Student veterans were given tools to help ease the transition from military to college life Aug. 19 in the newly named Student Veterans Assistance Center.
The Student Veterans Kick-off was held Aug. 19 at the Student Veterans Assistance Center on Summit Avenue, formerly the Southwest Environmental Education Training Center.
The building was converted from an old church, and the presentation took place in what used to be the chapel.
The event opened with a talk from retired Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, executive director of the UTA Research Institute. He told The Shorthorn the main thing he wanted student veterans to take out of the event was that they are important to the university.
“They volunteered to serve in the U.S. Military while our nation was at war and now our nation, through the university systems, wants to give back,” Lynch said. “So, the very fact that these youngsters have transitioned from the military to becoming students is important, needs to be acknowledged, and they need to be helped, and that is the purpose of today.”
Attendees enjoyed a light breakfast while the event continued with keynote speaker Sir C.T. Jones, Student Veterans peer academic leader.
“I want them to know there is support, because I know when I first came on campus I felt alone and nervous,” Jones said. “I want to alleviate that stress. There are so many events on campus and there are so many people involved on campus it’s kind of hard to find your fit.”
Jones explained what resources attendees had available to them as veterans and as students at the university. Jones also spoke about making the transition from the military to a university setting and the difficulties that can be encountered. He made connections between things they will deal with as students every day to concepts they mastered in the military.
“You have a military mind and to transfer to civilian life, especially college life, is such a big transition,” Jones said. “To be able to relate it to some things that you already know for a matter of fact, to be able to find that core relation between the two, makes that transition that much easier.”
The event wrapped up with a brief presentation by student officers from the Student Veterans Organization, explaining what the organization is about and how to get involved.
“We’re trying to get out and help the university be more aware of veterans, and then just to kind of get veterans more integrated into the university and the activities the university offers, and allow veteran and nonveteran students interact more,” organization president Justin McCutchen said.