Military Student Services and the VCU Community

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Fighting during World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Nov. 11 became known as Armistice Day and was officially commemorated in the United States in 1919. The day of remembrance was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

From the very beginning with our university’s origin in 1838, student-veterans have been an integral part of the learning community. As always, I am grateful for the student-veterans who have chosen to further their education at VCU.

Today’s guest post is by Stephen Ross, Director of Military Student Services (MSS) at VCU. Stephen and his colleagues do exemplary work to ensure VCU student-veterans, active duty military and their families receive the resources they need to excel at the university.

 

Located in Grace E. Harris Hall, Military Student Services is a one stop shop for all military-affiliated students and faculty. Our number one mission is to process the GI Bill for all qualified students. At Military Student Services we process about 1,100 student requests for Veterans Administration educational benefits each semester.

The support we provide does not end with processing educational benefits, though. When the Veterans Administration implements a change, it is quite often our office that works students to explain to them on how the VA changes will impact them. Because our students rely heavily on these funds, we work to cut through red tape to quickly get our students needed funding as fast as possible.

The military-affiliated students we support are veterans, dependents and active duty service members. Each group can have different needs and qualifies for different educational benefits. Military Student Services also offers a multitude of support programs, social opportunities for students to connect, and events with guest speakers.

Our work space is an excellent location for students to study, gather and support one another. We offer monthly pizza days are sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project and other Richmond organizations. MSS also hosts networking events where special guests that are asked to make a 30-second elevator pitch on how they can help military-affiliated students.

We have working relationships with VCU College of Engineering, VCUarts, VCU School of Business, Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and partner with many other programs at the university. Through partnering with these academic departments, we are able bring veteran-students opportunities and VCU to the Richmond veteran community. Programs such as Creativets, QLPlus, and The Mighty Pen Project are just a few examples of the many opportunities that MSS has  to offer VCU veterans support.

Last but not least, VCU veteran-students collaborate with MSS staff to offer the Green Zone. Created at VCU in 2010 and revamped in 2016, the nationally recognized program educates faculty and staff on student transition from military service to student life at our university. I am proud of the important work done by VCU veteran-students and MSS to assist and educate the university community.