Tennessee State University now has a variety of services specifically designed to help veterans succeed in college while transitioning from military life to civilian life.
The University has been designated a Certified Vets Campus, which designation comes on the heels of the formation of a TSU Student Veterans Association.
At the annual Veterans Day ceremony on campus Tuesday to recognize the contributions of the nation’s veterans and service men and women, Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president of Academic Affairs, announced that the Certified Vets designation recognizes the University’s effort in providing support for prior service members who want to pursue further education.
“This designation means that the University provides support services especially for veterans to ease their transition from military service to college life,” Hardy said, as he welcomed former service men and women, faculty, staff, students and visitors on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was on travel.
Veterans on campus often make several transitions at the same time, Hardy said.
“Some are transitioning from military life to civilian life while adjusting to the ins and outs of college,” he noted. “Many are nontraditional students with spouses and children, who need help in navigating their way. We help them find resources or put them in the right direction for help to make their educational experience more rewarding.
And the experience is even more rewarding and helpful if it is students helping students.
That’s why three prior servicemen and current TSU students have come together to form the TSU Student Veterans Association to help their fellow veterans reintegrate into campus life and succeed academically.
Former Army Chief Warrant Officer Brent Warner, of Santa Maria, California; Navy Petty Officer Ayele Tegegne, of Anaheim, California; and Army Staff Sgt. David Potter, of Detroit, are all junior Mechanical Engineering majors, who served at various times and decided to return to college.
“Today’s veterans face numerous obstacles in their path of attaining a college degree,” said Warner, president of TSVA. . “Missing a sense of camaraderie to feeling like an outsider among 18-year-old traditional students to a lack of understanding by faculty, are major challenges for many of these students.”
In some instances, when these challenges are coupled with the “visible and invisible wounds of war,” a college degree can be an elusive goal for men and women returning from military service.
The TSVA helps student veterans understand and know about available resources such as financial aid, scholarship opportunities, online classes, mentoring, as well as advocates for veterans by helping university officials learn about issues that vets face.
Warner said their goal is to become a chapter of the Student Veterans of America, as an officially recognized student group that provides a peer-to-peer network for veterans who are attending TSU. Membership to TSVA is open to all but to vote and vie for an elected post you must be a veteran or a current service man or woman.
For more information on the TSU Certified Vets Campus call Student Support Services at 615-9637001. To reach the TSVA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The TSU Veterans Day program included a wreath-laying ceremony, and tribute by former TSU President, Dr. Melvin N. Johnson. University administrators, faculty, students, staff and visitors attended the program in the Amphitheater.