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Veterans’ organizations fight for those who have served

Washington State University Vancouver strives to be a campus that supports its veterans. Several clubs and outreach programs are available on campus for veterans, and cover a wide variety of the potential needs of veterans in the Washington State University Vancouver community. Currently, there are approximately 180 veterans on campus, and that number is only expected to grow with time, said Tiffany Plous, the Veterans Corps navigator for WSU Vancouver. Plous is a 14-year Army veteran and, in addition to her work in the Veterans Corps, enrolled in the spring of 2013. Plous is available to help veterans navigate the benefits offered as a result of their military service.

Two veterans outreach programs on campus are the Veterans Club and Associated Students and the soon-to-be open Veterans Center. The Veterans Club was formed to be a resource veterans can utilize to be with those who have similar experiences and outlooks as them. According to Plous, the Veterans Club partly was formed because veterans found it “important to reestablish the camaraderie they had while they were in the military.” Additionally, the club provides an opportunity for former service men and women to share information about resources pertaining to veterans. The Veterans Club is also a place where veterans can go to simply interact with other fellow service members. Through monthly meetings and the distribution of information fliers, the Veterans Club strives to reach out to the veteran community on campus.

In addition to the Veterans Club, a dedicated Veterans Center is scheduled to have its grand opening on Thursday Nov. 6; however, the doors are currently open. The center is designed to be a resource for veterans on campus to find information about their benefits and help them navigate their college career. Information is not the only service provided, though. Several computer work stations have been provided, as well as a printing station, free food and coffee. The Veteran’s Center is also designed to be a safe place for veterans to connect with others and to find comfort. If a student simply wants to use the center as a place to relax, it is available.

Plous said that one out of eight veterans will commit suicide. With this statistic in mind, Plous said that “It’s a place to just come feel understood, or not alone.” In order to better cater to the unique needs of veterans, Plous said that the center has a whiteboard for users to write suggestions and ideas for improving the center and also allows for visitors to reach out to fellow service men and women.

While the Veterans Center is designed to cater specifically to veterans, the Veterans Club and Associated Students is open to both veterans and students seeking to be involved with the veteran community. The club tries to bridge the gap between service members and the general student population, so that students can get to know the veterans on campus and interact more with them. Plous said that getting involved with the Veterans Club is also a great way for those who are considering joining the military to learn more from veterans about their options.

Those seeking to become involved with campus veterans affairs can find the Veterans Club and Associated Students page on CougSync. The Veterans Center is located in the classroom building room 212. Inquiries regarding the Veterans Center can be directed to Tiffany Plous by email, t.pruett.plous@vancouver.wsu.edu.

 

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