. “I know that there are those in uniform right now in the same position that I was, so if there’s something that we can do here at Georgetown to reach out to them … that’s worth it to me, that’s a worthwhile service to others.”