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The transition from active duty service to the halls of academia can be overwhelming. With new formalities, mountains of paperwork and a different way of life, veteran students might quickly find themselves discouraged, frustrated and distressed.
From services like admission guidance and GI Bill assistance to military benefits and resources, the Veteran Services staff of Weber State University is equipped to help veteran students.
Though many veteran students are aware of the basic functions of the service, Jennifer Comer, an Iraqi war veteran, a staff member of Veteran Services and the veteran student senator, stressed that Veteran Services provides much more than enrollment assistance.
“We’ll do anything within our power for veteran students, from financial aid to food resources and income assistance agencies,” said Comer, who is majoring in criminal justice and social work at WSU. “The Veteran Services have been revamped and we’re willing to help. We can help you. We will help you.”
Comer said many service members might face certain struggles when returning to school.
“There are a lot of veterans who return to school and are immediately overwhelmed with the behavior of other traditional students. They feel segregated, alone, and some may consider withdrawing, while others lose patience and fall victim to frustration. They miss the camaraderie and organization of military life and struggle without the opportunity to serve. We understand that. We’ve been there. And we’re here for our vets.”
Charles Chandler, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and the Veteran Affairs coordinator, backed Comer’s statements and said he wants to remind veteran students that “the Veteran Services aren’t just here as a means to begin your university education, but as a tool to help you finish as well. Our main goal, first and foremost, is to help aid veteran students any way we can to get them across that stage.”
As one of 2012’s top military-friendly universities, WSU is committed to helping veterans, even those not actively using their military education benefits. All veterans, regardless of academic grade level or course of study, can be honored for their service by bringing in their DD-214 forms to receive senior status with enrollment and various perks, such as priority parking through the parking lottery on campus.
WSU is also heavily involved with the Student Veterans of America, a coalition of student veteran groups devoted to providing military veterans the resources, support and advocacy they need to achieve their academic goals.
SVA provides the necessary tools for veterans to reach out to one another while offering meaningful opportunities to serve within their communities. By offering classes, such as the recent concealed weapons permit training course at WSU, and helping with local charities and drives, SVA allows service members to continue serving, albeit in a different capacity, among the ranks of fellow veterans and friends.
Veteran Services also offers employment listings and social opportunities on its Facebook page.