NC State’s active duty, veteran and ROTC populations have a brand-new resource on campus to help meet their specific – and sometimes unique – needs.
The Military and Veteran Resource Center – opened on the first floor of Witherspoon Student Center on Nov. 28 – aims to provide a one-stop shop for students who are connected to the military to get information about campus resources such as academic support, housing, health care or to simply to make connections with others from similar backgrounds.
Adjusting to the responsibilities of being a college student is rarely easy, but service members face unique challenges. As many opt to pursue a college education after completing their military service, or generally later in life, these individuals are often older than their campus peers. Their life experiences differ significantly from those of students who are not affiliated with the military. The transition from a structured military setting into a university environment may present frustrations or challenges. Some may struggle to balance coursework and scheduling with ongoing military responsibilities. Additionally, they may live off campus or have family obligations at home, making it difficult to get to know fellow students or to feel connected to the campus community. New students may also find the process of seeking out necessary resources, many of which are spread across campus, to be daunting.
The Military and Veteran Resource Center will reduce those hurdles, allowing students to efficiently gain access to the many services and resources that are available at NC State, says Nicholas Drake, the new director of military and veteran services who is entering his 11th year of military service.
“I’m most excited about establishing a partnership with the greater community, because there are so many organizations that want to work with and hire this population after they graduate,” Drake said.
Drake is also committed to creating a sense of community and pride for service members. The resource center will provide opportunities for servicemen and women to gather socially and participate in experiences such as service learning and the Student Veteran Summit, part of Wolfpack Welcome Week.
Providing resources that are specific to the experiences of service members has become a best practice in higher education, Drake says. As greater numbers of military personnel seek to advance their education, institutions across the country are finding innovative ways to support this population.
NC State has a rich military history, steeped in tradition. Recently, the university was rated as a military-friendly university by Military Friendly, an independent survey-driven publishing organization.
“In recent years, NC State has taken great strides toward providing a campus community that is inclusive and welcoming for our military population,” Drake said. “This center is another crucial step toward ensuring that we are equipped to meet the needs of our servicemen and women.”