Serving veterans

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

How are community colleges serving student veterans?

More than 5 million post-9/11 servicemembers are expected to transition out of the military by 2020, according to a 2015 report by ACE. Many of them will go on to pursue a postsecondary education. In fact, of those who already are enrolling in degree and certificate programs, 38 percent enrolled at a community college.

Most community colleges have worked in the past few years to expand services for veterans. They’ve created veterans centers and brought on dedicated staff to ensure student veterans can get the financial and academic assistance needed to succeed in college.

College of DuPage (COD) in Illinois has served more than 25,000 veterans over the last 50 years. To serve today’s student veterans, the college has a veterans lounge with study area and computers, a dedicated newsletter and counseling services. Events throughout the year are aimed at bringing this community together, including Veterans Encounter, an adventure-based summer field studies course.

For Veterans Day this year, COD will host a celebration to thank and honor all who have served this country on Thursday, Nov. 9. The college also will have a “read-in,” which will feature short presentations by volunteers who will read excerpts from their favorite texts from war and military literature.

Honoring veterans

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, which serves a large number of student veterans, is hosting events all week in honor of Veterans Day. Different military branches will be represented on campus throughout the week, and a ceremony featuring retired military members will be held on Thursday. The college’s annual Fallen Soldiers 5k Run/Walk will take place on Thursday, too. Phi Theta Kappa students have been collecting toiletries for homeless veterans since Nov. 1.

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Ohio will present Modern Warrior Live, a drama sharing a combat veteran’s experiences through words and music. The performance tells the story of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jaymes Poling, who served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division. Poling’s narration is accompanied by a musical score written and performed by acclaimed jazz trumpeter Dominick Farinacci.

Tri-C also will host World War II Tuskegee airman Harold Brown at a Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 9.

Each year, colleges in the San Diego Community College District certify more than 4,000 veterans and their dependents for educational benefits. All the colleges are hosting several events throughout the week to honor and serve veterans. Mesa College will hold a Flag Dedication Fundraiser to support the Veterans of Mesa Scholarship. In addition, the college is holding a social media and networking workshop for veterans and will have a relaxation tent available for veterans.

How will your college recognize Veterans Day this year? How are you serving veterans throughout the year? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.