Student Veterans Get Grant to Help Complete New Resource Center

Student veterans at UT will have a new Veterans Resource Center to use this fall.

The center, which will serve as a welcoming space for military students and their families, will be located in Dunford Hall during the fall while its permanent space on the ground floor of John C. Hodges Library is prepared. The Veteran Student Services office, which is part of the Office of the Registrar, will have a presence in the center.

A welcome-back celebration for student veterans will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, in the Veterans Resource Center.

“A student veteran center is important,” said Brent Bennae, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who served in the Marine Corps and the Army, and is now a junior studying animal science at UT. “It gives us a place to escape the pressures of college, or rather escape to a place with like-minded people.

“It can be challenging for veterans just transitioning out of the service to find people to connect with. This student vet center will offer a quiet place for studying and a place to meet other student veterans.”

This summer, UT’s chapter of Student Veterans of America received a $4,784 grant to help furnish the center.

The Vet Center Initiative grant was part of $422,747 awarded by the Student Veterans of America and the Home Depot Foundation to fifty SVA chapters across the country to build or renovate space. The Vet Center Initiative was launched in 2014 as part of SVA’s mission to provide veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.

The idea for the campus’s new Veterans Resource Center came as a recommendation from the Task Force in Support of Student Veterans—now the Veterans Resource Team—which included a student veteran advisory board and other faculty, staff, and student representatives. The task force was established in 2011 to acknowledge the sacrifices of veterans and provide resources and support for veterans at UT.

“More than 475 veterans and more than 375 military spouses and dependents are enrolled as students at UT,” said Jayetta Rogers, veteran student services coordinator. “The resource center is going to be a place where they can find important student success services and also enjoy a camaraderie with other student veterans.”

Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge said student veterans, spouses, and dependents share a special bond.

“We know that students who find their niche on campus and who feel part of the Volunteer community are more likely to succeed,” Alldredge said. “The center will give them a place to network and support each other.”

In 2016, UT was named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media. In 2015, UT was listed among the nation’s top schools for providing support to veterans returning to school by U.S. News and World Report. The university was recognized for its comprehensive support services, including priority registration and participation in the GI Bill program.

 

CONTACT:

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)