By Alec Jennings
University News Service
August 31, 2009
"It's about making the Texas State community aware that there are veterans on campus and in the classrooms," said Sheila Bustillos Reynolds, coordinator, retention, management and planning. "As well as welcoming veterans, it's about awareness. We wanted the rest of the community to ask questions."
Along with its efforts to bring awareness, Texas State provides a variety of services and activities for its more than 1,000 veterans. According to Melissa Hyatt, assistant registrar, with the attention the university gives to its students coming out of military service, G.I. Jobs magazine has recognized the institution as one of the top "military friendly" campuses in the country.
"One of their criteria is bringing awareness about veterans to the student population," Hyatt said. "We also offer a number of other services to our veterans from counseling to career services, financial aid advising and others."
Christopher Schave served in the Air Force before coming to Texas State and is president of the Veteran's Alliance, a student organization for veterans to discuss common concerns, learn about university resources or simply to network and socialize with fellow veterans. Schave said there are a variety of concerns a student who is coming out of the military might have that could be foreign to a traditional student.
"You have individuals coming out of combat situations who may need counseling or could have environmental concerns in crowded areas or classrooms," Schave said. "But you also have people who may have questions about managing their financial aid with their resources from the G.I. Bill."
Schave said the age difference between students going to college straight out of high school and older students coming in out of the military can sometimes present a maturity gap. Simply having a place to connect and meet with people of a common experience can be a big comfort for some.
As a part of the university's efforts to welcome veterans to campus and bring awareness to the student body as a whole, a variety of events are being planned. A cake and networking event will be in the Quad Sept. 3. A salute to the troops is planned for the Bobcat football game Sept. 5. A resources fair will be in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 9, and a Veterans Day celebration is in the works for Nov. 11.
Any questions about veteran's resources, services or events can be directed to the Veterans Affairs office at (512) 245-2641 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding the Veteran's Alliance can be directed to Christopher Schave at email@example.com.