We are currently highlighting services that are tailored to three specific audiences: nontraditional students (Nov. 1), veterans (today) and transfer students (Nov. 15). There is a lot of overlap within these three groups, of course, so readers may qualify for multiple resources.
According to Veterans Services Coordinator Andrew Holbert, student-veterans constitute about 4 percent of the Western Oregon University student population. Those who seek the extensive resources available to them—Holbert aims to connect with as many as possible—can find themselves uniquely positioned to both create a community and reach graduation successfully.
That’s exactly the goal at WOU, which for several years has earned silver status as a Military Friendly university. Holbert takes the designation extremely seriously.
“I’m not going to tell people we are military friendly until I feel we are military friendly,” he said. “I think we are there, but I’ll never be satisfied. Often I’m surprised that when I come up ideas to serve veterans, (the administration) should rightfully say no. But they see that as an investment. They say it’s the right thing to do. We are military friendly because we can do things like that.”
Holbert’s domain is the Veterans Resource Center, located downstairs in the Werner University Center. There are offices, a quiet study space and a lounge area, all bordered by walls adorned with racks offering brochures and pamphlets about services for student-veterans.
Traffic in and out of the center is brisk, with eight to ten people using the space at any given time.