With the ASUN elections heating up, it is time for student leaders to hear the voices of all students on campus. Non-traditional students play an active part in the Nevada community; they sometimes fade into the background of student life because they have different priorities than their millennial student peers.
The Serve On Student Veterans of America campaign, is working to raise awareness and create dialogue about the importance of non-traditional students such as student veterans at the University of Nevada, Reno, through a national competition.
The university is one of the top military-friendly schools, paving the way for resources and tending to the wants and needs of non-traditional student veterans.
When I was a little girl my mom would make me go up to men and women in military uniform and say, “Thank you for your service,” to show appreciation and support for those who fight for our country. But research shows this isn’t exactly what student veterans at the university want from their student and administrative peers.
The student-run campaign found that student veterans want to be recognized for continued service in their families, in their education and in their community. This reaches the very heart of the Serve On movement.
If we serve on as a university community and listen to the needs of student veterans, we will find that priority registration, VetSMART and career programing are at the forefront of what student veterans want to see from their administration and student leaders.
The university is one of the only colleges in Nevada that does not have priority registration for student veterans. Student veterans tend to be older with families and jobs, so having priority registration will greatly benefit them due to the time constraints and GI Bill. The GI Bill pays for their education, and if student veterans are unable to get four classes that pertain to their major their GI Bill is reduced. The GI Bill has provided an education for 14 Nobel Prize winners, three Supreme Court justices, three presidents, a dozen senators and two dozen Pulitzer Prize winners. Having priority registration will allow student veterans to impact the economy faster than a typical student.
VetSMART’s Veteran Services Office and VITAL Initiative’s program strive to inform faculty and staff at the university so that they better understand the veteran and military culture in the community. Currently there are only 72 faculty members at the university who have been trained regarding student veterans, a small number that seemingly calls for more faculty to know about VetSMART and the benefits that it will have on the student veteran community.
Career programming is the main interest for student veterans on the university campus. During their time in college, student veterans would appreciate different networking events that can increase their ability to get a job in the future. Networking and career fairs specific to non-traditional students will provide them with the necessary means of support from their peers.
The Serve On campaign, which strives to increase awareness on UNR’s campus and in the Reno community about student veterans, as well as increase the support and networks for these deserving individuals, is a step in the right direction to making the voices of non- traditional students on campus feel like their voice is being heard.
Lindsay Honaker studies journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.