Student Veterans of OU go to TopGolf

The+Student+Veterans+of+OU+held+their+first+winter+semester+event+at+TopGolf+on+Wednesday%2C+Jan.+29.%0A

Sergio Montanez

The Student Veterans of OU held their first winter semester event at TopGolf on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Sergio Montanez, Photographer

Reading a book or watching a movie is one way to relieve stress brought on by winter blues. But perhaps there isn’t a better way to forget about Michigan’s dreary weather on a chilly night than spending time with friends and family, enjoying boneless wings and hitting golf balls. 

The Student Veterans of Oakland University (SVOU) hosted its first event of the winter semester on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Buffalo Wild Wings and TopGolf.

Last year, TopGolf introduced college night, where college students get unlimited play for $15 from 7-11 p.m. every Wednesday night.

“We started that just this past fall semester,” SVOU President Mason Turrell said. “We came here two or three times and they [TopGolf] just love having us here, and we love coming here.” 

For SVOU, it’s another way to get its current members and the community to engage in a night of fun and relieve the stress of an everyday college student. 

The event began at Buffalo Wild Wings, where members and family came together to have dinner. After dinner, everyone met at TopGolf to round out the night. Enough people came to occupy two bays for play, though in past events, the group has taken up to four bays.   

In planning the event, Turrell takes into account that not all college students are able to afford a night out every week, which is why he tries to limit the frequency of these events.  

“It can get kind of expensive for a college student, so I try to keep it limited to only a couple of times a month,” Turrell said.

This event not only serves as a night out with friends, but is also a chance to reflect on the future of SVOU and how it can grow as an organization.

“I want to continue to grow it so when we walk in this door, they’re [TopGolf] like, ‘These guys are here again, holy crap, we’re in for it now.’” 

In the past, Turrell talked about doing different things such as fundraisers that will benefit and bring awareness to homeless veterans as well as SVOU. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, “The most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit and ‘veterans helping veterans’ groups.” 

The 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress conducted by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development found that 37,085 veterans experienced homelessness in 2019. 

“We’re trying to give back to the community,” Turrell said. “Finding that outlet to make sure that everybody is taken care of in one way or another, and that’s really what it boils down to in the end.”

Mental health is another issue that SVOU hopes to address for veterans and students alike.

“If it’s just me and one other person and this other person really likes to come here and hit balls as a stress reliever or some sort of therapy for them, I’ll stay here and golf with them,” Turrell said.

This event gives the OU community a chance to learn about how veterans are impacted daily and what things can be done to better the campus for members of the armed forces. 

“We all look out for each other and everything,” Turrell said. “It’s one big happy family.”

To Turrell, coming out to TopGolf and spending an evening with some of his closest friends and veterans is bigger than the organization itself.  

“That right there,” Turrell said, as he watched his friend Max swing the club, slamming the golf ball with the driver in the hopes of hitting the golf cart that comes around to pick up the golf balls on the range, “that right there, that’s what it’s all about: making sure that people are having fun, that they’re having a good time.”

SVOU will visit TopGolf again on Wednesday, April 1. They are also starting yoga sessions later this week.

SVOU meets every Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the Veterans Support Services office, located in 112 Vandenberg Hall. SVOU welcomes everyone, whether they are a veteran or not, to join them for $5 luncheons in Vandenberg. The meetings are also streamed live on the organization’s Facebook page.