Monday, July 3, 2017

A New Space for Student Veterans

For those veterans who may not know it yet, there is a place for you on campus. The Office of Veteran Affairs has recently moved into the Ramer Administration Building, Room 150. I had a chance to sit down Ken Hanson, manager of the office, and ask him about the move, what it means for the veterans, and how it feels to help them out.

Tell me a little about the move to a larger office.

It’s given us so much extra space. We’ve got room for the veterans, we’ve got room for the adults that are going to be coming in here, and we’ve got space for everyone that’s working in this office. We’re all in one location, so in that respect, it’s awesome. We’ve already gotten some good compliments from our veterans that have come in here and hung out.

What kind of new services do you offer being in this larger office?

Really, the services aren’t changing any. It’s just consolidating everything. We already work with, of course, the veterans and the GI Bill for the veterans. We have the vet center itself so they’ve got a place to work on the computers, work on their classes, and hang out if they need to. A lot of times it’s really great for building-up comradery with other veterans that are coming through here. We also have a spot where the Associate of Vietnam Veterans of America donated some food, coffee, and different things for our veterans. This is now in one spot so we can keep track of it and they can come grab a snack if they want to, grab a cup of coffee in between classes, and those sorts of things.

How does it feel to help veterans?

It’s always a great thing because a lot of times it’s a difficult transition from military to civilian. You come from an environment where everything is so structured and you’re told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Quite a few of them have been into warzones, and it’s really challenging to go from that environment to a college environment. It’s really great to be able to sit down with that veteran and say, “Hey, we’ll help you get through your education. We’ll guide you along the way. We’ve got services that can help you out, whether it’s internal to the school or external, like with the VFW or the Sumner County Vets Council.” We can find resources for these guys. It feels good when you can watch a veteran graduate after about two/two-and-a-half years because you know you’ve helped guide them along their way.

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