The Student Veteran Resource Center (VRC) has been open since the beginning of the semester, serving as a meeting spot for PSU students who have served. It is one initiative the Pittsburg State campus has taken to accommodate student veterans.
The Center is located in Whitesitt Hall on the first floor and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Student veterans are encouraged to use the computers, microwave, and lounge area alongside their fellow student veterans.
“In recent years, it’s been progressively increasing to quite a lot of opportunities and resources for veterans,” Matthew Schnaufer, senior in psychology, said. “I don’t feel like I’m ostracized by anyone, I actually feel welcome.”
Throughout the country, college campuses are making efforts to provide more resources for their student veterans. Campuses like KU and K-State have implemented similar veteran’s spaces and resources.
“We have a psychology program with a military emphasis that are more than willing to speak with veterans, and of course there are services at the student health facilities,” Michelle Hensley, veteran’s certifying official for Pitt State, said. “Another office that is helping students with PTSD is Student Accommodations.”
Pitt State provides resources specifically for veterans through the PSU Veteran Services webpage.
“Right now, we don’t really have anything available through the VRC, other than the benefit of being around other veterans to talk to,” Hensley said. “I do have magnets on the fridge with information on where to get help.”
The Bryant Student Health Center offers counseling services for all PSU students, including student veterans.
“I don’t feel segregated or separated, we have our own little room over here and it’s a nice place to study and stuff,” said Dustin Read, graduate student in medical laboratory science, “I don’t think we really need anything extra, what we have is sufficient.”
With around 100 student veterans on campus, Pittsburg State has implemented and offered a few different options for veterans to get the help they need.
“I think that probably one of the bigger problems within treating the issues that veterans have, is because they can be contributed to so many things, which is why it’s frustrating for a lot of them,” Josh Shay, scholarship and enrollment officer for ROTC, said “Because, some people think, well, if you’re sick you go to the doctor and you do this. Well, that’s not how it works in some of these scenarios.”
Across the country, more than 1,000,000 student veterans are using their GI benefits to pursue advanced educational opportunities, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“From what I’ve seen, most of our veterans have either been provided veterans administration or other sources to assist them with health or other issues,” said Tim Senecaut, advisor of the Student Veteran’s Organization. “Between the Veteran’s Crisis Line, VetLinks, and numerous other resources, there is always someone out there to assist them. Most, if not all, are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will get them help whenever or wherever they need.”
Some student veterans may have a different set of challenges compared to a traditional student, and resources around campus attempt to aid these student veterans with their transition.
“A veteran might struggle with re-acquiring study skills since they’ve been out of a school setting for a number of years whereas a first-year student might struggle with managing competing priorities,” Senecaut said.
The Student Veteran Resource Center provides a place for veterans to interact with each other and bond over what they have in common, something that is not found on every campus.