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Creating a welcoming environment

Suggestions for non-veteran students

It's important for non-veteran students to be aware of:

Common misperceptions regarding veterans

  • All male
  • Politically conservative
  • Pro-NRA
  • From the southern US
  • Fought in combat
  • Have mental health issues
  • Less academically prepared

Questions that are inappropriate

  • "Have you ever shot or killed someone?"
  • "You were in Iraq, what do you think of the war?"
  • "Did you see anyone die?"
  • "How is the war doing? Are we winning?"
  • "Do you own a gun?"

National statistics about student veterans

  • 1 out of 10 veterans is female
  • 26% of all military undergrads are female
  • 60% of the nation's vets live in urban areas
  • Over one-third of the veteran population lives in six states: California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio
  • It is estimated that 20% of the Operation Iraqi Freedom(OIF)/Operation Enduring Freedom(OEF) forces will suffer from PTSD
  • 20% of OIF/OEF may have traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Become a veteran advocate

Educate yourself about the challenges student veterans face. Be responsible for understanding veterans' needs and educating others about the reality of who our veterans are. If you hear other students discussing veterans inappropriately, speak up. Let them know the truths and misconceptions about vets.

Contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services

We are always looking for students who are interested in getting involved with the various populations on our campus, including veterans.

Suggestions for faculty and staff 

Ways that the campus community can create a more "veteran-friendly" campus.

Facilitate connections among veterans

Opportunities for identifying veterans

  • Admissions and enrollment processes
  • Contacts with the veterans' service office
  • Distribution of student veterans' information (listservs, social networking, contact lists)

Establish a student veterans organization

UMass Dartmouth has a Student Veterans Association. For more information, contact Alexander Moulton.

Designate a physical space for veterans

  • A gathering place for facilitating student veteran connections
  • Can include a lounge space, offices, meeting spaces, study resources, and other amenities

Educate the campus community about veterans

There are many stereotypes about veterans that may lead to inappropriate and uncomfortable questions. Be aware of these stereotypes and educate others (faculty, staff, students) about them. Learn more about who our veterans actually are.

Become an advocate for student veterans

  • Contact the Center for Access and Success for more information
  • Educate yourself and others about student veterans
  • Work to understand the needs of our veterans

Recognize veterans within the campus community

  • Celebrations of our veterans on campus: Veterans Day events, Veterans Memorial
  • Graduation recognition: regalia items to be worn by student vets at graduation to signify their service
  • Course registration and withdrawal support: for active duty members called to or returning from service in the middle of the semester
  • Acknowledgment of service: letters or receptions thanking veterans for their service
  • Alleviating financial burden of departure: full or partial refunds for tuition, fees, books
  • Support during deployment: care packages from campus

Resources to improve your education of student veterans

Source: Education Advisory Board

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