Veteran’s Fair aims to educate students
J’Mari Hughes – Copy Editor
The Southern student demographic goes beyond those who just left high school and plan to leave after four years, it also includes student parents, retirees and veterans.
On Tuesday, Jan. 28, multiple organizations, including the Disability Resource Center, Career and Counseling Services and New Haven Veteran Center, gathered outside of the Veteran’s Service Center in the basement of Engleman Hall for a tabling event made to inform student veterans, and other students, of organizations that can be helpful to them.
“I think generally veteran students are older students who maybe are non-traditional students or here part-time not full-time,” said history major Jess Petry, a senior and navigator coordinator of the Academic Success Center, “and [we’re] just kind of letting them know about different resources on campus because most of them are probably commuters as well and maybe might not be on campus as much to see what it has to offer for help.”
The event was put together by transfer student assistant Annie Prusak, a senior. She said after having met great veteran students on campus, she wanted to give back to them.
Prusak said, a lot of them might not be aware of the resources available to them on campus, and she wanted to change that.
“I wanted to make sure we set people up for success,” Prusak said. “And know that Southern is here to support [their] success long-term and short-term.”
Traditionally college students range from age 18 to the early 20s, but despite this, only 48.8 percent of Southern students fit into that age group, as stated by College Factual, an online college database.
The Veteran’s office, located in Engleman, Room A014, was created in 1975 to make way for the many Vietnam veterans returning to school, Southern’s website states.
“It’s a support space, study space and then they have offices, I think, on either side with resource support [and] veteran and military affairs information,” said psychology major Jenna Boccio, a senior and Academic Success Center Writing Coordinator.
Among other tables were resources for financial advising and Troops to Teachers, as well as the Wellness Center, an organization that focuses on health education and provides students with benefits such as flu shot clinics and outreach campaigns.
“The Veteran’s Center provides a multitude of services specifically for veteran students,” said Emily Rosenthal, coordinator of the Wellness Center. “The Wellness Center provides services to all students on campus, but we work closely with all of these departments. We really try to reach all students in as many ways as possible.”
One veteran at the tables was Gabor Kautzner, an Iraq vet of the New Haven Vet Center, which helps combat veterans returning from war or having gone through war. Alongside him was Orville Grizzle, a community outreach specialist who helps veterans get enrolled in Veterans Affairs healthcare.
“Now is the time to enroll in healthcare because you’re at the threshold of what you make as a student,” Kautzner said. “Once you get enrolled in VA, you’re enrolled and this way, once you get out and you graduate and are making more money, you’re not going to be able to get into it.”
In addition to learning about on-campus organizations, event goers were able to take home t-shirts, snacks, pens and informational packets. To Kautzner, even if the information is not useful for one specific person, he or she should learn it anyway so they can pass it on to someone who may need it.
“If you’re a veteran student, you should definitely come stop by,” said Prusak. “We’ve got a lot of great resources. I’m really grateful that everybody is taking the time to come and make this event successful.”