HARLEM, Manhattan — Perhaps the most admirable thing about veterans is their desire to serve, even after they finish their time in the military.
“I really have to feel like I’m doing something that is making a difference,” said Brian Adam Jones, a marine veteran who is now a senior at Columbia University.
Columbia has 410 undergraduate student veterans. They represent 95 percent of veterans currently enrolled in the Ivy League, he said.
Before Jones walked the campus of Columbia University, he served four years in the military as a combat correspondent. He spent seven month’s in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
“When you get out, you lose that sense of purpose that you really, really enjoyed everyday,” said Jones, “I found my sense of purpose right now, and that’s to be the best student that I can be.”
He also works a full-time job. Jones runs Task and Purpose, an online news and culture editorial site geared toward post-9/11 vets.
In addition, he serves as president of Milvets, Columbia’s on campus veterans association. It’s another outlet where he can empower and connect with vets.
“We want to continue to carry that same sense of service,” he said, “And we want to carry it back to our communities. For me, that’s back to Harlem.”
Jones plans to march in next week's Veterans Day Parade, alongside dozens of other Columbia University veteran students.