MOLLY SCHRADER/ TEJANO TRIBUNE
Student-veterans seeking information can visit Tanya Rico, Asisstant Director
Veterans Resource Center, at the Valle Verde Student Services Building in Room S139.
With a year and a couple of months of experience, the Veterans Resource Center is ready to be of assistance this fall to EPCC’s student veterans.
Today, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., veterans with a valid form of military and EPCC ID can visit the Valle Verde Americana Language Village for a barbecue. To RSVP, call 831-2053.
“We’re inviting all of the veterans to come by, it’s just basically to network with each other to see other veterans on campus,” Tanya Rico, Assistant Director Veterans Resource Center, said.
In last week’s issue, Rico discussed with the Tejano Tribune how eligible veterans can partake in the “Lending Books for Veterans” program.
In a recent follow-up interview, she explained other ways veterans can take advantage of the resources the department offers.
“The Veterans Resource Center is a one-stop place. We have a lounge area, we have a TV for them.
One of the things we’re doing is we’re creating new student orientations targeted specifically to the veterans,” Rico said.
The first new student orientation, in which breakfast will be served, will be on Nov. 15 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Administrative Services Center Building B, Room 336.
The deadline to RSVP is on Nov. 10 at 831-2398.
Prior to the event, Rico is also looking for a veteran interested in becoming an orientation leader with basic computer skills and who can speak before a large group.
For student-veterans who would like to help the resource center on a larger scale, Rico touched base on their new “peer mentor” program.
She is seeking senior veterans who “are able to identify resources to succeed in the educational environment.”
Once hired, a senior veteran will be paired up with a new student-veteran to provide guidance through the semester.
“The peer mentor program is designed to senior veterans that have been here longer than two semesters and can mentor new veterans that are just coming in.
They can show them around campus and show them any resources available to them. Some of them don’t know where to go to get their benefits started.
You have a senior veteran who’s already done it and who’s already gone through that process they can mentor them and show them ‘This is what you need to do.
I’ll show you how to do this, I’ll show you how to do that.’ Its veteran to veteran,” Rico said.
The aforementioned “Lending Books for Veterans” program is just one of the proposals out of the several measures Rico has in the works for EPCC’s veterans.
However, she wanted to stress the importance of this program as not all GI Bill benefits, such as chapter 31, provide books to veterans.
Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (Chapter 30) and Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) are ones which do not cover textbooks for veterans. Rico added that, “It’s a variation of different courses.
It’s not just the math, it’s not just the reading. We have a variation of different courses the most popular courses that are being taken here. That just started this fall and we’re looking to expand it and have it grow.”
Considering that the resource center has been open for a little over a year, students might notice that there is currently no club specifically geared for veterans.
The equivalent, Student Veterans of America Association, is being advertised in the center for those interested.
“We want to have a club here, a chapter.
We don’t have one so we need to create this chapter in order to have military club on campus so we’re asking them to come here and visit the office and sign up for it.
They’ve had one before and we don’t have one right now so we want to get it started,” Rico said.
Room S139 is also intended to be a place of peace for veterans looking to wind down before or after class.
Behind the front desk are couches, a lounge chair, a television and a coffee machine.
“We have snacks to offer them and we have waters to offer them.
They’ll sit here for 20 minutes to an hour, it varies.
The center doesn’t close, its open so they’re allowed to be here for lunch,” Rico said.
The center provides a separated workspace with computers and a printer as well.
Rico lastly showed off the meditation room, “If a student comes in with any anxiety or any frustration and they need some time to vent, to just relax, it’s a quiet room.
They can go in and de-brief, close the door and just meditate.
Maybe school’s getting a little hard, maybe some issues are going on at home and school has just triggered it.”
To find out more information or get your benefits started, call the Veterans Resource Center at 831-2053 or visit the Valle Verde Student Services Building, Room S139.