Caring for those who take care of us – newsroom


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Since the official opening of the Veterans Resource Center in 2017, St. Thomas has made steady progress toward President Julie Sullivan’s stated goal of making St. Thomas the most veteran-friendly campus in Upper -Midwest.

More than just a meeting place

The Veterans Resource Center serves as a hub, a one-stop-shop where veterans can find information about the resources available to them, obtain academic and professional services, and meet other veterans.

Students and staff gather in the Veterans Resource Center.

In addition to providing a safe space for past and current military personnel to study and relax before and after class, the Veterans Resource Center is a supportive space, providing a veteran academic advisor, psychological services advisor and Moreover.

“Having a constant group of people who are there to talk or answer questions has meant the world to me,” said Haley Sonneman ’22.

Sonneman told the St. Thomas newsroom that she had relied on Ferguson and veteran academic advisor Nicholas Doten during her deployment to Southeast Asia with the Air Force to ensure a smooth transition. towards St. Thomas.

Former student Joe LaCroix ’20 also relied on the Veterans Resource Center and its staff when he was transferred from a community college in St. Thomas.

“I knew I needed [a veterans association] everywhere I have been to help me stay focused and engaged. St. Thomas provided that to me almost instantly, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made, ”said LaCroix.

The university continued its commitment to veteran students amid COVID-19 through the Veterans Resource Center and assisted financial programs.

Veterans Services provides an emergency loan to Veteran students, facilitates links with Veterans Affairs and provides veteran students with on-campus and off-campus employment opportunities.

As a Yellow Ribbon School, St. Thomas also covers the financial shortcomings of veteran students. For students who receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the maximum Chapter 33 benefit rate (100%), they will not have to pay tuition and fees to attend college. In addition, they receive a monthly housing allowance as well as a lump sum for books and supplies.

“Our commitment to seasoned students is rooted in the culture of St. Thomas,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Karen Lange. “The Veterans Resource Center has been instrumental in connecting our Veteran students with each other, with our staff and with our faculty. “

To increase the university’s commitment to those who have served, Veterans Services worked with campus partners to create policies and procedures that benefit veteran students.

For example, if a student is called up by the military for active duty, he or she is assisted in a rapid transition. The professors, the registrar’s office, the school board and financial aid teams all work together to make it easier for the student to leave school and when the student returns, the experience is stress-free too.

An updated absence policy and priority check-in for current and past military students also made it easier for veteran students to succeed in their studies at St. Thomas.

“These programs and policies are a way for the institution to thank veterans for their military service,” said Ferguson.

Another way the university has proven its commitment to veterans is through the development of green zone training. Green Zone Training was created for faculty, students and staff who want to learn more about the experience of military-affiliated students in St. Thomas.

“Our goal is to educate members of the St. Thomas community to learn more about the issues and concerns faced by students affiliated with the military and to identify people available to support these students,” Ferguson said. .

Green Zone Training 2 is in development and will focus on teaching the St. Thomas community about traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder so that students and faculty can properly help those suffering from these afflictions.

Look ahead

In 2022, the Veterans Resource Center hopes to offer Tommie Boot Camp for the transition and transfer of veteran students.

“A lot of veterans drop out of college in their first year of school. Rusty academic skills, family responsibilities and a sense of alienation from young classmates can make it difficult for veterans to be successful on campus, ”Ferguson said. “The goal of the Tommie Boot Camp is to acclimate these veterans to civilian life and help them in their quest for a degree.

The training camp is designed to create a sense of camaraderie for veteran students and is a way to further the mission of Veterans Services to create a campus that allows students affiliated with the military to flourish during their stay in St. Thomas and beyond.

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