UNCG ranked 59 out of 150 universities on the Military Times ‘Best for Vets 2017’ list, nine slots higher than previous years and fourth highest among NC universities and colleges.
UNCG Veterans Resource Center Coordinator Brad Wrenn spoke on the center, expressing thanks for support given by UNCG administration.
The center is a space which allows veteran students a place to meet and speak to each other while taking care of schoolwork or any administrative issues. It also helps with any questions or concerns students may have concerning their time as military personnel.
“A lot of schools typically have their veteran’s services offices manage only veteran’s benefits. It’s a very administrative process,” Wrenn said. “We try to take on a comprehensive student affairs based approach to veteran student development. That means that we engage and actively seek to involve all of our student veterans in our programming initiatives, regardless of whether-or-not they’re using benefits.”
The Veterans Resource Center also identifies and engages with veteran students that are not using benefits. This is done through a coding program developed jointly with the Office of Institutional Research. This helps to identify and class certain students that may identify as veterans even if not currently receiving benefits.
“A good example of a student like this would be a graduate student who used all of their benefits during their undergraduate studies and no longer has any benefits, but still identifies as a student veteran. We still try to actively engage these students,” Wrenn illustrated.
While the Veterans Resource Center offers some of the same things that other schools may offer, they also offer more unique options with faculty and staff training. Their office is already staffed with veterans but many go through training to develop the tools and skills needed to better serve others in their community. Many share the same experiences and are already well equipped to help a student veteran with what they may need while in college. These trainings run on an open enrollment report-based frame. The courses were held at the conference room in the Resource Center for three hours at a time.
“We take the program and the training sessions to the administrative and academic departments and partner up with the departmental administration to tailor-fit the programs for the individual needs of that department and the schedules of its workers,” Wrenn said. “For instance, we had a program for the counseling center. They were very interested in learning about post-traumatic-stress and things like substance abuse and ways to actively engage those issues in therapy for people who need that help.”
Wrenn went on to explain how some different departments may not need the same focus. Though the same training would be included, a heavier portion would be devoted to training based on the rights and responsibilities student veterans have in the case in which they are called for deployment or active duty service.
The Veterans Resource Center is located in Spring Garden Apartments, up the stairs from the Transfer Articulation Office. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.