Many resources available to student veterans

Soldiers march off the field before the K-State football game against Oklahoma State in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 5, 2016. (John Benfer | The Collegian)

Veterans Day is an official U.S. public holiday observed annually on Nov. 11, a day to honor individuals who served in the United States Armed Forces. As people across the nation spend today honoring veterans, student veterans at Kansas State may be facing different challenges than traditional students.

K-State, with a campus about 15 miles from the U.S. Army’s Fort Riley, is known by many to be a military-friendly college campus with a variety of resources for student veterans. K-State’s Non-Traditional and Veteran Student Services is one of those resources, and is intended to serve those who once served the country.

Christina Henning, graduate research assistant in the Non-Traditional and Veteran Student Services office, said the office’s job, “is to help veterans find the resources they need.”

“We want to be a centralized location for every veteran to come to us and find out what services are available to them,” Henning said. “We can work with their professors, we can work with other departments at K-State. In the past we have even proctored exams for students that may have PTSD and don’t want to be in a large classroom setting.”

The office provides a variety of other services, including scholarship assistance, workshops, study materials, free printing, referrals for child care services, tutoring and assistance with military benefits.

The office also connects veterans with other services on campus, such as the Office of Veterans Affairs, which assists veterans and service members during the application process while applying for benefits and troubleshooting issues that may arise between a student’s benefit and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Office of Veterans Affairs also serves as a resource for ROTC students. Brian Iverson, sophomore in economics, is a ROTC student at K-State.

“I have never used the office, but it is nice knowing they are always there if I do need help with something,” Iverson said. “I have friends that have used the Office of Veterans Affairs, and I know it has helped them tremendously.”

Randy Vanderpool, freshman in computer science, is a veteran. He said he decided to study at K-State after he fell in love with Kansas while stationed at Fort Riley.

“I utilize the Veterans office in the Student Union a lot,” Vanderpool said. “When I first came to visit K-State, I was immediately set up with a ton of resources, and they were extremely welcoming and friendly.”

The people who work at the office recognize that transitioning from active duty to a college campus can be difficult, and they are there to bridge the gap and be a friend when needed.

The office also assists students with finding grants and scholarships that are specific to veterans.

“There are scholarships through K-State, and our director, Joshua Reed, also works with organizations in the community to get scholarships,” Henning said. “We just gave about $10,000 worth of scholarships away this semester for veterans.”

Vanderpool has received scholarship assistance through the office, but he said he has also found some of his greatest help through fellow veterans.

“I have met a lot of friends that have done all this before, so they have also been a lot of help with scholarships and grants, and really anything school-related,” he said.

The Veteran Student Services provides veterans opportunities to network with one another and build a community. The office doubles as a lounge area, which provides a space for veterans to build that community with one another.

“We have different get-togethers, barbecues, tailgates and stuff,” Vanderpool said. “It’s kind of like a big family, and it’s nice knowing we can all count on each other.”

The Veterans Center is located on the second floor of the K-State Student Union. To contact the center, call: 785-395-VETS(8387).