In response to Jan. 29 article: ‘Student veterans search for renewed camaraderie, group recognition’

By Letter to the Editor, by Kari L. Sommers

I would like to clarify the reasons behind Student Life’s decision to create a new space for student veterans at the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion. 

Student Life relocated the student veterans’ office to the SDI after a year of examining the benefits that this would provide to student veterans—and to the student body at large. Student Life staff had observed that fewer student veterans were utilizing the student veterans’ space and made every effort to gather feedback from student veterans of their needs. Our staff also discussed this with the student veteran adviser—a veteran who assists student veterans with their GI bill coverage and other financial services—and with staff who managed the student veterans’ space. To help create more awareness among student veterans of campus space and resources available to them, and to expand their interaction with the larger student body, Student Life relocated the student veterans’ space to SDI.

At the SDI Office, student veterans can receive additional support and access to resources. These include, but are not limited to, open space for socialization; meeting spaces and conference rooms; on-site staff assistance; a resource room and meditation room; a computer lab; and a kitchenette, which includes a microwave, toaster, refrigerator and a coffee/tea station.

Most importantly, our student veterans have a great deal to contribute to the conversation about diversity and inclusion. Moving the student veterans’ space to a more prominent location will help to bring their voices to the center of this conversation. Since this relocation, I’m happy to say that more student veterans have been utilizing the space.

We will continue to advance the college’s goal of creating an inclusive environment for all of our students.

Kari L. Sommers, associate dean,

Student Life