New Veterans Services Center Opens at UW
\University of Wyoming military veterans now have a place of their own to study or socialize.
The new Veterans Services Center (VSC) opened this semester in Knight Hall, Room 241. The center offers services to all active duty and veteran students and those who formerly served in the armed forces. The VSC promotes a "welcoming, caring, support system and resource for a successful college experience," says Dolores Cardona, UW associate dean of students who chaired a task force that reviewed the needs of military veterans on campus.
The four-room VSC is a centralized point for information for all the students' needs regarding school or other veteran services, Cardona says. Hours for the center are from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. each Tuesday.
The center has a computer laboratory with printers, a lounge with furniture and large screen television, a mess area for drinks and snacks and an area to meet and network with other UW military veteran students and staff. UW recently received a College Access Challenge Grant and part of the money received will be to hire a full-time person to staff the VSC.
With the enactment of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act in 2008 that allows military veterans to donate unused educational benefits to spouses or children, has prompted universities nationwide to begin examining the needs of returning veterans who are seeking higher education.
"Currently on the UW campus, the exact number of actual military veteran students is unknown, but more than 300 are receiving financial support," Cardona says. "It was imperative that UW begin to prepare for these students who are currently enrolled at UW and others who will also enter our institution after serving their country."
To better track incoming military personnel, UW has added a check box with veteran status in the application process.
In its early meetings, UW's Veterans Services Task Force identified existing services and resources for military students enrolled at UW. Out of those reports came the idea for the need of a central location for that segment of students to have their own meeting space.
The task force also identified other needs to better serve military veteran students on the UW campus: Create a caring and trauma-informed community which is important to the success of veteran students at UW; develop an informative Web site that includes information for veterans; coordinate with UW's admissions, financial aid and registration and records offices to assist potential military veteran students; and in the future, develop a "learning community" where veteran students could take one or two classes together as a group and to focus on transition issues.
An open house for the new center is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17.
"This event is being held for a chance to meet veteran students and also to begin a strong veteran community here at UW," Cardona says. "The open house also allows our wonderful supporters to see the new center."
For more information about the VSC, contact Cardona at (307) 766-6228 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Smith, a human nutrition and food sophomore from Manchester, N.H. uses one of the computers in the new Veterans Services Center, located in Knight Hall.