In an effort to better incorporate military veterans into the campus community, UR has launched the Veterans Alliance, the eighth affinity and networking group on campus. The group seeks to address two issues among veterans: integration and resource access for military veterans on campus, and better outreach to veterans interested in pursuing higher education.
At a luncheon Tuesday honoring veterans and marking the establishment of the Veterans Alliance, Dean of Admissions Jonathan Burdick offered the opening comments.
“The mission at UR is to incorporate as many different and unique perspectives as we can, and there’s nothing like veterans’ voices to do that,” Burdick said.
The Veterans Alliance’s bylaws state that their mission is “to provide veteran students, staff, faculty, and alumni and their families with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education.”
In an effort to achieve these goals, UR administrators established a working group comprised of staff from the Simon School, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Admissions Office, and the Financial Aid Office. Since its first meeting five months ago, the group developed a short document of resources available to veterans ranging from contacts in the College Center for Advising Services to the Veterans’ Benefits Financial Aid Counselor. They also held a training session for advisors and faculty to increase understanding of how to best help military veterans on campus.
As the group establishes itself, they hope to provide military veterans on campus with connections to other veterans, outreach to veterans considering applying, and a community of students veterans with shared experiences very unique from what their peers may have experienced.
The impetus for the project was the personal experience of Legere, who completed his undergraduate education at the Rochester Institute of Technology, beginning at the age of 27 after six years as a sonar tech in the Navy. Now an MBA student at the Simon School, he found the opportunity to develop the sort of organization he would have found helpful as he was entering the academic world.
“Having someone to reach out to with a similar background to ask questions of will go a long way,” Legere said. “I realized there was a void when you get out. When you’re in the military there’s a very strict set of orders. You’re very aware of what you’re supposed to do and when you’re supposed to do it. [Academic life has] so much more freedom. It’s a pretty overwhelming thing.”
Ranked 10th on militaryfriendly.com, the city of Rochester and, by extension UR, were very receptive to Legere’s suggestions.
Director of Student Services at the Simon School Nathan Kadar and Director of the College Center for Academic Support Marcy Kraus had both been looking into ways to improve military outreach, so when Legere approached Simon School administration, his idea was readily received.
“They were very deliberate in their approach,” Legere said. “They didn’t want to dive into until they did the leg work of properly planning out the next action items already defined so that it didn’t get a whole lot of visibility one day and none the next.”
Remus is a member of
the class of 2016.