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The Veterans Center celebrates Veterans Day

Ohio University’s five campuses are home to around 600 veterans and they are all connected through the Veterans and Military Student Services Center.

The Veterans and Military Student Services Center provides support and advocates for all military-affiliated students. This includes currently serving members of the military as well as spouses and dependents. This program earned Ohio University a Yellow Ribbon and the designation of a Military Friendly School.

Its biggest role is helping to process VA educational benefits to help cover the costs of a college education. 

“We have several students, veterans currently serving and dependents and spouses that are using some type of VA educational benefit to help offset the cost of college,” said retired Lt. Col. Terry St. Peter, the director of the Veterans Center.

They also provide support and advocate for students who get deployed and have to suddenly withdraw from school.

“We have a university policy letter that talks about that so that they can go through the process to get withdrawn from school without having financial implications,” St. Peter said. “Because they're being told to go there, they have no choice.”

The center also helps connect veterans to counseling services. It works closely with OU’s Counseling and Psychological Services on campus. There is also an outpatient program in Athens available to veterans.

It also has a number of programs to raise awareness of the veteran and military-affiliated students on campus and the challenges they face. 

A student can go to the center if they experience any microaggressions or hostility on or off campus. It is there for any student who feels they are being treated unfairly due to their military status.

The staff does its best to make sure the center is a space veterans want to be in by providing computers, a free printer, a gaming room and drinks and snacks.

To celebrate the upcoming Veterans Day, the center is hosting a program on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the third floor of Baker University Center for students to come and meet student veterans. There, they will have a patch wall for anyone to add a unit patch. 

“What we're asking folks to do is bring some patches from their units, when you’re in a unit you have a unique patch,” St. Peter said. “Even students who are not veterans, if their mom or dad were a veteran they might have a patch, they can bring the patch and tell a story.”

The goal of this event is to help the veterans on campus build connections and find people who may share similar experiences and for other students to learn more about their community on campus. 

Nov. 16 and 17 the center is also hosting a campaign called Stop17 to raise awareness of the 17 veterans who are lost to suicide daily. They are asking people to come to Baker’s third floor and complete 17 repetitions of their favorite exercise to represent the 17 veterans. 

“The important part is not what exercise you do, the 17 just represents those 17 folks we're going to lose that day,” St. Peter said. “Once they complete that, we're going to give them a free T-shirt.”

The Veteran and Military Student Services is on campus to offer whatever support they can to any veteran or military affiliate that needs it. All they need to do is reach out and ask for support.

“We obviously can't make you tell us what you're feeling or experiencing but if you're willing to field your problem to us, there's someone in this vicinity that's going to help find a solution,” said Ethan Barnes, a junior studying political science.

Barnes works at the Veterans Center through the VA work-study program and is responsible for helping veterans get the help they ask for as well as being an intermediary between the students and the VA. 

The center and the people working there want those who need help to reach out to them and emphasize that they care about the students' struggles.

“We want you to reach out, we want to help you,” St. Peter said. “If you have questions, concerns or need assistance, that's what we're here for. The thing that keeps me up at night is worrying about students who are having issues and not coming to us for help until it's too late.”


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