DeSales Opens Office of Veterans and Military Services
Student veterans at DeSales University have a new resource to help guide them through their college careers.
The University has opened an Office of Veterans and Military Services in Dooling Hall. The goal is to give student veterans a central point of contact on campus.
“We want [veterans] to know we value what they bring to the DeSales community and we are here to support them.”
Joann Haws, Director of the Office of Veterans and Military Services
“It sends a message to student veterans that they have a place where they can feel comfortable,” says Joann Haws, director of the office. “They come to learn that we understand the challenges of transitioning into civilian life and entering the world of higher education. We want them to know we value what they bring to the DeSales community and we are here to support them.”
Along with Haws, Judy Schwartz serves as the office coordinator. Helping veterans has always been near and dear to both of their hearts. Schwartz’s son served in Iraq and both she and Haws are the daughters of veterans.
“We have the same passion for the veterans,” says Schwartz. “It’s more than just an office; it makes such a difference.”
Schwartz handles the education benefits and submits all the required paperwork—from enrollment to graduation—to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Haws works to recruit student veterans, advises them once they’re on campus, and helps to connect them to whatever resources they may need.
“It’s across the board,” Haws says. “I have advised students that just needed to sit and chat. It’s kind of like being a cheerleader and mom and academic advisor.”
The office plans to partner with veteran-friendly businesses to offer student veterans internships and jobs. It’s also joining forces with the Career Development Center and Academic Resource Center to offer everything from tutoring and resume writing to yoga classes.
“Yoga is a very big thing with veterans,” says Haws. “Kathy Krause [coordinator for experiential learning] is going to lead a class with them once or twice a month. We’re really excited about that.”
The Office of Veterans and Military Services is the latest tool to help veterans on DeSales’ campus. Last year, a group of student veterans created DeSales Vets for Vets, a chartered chapter of Student Veterans of America, which focuses on addressing the needs and concerns of military veterans in higher education. Members of the group can often be found in the Veterans Lounge, which is located right next door to the new office.
“These veterans have become close friends, depend on each other, and help each other,” says Schwartz. “If we didn’t have the Veterans Lounge, none of that would be happening. It’s just fantastic.”
Members of DeSales Vets for Vets are currently planning to paint a mural on the wall outside the lounge and new veterans office. An open house and ribbon cutting are being planned for late March.