New student org offers support to vets exiting military, entering college life
For those attending a college or university with VA education benefits, the veterans affairs office is probably the most important non-academic office on campus. Anna-Marie Detter and Christian Primus, both student professionals in University of Houston-Clear Lake's Capt. Wendell W. Wilson Office of Military and Veteran Services are both veterans who know firsthand the importance of finding support when exiting the military and beginning college life.
Detter, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and Primus, an Army veteran, both received medical discharges after 14 months and 8 ½ years, respectively. Each received the assistance from UH-Clear Lake's Office of Military and Veteran Services they needed to guide them toward the military education benefits that are paying their tuitions.
"The help veterans are looking for is in the people in this office," Detter said. "It's not so much about a program. It's about the people here. We are all veterans, and we've all been through the process of coming out of the military. We have a feel for what they're talking about."
Both Detter and Primus said that all veterans should know to come straight to the Office of Military and Veteran Services when they come to campus. "Everyone in this office knows what veteran students are going through and what they need," Primus said. "As student professionals, Anna-Marie and I are here to help veterans and their dependents gather the information they need to apply for benefits, find out what funding they're eligible for, and direct them to answers."
Primus said that supporting veterans on the UHCL campus is about more than just helping them connect to military education benefits. "We have co-founded the Student Veteran Association last semester," he said. "When I came to the university, there was orientation for transfer students, but not much for transitioning from military to civilian life."
As of fall 2021, UHCL implemented orientation for veteran students as well. "We have just over 700 military-connected students, which includes active duty, reservists, National Guard, veterans and their dependents," said Executive Director of Military and Veteran Services Jason Babin.
Detter said the new organization was open to veterans, students and the community. "Our goal is to better our community by bettering ourselves," she said. "We have catered our events based on what the group is looking for. We have had guest speakers come in to talk about things our veteran students are interested in knowing about."
To date, she said, a veteran certified Realtor has spoken to the group about how to get into real estate and veterans can best use their VA home loans. "We plan to have a speaker talk about financial aid to veterans and their dependents," she said. "Our meetings are every two weeks and student veterans and their dependents are invited."
To find out more about the Student Veteran Association, visit the Office of Military and Veteran Services in the Student Services and Classroom Building, Room 3.201. For more information about services offered to student veterans, go online.