01 November 2011

Iowa City Center is Outpost for Student-Vets

U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs blogger Alex Horton recently observed:
When veterans return from deployments and get out of the military, the campus can be an attractive place to start the next chapter of life. It can also be a place with unique challenges of reintegration, like a younger peer group and the juggling of family or career life. So, veterans are usually called nontraditional students, but that doesn’t mean universities understand or always prepare for their needs. But some schools have started to understand the need for veteran-specific programs and services on campus.
The University of Iowa, for example, has a Veterans Center located on the first floor of the UI Communications Center on Madison Street, downtown Iowa City. The center serves a growing population of students who are serving, or who have served, in military uniform. Currently, the veterans number more than 400 on campus, and enrollment anticipated to increase to more than 600 students next year.

Think of it as an outpost, where people speak fluent military-ese, don't flinch at mixing camouflage patterns, and may have even once walked in your boots for a time.

According to the center's website:
  • The center is staffed by veterans and is designed to ensure that student veterans at the University receive all benefits to which they are entitled. The center is home to the University of Iowa Veteran's Association (UIVA), which serves as liaison between the university and student veterans, and works to address issues specific to student veterans.
  • Assistance and information can be provided regarding issues and benefits such as: housing grants and loans, medical services, and credit hours awards for military service, among others.
  • In addition, the lounge offers comfortable seating, several networked computers, fridge/freezer, microwave, big screen TV, and pop/snacks are available for purchase.
  • The center is generally open weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but calling ahead is advisable: 319.384.2020; 319.335.3152.
The website further describes the University of Iowa Veterans Association (UIVA) as:
[A] group of veterans and supporters interested in helping veterans and returning reservists at The University of Iowa adjust to and integrate into university life. Additionally, the group aims to support persons still serving as well as their families, and to raise awareness among fellow students of the daily sacrifices made on their behalf.

This is not a pro-war or anti-war group. It is a pro-service member group for veterans, reservists, and supporters. People of all political ideologies are welcome.

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