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A place to connect with other veterans

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Often resources exist that many people aren’t aware are available, especially for veterans. Best practices for serving student veterans suggest that if a university creates a veterans center, or designated place for veterans to gather, it offers an opportunity for others who have served in the military to feel more connected.

As an example, in an effort to foster a stronger connection with and among student Veterans, National Louis University created a Veterans Lounge on the fourth floor of their Chicago campus at 122 S. Michigan Avenue. It is open from 9:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. M-Th, and until 4:30 p.m. Fridays. The lounge exists for three primary reasons:

  1. To serve as a resource for student veterans who are seeking services
  2. To provide a space for students to gather socially and meet other veterans at NLU
  3. To offer a space for students to study

The NLU Veterans Lounge has individuals — either veterans themselves or from a family with deep military ties — who are responsible for directing students to specific resources they might need. Specifically, if a student veteran comes to the lounge to learn more about career opportunities, they will be connected with Emily Drake, the program’s dedicated Career Development contact. Or perhaps a student veteran is looking for legal support. NLU has a relationship with the John Marshall Law School, which created the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic (VLSC). The VLSC specializes in appealing denied veteran’s benefits claims, including service-connected benefits, pension benefits, survivor benefits and education benefits. If a student veteran is in need of this type of support, a supervisor in the lounge can connect them with someone at the VLSC.

National Louis established a Student Veterans of America chapter, and meetings are held in the lounge. The space also is available for veterans to gather less formally and discuss school, work and life in general as a student veteran.

The lounge has four computers, chairs, couches and a Keurig machine with coffee, hot chocolate, etc. for students to take advantage of and study while they’re on campus.

The effort of National Louis’ Veterans Program is one example of a university that offers a designated space for veterans to meet and connects them with resources they might need. If you’re in need of a specific resource for Veterans, be sure to ask the Director of Armed Services Relations (or the equivalent) at the university you’re considering or currently attend. It might be more accessible than you think.