Recently, Tech opened a new Veteran’s Resource Center (VRC) located in the Smithgall Student Services Building Room 217B, for the use and service of student veterans. The center’s mission is to stand as an advocate for student veterans and an outlet for academic success.
David Ross, Director of the Veteran’s Resource Center, described it as an “office dedicated to assisting student veterans, military, reservist, guard members and dependents by providing comprehensive support services that enhance and compliment the academic experience.”
While veterans are a small fraction of the student population, Ross believes that student veterans are different from traditional students because of their specific challenges and obstacles. Because they face these unique struggles, the VRC stands to help them.
“Student veterans are a unique population, not only non-traditional students, but a group who is trying to adjust back into civilian life. Also they may be married, have a family to care for and support,” Ross said. “In the college setting, they may have new fears of being singled out because they fought in an unpopular war. Also student veterans are older and more experienced than their fellow classmates, and feel disconnected from them.”
As the Veteran’s Center and veteran student body grows, the center plans to offer a variety of services in order to enhance academic and student life for veterans applying to Tech.
Some services that the VRC plans to offer include serving as an advocate for student veterans on campus, assisting potential student veterans applying to Tech, providing education and outreach to the larger Tech community to increase awareness of student veteran issues and assisting the Tech Armed Forces Student Association as well as providing support, assistance and information on VA benefits and scholarships.
Ross acknowledges that the student veteran population on campus will increase and the awareness of the VRC will become more pertinent for the success of student veteran groups.
“Now and over the next few years there will be more and more veterans and their family members taking advantage of the educational benefits of the GI Bill,” Ross said. “As these student enter [Tech], it is important to provide a supportive environment.”
Many students on campus believe this idea will help veterans maintain better ground as students in their classes With success in academics, veterans will have a better chance in the work environment as representatives of Tech.
“It’s good that Tech looks out for minorities or smaller groups on campus because I think those sort of people occasionally fall through the cracks,” said Ellie Tucker, a third-year CE major. “Different people go through different transitions and some people need a helping hand.”