Ian V. Jacks
03 October 2018
Student Veterans Association
The aim of the Student Veterans Association is to provide student veterans an environment to succeed with academic and personal goals. Today’s veterans face tremendous obstacles in their path to degree attainment. These challenges range from missing sense of camaraderie to a lack of understanding by university faculty and peers. When coupled with the visible and invisible wounds of war, a college degree often seems an elusive goal for men and women entering or returning to college from military service. The Student Veterans Association seeks to help make that goal a reality. Their vision is that all veterans will succeed in higher education, achieve their academic goals, and gain meaningful employment. Their mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. Overall, the group helps veterans obtain a higher education by providing resources, support, and advocacy and helping fill the void of the camaraderie that you have while serving in the United States military.
Veterans coming back from an active duty and transitioning back to civilian life are attending universities and colleges all over the United States using money granted to them from a congressional bill. The United States government passed the bill which is called GI bill in 1941. This bill provided veterans coming back from World War II with financial compensation to attend college and receive a degree in a place of higher learning. The bill was suspended in 1956, fourteen years after World War II ended. By 1956, almost 10 million veterans had received GI Bill benefits and it had helped grow the economy as forty seven percent of college attendees were veterans. Luckily, in 2008, the United States pass the post 9/11 GI Bill which provided all active duty service members on September 10th, 2001 and all that came after with educational benefits. This has allowed even more veterans who have been honorably discharged or discharged with a service connected disability to attend trade school, college or an university and receive a higher education. The GI Bill had and is providing veterans the opportunity to get quality jobs after their quality and most honorable service to our country.
The shared value of the University of Oklahoma’s Student Veterans Association is camaraderie. After serving in the United States military, veterans who come back from duty experience a void in their life while transitioning from the military to the civilian world. That void is filled with camaraderie. By filling the void with camaraderie it helps transition the veterans coming back from active duty to the civilian life by assilimanating them back into the civilian culture by using their fellow veterans as means to find a new purpose in their life and to help carry them to their goal of achieving a higher education through means of trade schools, colleges and universities. The University of Oklahoma’s Student Veterans Association meets every Saturday that the university football team has a home game and they have a tailgate on the southwest corner of Lindsay and Asp Avenue. The tailgates help veterans find others like them that are also attending the University or are alumni of the University who have or are assimilating or assimilated back into the culture of the civilian world and received degrees or certificates which have allowed them to get jobs and viable means of employment.
Other than helping fellow veterans further their education and finding means of employment, the Student Veterans Association’s shared value of camaraderie has another purpose. That purpose is potentially saving a life by keeping their fellow veterans from commiting suicide. After adjusting for differences in age and sex, risk for suicide is twenty two percent higher among veterans when compared to United States non-veteran adults. To put that into perspective, that’s twenty veterans ending their own lives every day. More and more veterans are commiting suicide as the factors such as post traumatic stress, combat-guilt such as survivors guilt, and physical disabilities as a result of war. Although suicide rates increased during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, long deployments and or frequent deployments have not been labeled a direct link to increased suicide rates. Alcohol abuse has however been linked as a factor in the increase of suicide rates. Another factor that has been discovered by research studies was found while speaking to families of service members and veterans who committed suicide. Many of the families said that when the service members were experiences mental health issues they did not report it or seek help because they didn’t want it to disqualify or hurt their careers in the military and their civilian careers after.
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Abramson, Larry. “Study: Rising Military Suicide Rate Not Linked To Deployment.” NPR, NPR, 6 Aug. 2013, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=209584956.
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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. “Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.” Learn to Communicate Assertively at Work, 1 Sept. 2016, www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2951.
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