April 21, 2008
There is nothing like a letter from home to cheer one up. It’s this idea that is behind the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s “Thanks, From Me to You” letter-writing campaign to U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Student Megan Schwandt, of Kasson, Minn., was so taken with the idea of supporting the troops she made an internship out of it. Schwandt is working as a Legacy Intern to provide students and community members with a way to support the troops overseas. Legacy Interns are UW-Stout students who wish to leave a meaningful legacy after graduating by identifying a need in the community and finding ways to fill it.
Once Schwandt decided to send letters to soldiers, she contacted the national group “Soldiers’ Angels” to get the letters to the places most needed.
Schwandt has made a goal of contacting at least one student group a week to encourage them to have letter-writing meetings and has invited members to drop off letters in one of the eight drop-off boxes on campus. She also has placed a community drop-off box at the Menomonie Public Library. So far, she has collected more than 160 letters from students and community members.
The goal of the letters, according to Schwandt, is to write about positive and uplifting events to help lift the spirits of the soldiers.
Fellow student volunteer and ROTC member Chris Rose, of Columbus, Wis., agrees with that sentiment.
“I know a lot of people who have gone overseas and one day I’ll be in their shoes. Receiving a letter like that makes you feel like you have a purpose for being there. I really appreciate Megan for initiating this project on campus,” Rose said.
Letters can be dropped off any time at the Student Organization Center desk in the lower level of the Memorial Student Center. Guidelines for the letters are to just be yourself, and keep the tone light and supportive. At the end of the letter, writers are encouraged to express appreciation for the soldier’s service to their country.
For more information, contact Schwandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.