As you may have heard, last month Urban Abbey received the 2018 Community Partner of the Year Award from the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Office of Military and Veteran Services. This was for our work and partnership with UNO's Student Veteran Organization (SVO), with whom we co-host our Coffee Talks Student Veteran Small Group. This small group is led by Joel Walker and provides a space for student veterans to connect and discuss their experiences and the unique challenges that come with being both a college student and a veteran. As the daughter (and granddaughter) of a veteran, I am eternally grateful to each and every one of these students for their service and sacrifice, and to UNO for providing such an array of services to their student veterans. I give thanks that we as a faith community are able to make space for UNO's student veterans to talk, share, and make connections on campus.
I'd like to thank Rev. Chris Jorgensen for establishing Coffee Talks in 2016; SVO Presidents Eric Velander (2016-17), Kat Clyde (2017-18), and Kyle Keener (2018-19) for all their work to make Coffee Talks a success; UNO's Office of Military and Veterans Services staff for their partnership, generosity, and support; and to Joel Walker for his leadership of this group since 2017. This year, Joel and Kyle together have helped grow this small group from an average of four students per week to an average of ten, providing space and opportunity for more and more students to fellowship and deepen their relationship with one another. And, as always, thank YOU for being with us on campus each week as part of the Urban Abbey community!
Sierra Salgado Pirigyi
Chief Operating Officer
“I am really excited about the partnership between Urban Abbey and the SVO, and our recurring coffee talks is an event that I look forward to each week. Together, we have created an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable and we are able to discuss different viewpoints on a variety of topics. Plus, the fresh brewed coffee and donuts are a great way to kick start a Wednesday morning in a positive way! Thank you, Joel, Sierra, and everyone at Urban Abbey for the continued support.” - Kyle Keener, UNO SVO President (2018-19)
"What an honor it has been to facilitate the Coffee Talk discussions with the veterans and military members at UNO. Despite the diverse backgrounds and perspectives these students bring to the group, a deep civility and respect of one another is abundant. Whether we are talking about exams, family life, military experiences, politics, or spirituality, I always know that everyone leaves having learned something new about others in the room. Minds have been stretched in new ways, and rich fellowship has occurred. The world outside of Coffee Talks would benefit from seeing what goes on in that hour each Wednesday morning.” - Joel Walker, Coffee Talks Student Veteran Small Group Facilitator