Supporting student veterans

Today, our country honors its veterans. For about 500 student veterans on campus, today means an honest public recognition of their status as a soldier. With the passing of a new GI Bill over summer, set to go into effect next August, colleges and universities around the country are expecting a large influx of student veterans next year, and are ramping up their veteran transition resources and programs. The University of Minnesota is commendably prepared. Two years ago, a handful of student veterans founded the Veterans Transition Center, a student group to address a void in policies and resources aimed at smoothing the transition between active duty military service and college. Past president Jeremiah Peterson said the group has worked to make changes at the University for veterans, such as creating a separate orientation program for veterans and advocating for fair treatment of student veterans in the classroom. Professors, who know better than to talk about studentsâÄô sexuality or race, would opine on the wars or the work of soldiers, which student veterans considered to be a blatant slap in the face, he said. The new GI Bill, which Peterson helped lobby for in Washington D.C., increases the amount of money for tuition, fees, books and rent where the old GI Bill had just covered rent or tuition for veterans. Because of these changes, a large increase of student veterans is expected nationwide next fall. In addition to todayâÄôs national recognition of the service, the University will celebrate its veteran students on Wednesday. âÄúIf students do see veterans âĦ thereâÄôs nothing wrong with giving us a pat on the back or saying something nice,âÄù Peterson said, but added, âÄúThe only opinion we want to hear is whether you support us or not.âÄù