By LAUREN GRANT
Student veterans at the University of Mary Washington will have a new support system with the recently opened Veteran Resource Center.
The new center is the culmination of efforts by the UMW Association of Student Veterans, a newer organization recently started by senior David Helgran, who is also a Marine sergeant. Over the course of a year, the organization worked to create the resource center, which officially opened on Monday, Dec. 1 and is located on the first floor of Combs.
Doug Searcy, vice president for student affairs, worked to bring the center to fruition and is confident that it will be a valuable asset to the student body.
“We have many students in the veteran community who will benefit from the center and the resources it will provide,” Searcy said.
Prior to the center’s creation, student veterans lacked a coordinated support system for their varying needs. There was no specific coordinator to handle student questions about GI Bill education benefits.
As of now, the Veteran Center will provide support to over 400 UMW student veterans and active duty members at a central location. It will provide office space for the UMW Association of Student Veterans, peer counseling and an educational resources.
The new center comes with the support of UMW across the board.
“The UMW administration and board are very supportive of initiatives to support our veterans and have provided positive feedback about opening the center,” Searcy said.
Junior business major Patrick Onesty finds the creation of the Veteran Center to be a positive addition to student life and student applications in the future.
“UMW is trying to reach out to veterans who are not only more disciplined and diligent students, but also more stable tuition revenue streams, versus the traditional college student, and trying to diversify, it is a stable way of getting revenue,” Onesty said.
The Veteran Center comes at a time of change at UMW among revisions to the student handbook and new targeting strategies to be aimed at student applicants.