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Ashley Blamey, director of the Safety, Environment, and Education (SEE) Center, and the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans had a big idea that will help student veterans find each other at UT: a small “T” pin emblazoned with the stars and stripes.

The first group of the pins will be given out today at an orientation session for veterans who are preparing to start classes at UT in the spring as transfer students.

The pins aren’t for widespread distribution; they are for student veterans.

Blamey said she hopes student veterans will wear the pins on their backpacks, shirts, or jackets. When they see someone else wearing the same pin, they’ll know they’ve found another veteran.

“We look for ways we can help them feel connected and recognized while also acknowledging they may be surrounded by classmates who do not share their same life experiences,” said Blamey, who also chairs the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans. The task force was created last fall to coordinate campus resources and link support services for student veterans.

UT has 799 student veterans or their dependents enrolled this year—a jump of more than 70 percent since 2009.

Students who are serving or have served in the military are invited to contact call 974-5725 or email to get a pin.