After serving in the United States Air Force for 20 years, veteran Joseph Fant is working on- and off-campus to help veterans reach their full potential. The second-year integrated information technology student is shifting his focus to his education and helping men and women like himself succeed.
"My goals are to promote advocacy for veterans, to increase resources for veterans, and to promote school and community relationships," he said.
Fant is currently taking 16 credit hours at USC, and is working 20 hours a week at a part-time information technology job in Columbia. Even at his job, he is working to get a fellow veteran and USC student a job to gain experience in IT.
"I can share my connections with another veteran and help them succeed ... it all kind of connects," he said.
During the spring semester of 2017, he served as Vice President of the Student Veterans Association and helped organize a post traumatic stress disorder panel for veterans on campus.
The panel, Fant said, brought together several people who had dealt with different types of PTSD. The panelists shared their experiences and interacted some with the audience.
"The interactive bit with the audience was incredible, because some of the people in there were students at USC," he said. "They were coming out and graduating from a program that would allow them to be counselors, and so they were hearing a perspective on potentially counseling someone with PTSD."
The Student Veterans Association, located on the Mezzanine Level of the Thomas Cooper Library in the Student Success Center, has only grown since its opening on campus in 2016.
"Hopefully it continues to increase, and we can make bigger things happen ... have a positive impact on the school and the community." Fant said.
As well as working with the Student Veterans Association, Fant holds the position of Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Student Body President Ross Lordo's executive cabinet, and works to connect the veteran population and the student government.
"Students that are similar to Joseph have just as important of a voice as any other student, so being able to bring in those different perspectives has proved to be extremely beneficial as we all learn how to do our jobs better," Lordo said.
The Student Veterans Association is holding a Veterans Day Leadership Panel and Breakfast on Friday.