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Veteran Services on campus provides support at UWRF

September 26, 2014

UW-River Falls has about 225 veterans and family members on campus this semester, and an estimated 190 veterans who have served currently enrolled, according to Veteran Services.

Between 2009 and 2010, the Veteran Services office was founded. Its mission is to ensure student veterans, reservists, National Guard, active duty and family members receive university support in achieving academic success.

Before this office existed the UWRF campus had someone to work with veteran affairs, but the new office allows for a more personal and dedicated effort for its veteran students and families. It helps veterans with their transition into civilian life, and with whatever else they may need during their college experience.

This service is important to the campus because it creates a relatable outlet for veterans. Many veterans have had life experiences that some civilians may find hard to relate to. Veteran Services strives to help with any family or service related issues that may ensue in a veterans path to reenter civilian life.

Andrew Huffman is the Veteran Services coordinator assistant, and he said that the veteran’s office acts as the “go-to” for ability services, financial aid, student housing and meal plans. It can also offer assistance by sitting down with teachers and assessing any classroom issues that a veteran may be having.

Veteran Services have the resources to connect a veteran to problems outside of educational related issues as well. The office can assist with any family or civilian life challenges that occur by connecting the veteran to an appropriate source or outlet.

Student veteran Bradley Harrison has benefited from Veteran Services since he started attending UWRF in 2010 with the undergraduate program; he is working on his master’s degree now. Harrison said that the office makes some things easier in life.

“They help make sure that all your paperwork gets put in right,” Harrison said. “They help walk through the mountains of paperwork through the V.A. and the VETS and the GOV that you have to submit.”

Veteran Services is renovating strategies to promote itself on campus. Huffman wrote a piece for the Falcon Connection, which is a document circulated to the student body through Student Affairs in an effort to spread the word to veterans and their families.

“One of the Veteran Services’ biggest problems right now is just getting the word out there that it exists,” Huffman said.

The veterans office is revamping the way that it helps connect veterans, not only to in the academic world, but now to the community as well.

“We’re getting more involved with outside programs in order to help out the community and veterans,” Huffman said. “We’re connecting them with jobs or anything they might need to help them progress within this educational experience.”

It is working on creating more opportunities for veterans to volunteer in the community in an effort to get more involved.

The campus has several programs to help veterans out. The primary outlet is the veterans office, which is located in 220 South Hall. It consists of three employees that are in the office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The