South Recognized for Military Student Support
Posted on November 10, 2020
The University of South Alabama will celebrate Veterans Day with a Zoom program Wednesday at noon, along with fresh recognition of its support for military students by the Colleges of Distinction organization.
The Office of Veterans Affairs at South provides certification for G.I. Benefits, along with support for organizations such as Student Veterans of America. Last year, the office added a national volunteer program called PAVE – Peer Advisors for Veteran Education.
The idea is that the best counselor for a veteran is another veteran.
“We’re going through this together,” said Joshua Missouri, associate director of Veterans Affairs at South. “We’re getting through this together.”
Colleges of Distinction, based in Austin, Texas, provides lists of universities in different fields for prospective students. South is one of six colleges in Alabama to be recognized for their support of military students.
The Veterans Day program on Wednesday will feature speakers such as Dr. Jeremy Fletcher, a major in the Army Reserves and assistant professor of physical therapy in the Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions at South. Also appearing will be Dr. Hannah Edwards Hart, a retired yeoman with the United States Coast Guard, Dr. James Averheart Jr., a retired chief warrant officer in the Marine Corps, and John Kilpatrick, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves.
Join the celebration at southalabama.zoom.us/j/93557301402.
In September, South became the first university in Alabama to join PAVE, founded in 2012, which connects new student veterans with peer advisors in order to help them navigate college life, identify challenges they are facing, refer them to the appropriate resource and provide ongoing academic and personal support.
Challenges for servicemen and women include adjusting to civilian life and planning a future outside the military. Going to college on the G.I. Bill is an option for many. Sometimes it’s not that simple.
At the Veterans Affairs office at South, bulletin boards offer phone numbers for programs such as the Veterans Crisis Line. “Signs of crisis,” reads one flier. “Learn to recognize warning flags.”
Many veterans are older students with families and children. Financial worries are common. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t making things any easier.
Students who turn to Veterans Affairs learn of financial aid, academic counseling and networking opportunities. Help is available. There is an office for a mental health social worker, thanks to a partnership with the Gulf Coast Veterans Association.
Missouri, a Navy veteran, graduated from South before returning to campus as a student counselor. When he started college, he didn’t believe he needed any help.
“I was a very hard-headed sailor,” Missouri said. “I thought, I’ve been around the world, I’ve served my country, I can do this. And I couldn’t without help.”
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