Resources offered for veterans on campus

Student veterans able to find support, mental health services on campus


ZACH RUBIO | The Daily Evergreen

The color guard march down the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall toward the Veterans Memorial for the Veterans Day Ceremony on Thursday. See more photos online.

YASMEEN WAFAI, Evergreen assistant editor

Mental health for veterans is a legislative and community priority for groups on campus.

James Dalton, ASWSU senator and vice president of the Student Veterans Committee, said the primary focus of the committee is to bring to light issues that veterans face and to promote veterans on campus. He said the committee provides a welcoming atmosphere for veterans, as well as any other military-affiliated students, such as dependents and spouses.

“We have such life experience that we’re not separate,” Dalton said, “but we’re disconnected.”

Dalton also said the committee is currently working with the Cougar Lobby Team on a state mental health bill for veterans that would provide veterans with a mental health coordinator in the Veteran Center. He said they are trying to start an advisory committee for the entire university that would work to bridge the gap between veterans and traditional students.

Dalton also stressed that the stigma that all veterans have mental health issues is untrue.

“We’re not all broken,” Dalton said.

However, for veteran students who do need mental health support, Dalton said there are mental health professionals at the Health and Wellness Center who have training in how to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He said the committee meets in the Veterans Center every two weeks and even though it is specifically for veterans, it is open to everybody.
“We want to promote inclusivity and the fact that we’re all together,” Dalton said.

There is also a Student Veterans Center in the library available to not only veterans, but all students.

Veterans Coordinator Blaine Golden said the center is a space for studying, socializing and also functions as a lounge.

He said his office is a place for students to receive information on education benefits related to their service. The center also has a Vet Corps navigator that helps students transition from military to school.

Golden said the center has been around since 2014 and is a place for student veterans to get support and connect with others. Before the center, they had a small space in the CUB.

“[It’s] a good example of what students can do if they put their mind to it,” Golden said.

He also said the center is working on a mentor program that would pair older veteran students with newer ones.