Student veteran Jake Berens receives national leadership award

Published 12:37 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

ETSU’s Student Veterans of America President named a 2023 honoree

When asked permission to write a feature story about his award, Jake Berens answered in a way that truly represents why he is a 2023 Student Veteran Leadership Award recipient.

His response came in the form of a request: “As long as the focus stays on the community we’re trying to build and the resources available to veterans and military-affiliated students on campus.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After almost 12 years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps, Berens began his journey at ETSU as a health sciences major. Beyond his graduation in 2024, his sights are set on medical school.

The Student Veteran Leadership Award honors student veterans who are making a positive impact on their school and fellow veterans and in the community. The national honor is handed out annually, and to be one of 32 students recognized is a prestigious honor.

The award is given out by Military Friendly®, an organization recognizing businesses, schools and individuals for their commitment to investing in improving the lives of veterans. The recipients were listed in the latest issue of G.I. Jobs magazine.

“I’m humbled to be recognized among these servant leaders,” said Berens. “While it is a personal award, I received it for community achievements. We’ve been working hard to strengthen our community and help military-affiliated students in any way we can. To be recognized for those efforts at a national level shows us we’re gaining ground.”

As a veteran and a student, Berens has consistently volunteered in efforts that support both the campus community and the region. He planned and executed a Halloween community food drive that raised 1,400 pounds of non-perishable food, a Veterans Day card drive to recognize veterans staying at the nearby Mountain Home VA Medical Center and an escape room event to build rapport and camaraderie among ETSU’s veteran population. He also currently serves as president of ETSU’s Student Veterans of America chapter and is involved in numerous other initiatives that provide support on campus, in the community and beyond.

“He makes those around him better,” said Dan Bishop, director of Military and Veteran Services. “I’ve consistently relied on Jake in our efforts to take care of our veterans and military-affiliated students on campus, and he has never disappointed.”

Home to hundreds of veterans and military-affiliated students, including military spouses, ETSU takes considerable steps to aid those who served in uniform, and has secured the respected Military Friendly® designation for more than a decade.