WSU recognized as veteran-friendly

WSU’s recently established Student Veterans Center received recognition from the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Wednesday for the resources it offers to those who serve.

WDVA partners with universities to help support student veterans, increase awareness of programs and provide services designed to help them.

“WSU has been very committed to our service men and women and our veterans,” said Mary Forbes, assistant director for veterans services at WDVA. “I am very excited you have this center.”

“One of the biggest changes that was made is the university decided to hire a dedicated veterans coordinator,” said Blaine Golden, WSU’s veterans coordinator.

In the past, the responsibility of overseeing veterans support issues was the duty of one of the assistant registrars. Now, Golden has moved from the Office of the Registrar to become the full-time coordinator.

“Blaine provides a one-stop shop for veterans,” said WSU Provost Daniel Bernardo during the ceremony. “(The center is) not perfect, but its home.”

Last year, the WSU Space Committee selected room 120B of the Holland Library as the two-year home of the Student Veterans Center. The location was chosen for its hours and availability. The 1,259-square-foot space will house the center until a permanent home becomes available.

The center functions as a centralized source of services for veterans on campus. It can help provide housing assistance, information on benefits, acquire important documents or connect with counseling services.

Through the center, student veterans can find others who might feel somewhat out of place in a university environment and are having similar difficulties adjusting.

“It’s tough to find a space to congregate with people who have similar life experience,” wrote Jason Alves, WDVA Vet Corps program director, in email.

The center also features study tables with student computers and printers for academic needs. One of its largest roles is to provide a location to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and talk to other veteran students.

Wednesday’s ceremony not only recognized the efforts by the student center but also those of the armed forces veterans in the WSU community.

According to last fall’s enrollment numbers, more than 400 student veterans took classes at WSU in 2013.

“Good partners attract good partners,” Bernardo said. “And what better partner than Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Armed Forces?”