A new Veterans’ Center funded by the Keyes Trust fund will be opening in the Campus Center by spring term.
The Veterans’ Center will be a place for veteran students to go, spend time and share similar experiences with other veteran students.
The center will also provide resources for veterans including college advising, veteran benefits, financial aid and transition resources, according to Gordon Price, Central Oregon Community College’s director of student life.
“We could also eventually have a counselor come in,” said Price.
Over the last year or two, according to Price, COCC’s student life members have been talking about how to expand services to veterans.
“We created a list of ways to help support veterans. One way was to create a center or space for veteran students to come together in a place where they can feel safe and comfortable sharing their experiences, especially as it pertains to transitioning from military life to civilian life,” said Alicia Moore, COCC’s dean of student and enrollment services.
“Military life is very ordered and structured, and in the civilian world we expect students to advocate for themselves,” said Moore. “It’s a very different way of thinking … so this will help aid in that transition.”
The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has assigned Martin Ornelas as the campus veteran service officer. He currently works in a student life center office two weeks a month.
“He (Ornelas) works to provide assistance for all aspects of veteran students,” said Moore.
The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is paying for his services according to Price. All other expenses for furnishing the center will be covered by the Keyes Trust fund.
“The biggest challenge was trying to find funding,” said Price. “At the end of fall term 2010 we found there was money from the Keyes Trust. The Keyes Trust is a trust fund that the college has that was given many years ago. It goes to support wide aspects of the college.”
The Keyes Trust will allot about $8,500 for the furnishings and cover all other expenses of the Veterans’ Center.
“When they open I plan on going in there and seeing what they have to offer,” said Jesse Armstrong, a COCC student and a United States Marine Corps four-year veteran.
There are estimated to be over 180 veteran students currently attending COCC, according to Moore. She believes that number has gone up recently.
“We are very excited to provide this service for veterans, and to provide opportunities for them to succeed,” said Moore.
The Center will provide:
- College advising
- Help with financial aid
- Veteran’s benefits
- Transistion resorurces
- Funded by Keyes trust
- Opening by Spring term 2011
Lauren Hamlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org