The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration has awarded SF State a $309,148 contract to research and share local history through the diversity of American veterans’ experiences.
Through the University’s Veteran Documentary Corps, students will produce 12 short films, an interactive website, social media marketing and elementary- and middle-school curriculum — all focused on veterans interred at San Francisco and Golden Gate national cemeteries.
“We want to empower communities of young learners to see themselves as agents of their own history, researching, writing and sharing their local history through the lens of veterans,” says Interim Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ronald E. Walters. “The award of this contract signifies the VA National Cemetery Administration’s dedication and commitment to providing enhanced memorialization of veterans interred in our VA national cemeteries.”
SF State will work with a schoolteacher to help place the films and instructional materials in third-, fourth- and fifth-grade and middle-school classrooms in the Bay Area.
Kanopy, a streaming video service for educational institutions and public libraries, will distribute the films. They will also be available online at SF State’s Digital Information Video Archive.
Veteran Documentary Corps Executive Director and Cinema Professor Daniel Bernardi will lead the project. History Professor and Chair Trevor Getz will steward the historical work. Communication Studies Professor and Chair Christina Sabee will work with school teachers and manage the assessment aspects of the project. Graduate School of Education Dean Judith Munter is working with schools to develop the curriculum.
“It is vital for our future generations to understand the sacrifices American soldiers have made to preserve our freedom,” says Bernardi, a Navy Reserves officer and Iraq War veteran. “The National Cemetery Administration’s commitment to education will make a significant impact, while also providing students with invaluable practical experience in curriculum development, filmmaking and research.”
Students in Cinema, Communication Studies, History and Education will create the films and educational materials.
National Cemetery Administration
The National Cemetery Administration awarded three separate contracts to SF State, Black Hills State University and University of Central Florida as the first of many planned initiatives to engage educators, students and researchers and the general public through its Veterans Legacy Program.
The National Cemetery Administration honors veterans and their families with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service and sacrifice to our Nation. It aims to be the model of excellence for burial and memorials for American veterans and their families.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates 135 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico. More than 4 million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in the national cemeteries.
Veteran Documentary Corps
Founded in 2011, the Veteran Documentary Corps empowers veterans and filmmakers from around the world to tell true stories about the veteran experience. Its goal is to facilitate greater understanding of the diverse personalities, struggles and successes that define the veteran experience. Stories come from all branches of service, military jobs, campaigns and nations. The Veteran Documentary Corps is a research and service organization in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts.
Photo: The Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.