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April 27, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University ranked among the top 15% of “Military Friendly” universities nationwide, qualifying for the gold standard.
“Achieving the gold award speaks to the continued improvements of supporting veterans on campus,” EOU’s Veteran Coordinator Kerry Thompson said.
On-campus student veterans are eligible for financial, academic and social support during their higher education experience.
“Each veteran is a little different,” Thompson said. “All of them have different needs for support and EOU does a great job at taking care of our military and veteran students on campus.”
Veterans benefit from reduced tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, priority registration and academic credit for military service.
“Veteran students are not your typical college student. Most of them are older and have been employed in combat situations. They have different life experiences than a normal college student would have,” Thompson said.
EOU recognizes how veterans differ from their peers, which includes providing access to counseling services with professionals who are trained specifically to work with people experiencing PTSD.
In the classroom, professors often integrate the veteran experience into lectures.
“As a nursing student and retired army medic, I feel my professors do great at making lectures relatable to the military experience. They allow me to share my perspective and make suggestions in class,” said student veteran Shelby Lee. “EOU has always treated me well and I have always felt like I can go to my professors and have productive conversations with them.”
Lee is also a member of the Student Veterans Association (SVA) chapter at EOU, which meets in the Veteran Resource Center. This on-campus space provides a designated area where student veterans can participate in peer counseling and mentoring.
“Though under-utilized, our biggest resource on campus is the Veteran Resource Center,” Thompson said.
The center is equipped with a PlayStation, TV, coffee bar, lounge area, computer lab with printers and a meeting area.
“It is nice to have the privacy to discuss life with those who have been through similar experiences as me,” Lee said. “There is a mask we wear in public that we can take off when we get together.”
The Veteran Resource Center is in the process of being relocated to a more central, visible place on campus.
“We want veterans to know we are here and that they are welcome,” Lee said.
For more information, visit eou.edu/veterans.
Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.
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