The Jackson County Veterans Support Group, along with Western Carolina University’s Student Veterans Association, will hold the annual military panel discussion, “Unseen Scars,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the A.K. Hinds University Center’s theater.
George Ford, associate professor of construction management, presented a paper titled “Translating United States Military Occupational Specialties Training into College Credit at a Regional, Comprehensive University” at the American Society for Engineering Education conference at New Orleans, Louisiana, in late June.
Six members of Western Carolina University’s Student Veterans Association traveled to Asheville recently to provide volunteer services at the Veterans Restoration Quarters, a 246-bed facility that serves veterans who are in need of transitional housing.
Western Carolina University was recently recognized by several media outlets for the services the university provides to military students.
WCU once again has been named a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media, a Pennsylvania-based company that surveys 7,000 schools nationwide to rate the services they provide to military students. The company recognizes higher education institutions with leading programs for veterans, members of the armed forces who are leaving military service, and military spouses and dependents.
The publication Military Times recently listed WCU in its “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” rankings. The rankings factor in the results of Military Times’ annual survey, a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement. “Best for Vets: Colleges 2016” is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families.
Additionally, WCU has been named a “top school” in the 2016 Military Advanced Education & Transition Guide, which provides a listing of colleges and universities and how they rank in terms of best practices for military and veteran education. WCU was ranked highest in the areas of military culture, flexibility and general support.
WCU’s Office of Military Student Services is part of the university’s Division of Educational Outreach and is based in the Cordelia Camp Building. The office provides personal assistance for military students from the time they apply for admission to the university to graduation day.
“WCU strives to offer all students the best and most reliable resources available, and this is especially true for military students,” said Briana Ford, director of military student services. “To continue offering great service and outstanding support to students, Military Student Services is now offering Green Zone Training, a program for WCU faculty and staff to help them better understand the unique needs of military students. We feel this program will provide valuable information to the WCU community so we can all work together to help military students have a successful educational experience.”
Support groups such as the Student Veterans Association are available to students, as well as veteran counseling services. An on-campus Veterans Resource Center provides military students a place to meet and receive information pertaining to their educations, careers and life needs.
More information about military services at WCU is available at military.wcu.edu or by contacting Ford by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 828-227-3074 or toll-free 866-928-4723.
By Randall Holcombe
The task of overseeing a drive to collect signed holiday cards for distribution to U.S. soldiers deployed around the world might seem like a natural fit for the director of WCU’s Office of Military Student Services. But Briana Ford is motivated to take on that role by another factor – her son, who is in the U.S. Air Force and stationed in Qatar.
WCU’s online bachelor’s degree programs have been listed among the nation’s best options for veterans in a set of rankings released recently by U.S. News & World Report.
Western Carolina University’s Office of Military Student Services and Student Veterans Association have had an active fall semester that has included a holiday card campaign and volunteer work at a picnic held for veterans from around the region.
And, a collection effort for the Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign is on the horizon.
The Military Student Services office has been collecting greeting cards that will be sent during the holidays to veterans in hospitals around the country and to soldiers deployed overseas. Several events held on campus have provided an opportunity for WCU students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, to sign cards, said Briana Ford, certifying official in the office. The cards will be sent to the Red Cross for distribution to various locations.
One last card-signing event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in the lobby of WCU’s Cordelia Camp Building. Also, donations of signed greeting cards would be appreciated, Ford said. Those may be dropped off at the Division of Educational Outreach office in the Cordelia Camp Building through Wednesday, Nov. 27. More information on the card-signing effort and other campus and community events will be available on www.Facebook.com/wcumilitary and on Twitter @WCUEdOutreach.
To mark Veterans Day on Nov. 11, members of the Student Veterans Association and the Military Student Services staff volunteered at the annual Veterans Day picnic sponsored by the Western North Carolina Veterans Council. In addition, Military Student Services honored all WCU military students, faculty and staff with a Veterans Day luncheon on campus that was attended by 55 people. Veterans Day activities included a basketball game at WCU pitting the Catamount men’s team against the men’s team from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and all veterans on campus and in the community were granted free admission to the game by the WCU Department of Athletics. All veterans in attendance were recognized for their service during the game and fans had an opportunity to sign greeting cards, with 402 cards being collected.
As the holiday season progresses, members of the Student Veterans Association will be participating in Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that collects new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to less fortunate children throughout the country. More information about the toy drive will be posted at www.Facebook.com/sva.wcu.
Members of the Student Veterans Association meet on campus twice each month to discuss community projects, share military resource information and promote camaraderie. “The Student Veterans Association is working hard to bring veterans on campus and in surrounding areas closer together to support one another during our transition from soldier to civilian,” said Tyler Pearce, association president. Pearce said he encourages all veterans in the WCU community to get involved with group.
WCU’s Office of Military Student Services offers assistance to military students, whether active duty, reservist, guard members, military dependents or veterans, and the office staff is committed to helping students in their higher learning experiences, Ford said. The office provides information and guidance on applying to WCU, admission processes and course registration; military tuition assistance, vocational rehabilitation and GI Bill funds; and transfer credit for military training and experience. The office also acts as the liaison between the military student and the university’s various academic departments and student support offices. A total of 338 military students currently are enrolled at WCU.
For more information about Military Student Services or how to get involved in WCU’s military community, contact Ford at 828-227-3074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As students enjoyed spring break activities, including service-learning trips to Baltimore, Jamaica, Guatemala and hurricane-damaged communities in New York, about three dozen staff members participated in the WCU Staff Senate’s first Staff Days of Service event.
Western Carolina University has been recognized by Military Advanced Education magazine with a listing in the publication’s 2013 “Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities.”
The WCU Student Veterans Association and Military Student Services are accepting donations to ship to men and women serving overseas in Afghanistan, with collections continuing through Monday, Sept. 3.