New students attend a previous year's Veterans Welcome Orientation.
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The Pat Tillman Veterans Center organizes the welcome events every fall and spring as part of its mission to empower and support the veteran and military community as they pursue academic and personal success, said Matt Schmidt, assistant director of outreach for the center.
“Our new student welcome is critical to the short- and long-term success of our students, because the new relationships that are started here and the opportunity for incoming students to get a clear idea of the resources available to them will aid in empowering them to take ownership of their future at ASU,” Schmidt said.
The Veterans Welcome will introduce students to military advocate Michelle Loposky along with other Pat Tillman Veterans Center staff members. Attendees will also learn about the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits through the VetSuccess on Campus program managed locally by Troy Rundle.
“In order to understand the complexities of VA benefits, come to these sessions,” said Marisa Von Holten, Air Force veteran and student. “The experts can answer your questions in person, and you’ll start opening doors and making connections before classes even start.”
There will also be opportunities to speak with other student veterans who’ve been here and can provide firsthand accounts of the ASU experience, as well as give valuable advice on various topics.
Schmidt also has some key advice to veterans just starting their ASU journey.
“Seek opportunities to help fellow students,” he said. “If you are known as someone that is always there for other people, other people will be there for you when you need it most.”
He also encourages all students to ask questions and be curious.
“There are a lot of opportunities at ASU,” Schmidt said. “The more curious you are about finding out what is available, the more likely you are to find that ‘thing’ that really inspires you.”
Von Holten, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in justice studies and has been at ASU since 2015, also has beneficial, practical tips that apply to all students, not just veterans.
“Remain open to every encounter, learn something new from a stranger every day, and don’t skip reading the syllabus,” she said. “Jot down your due dates at the beginning of the semester and have a plan. Most importantly, save ‘me’ time weekly to forget work, school and life stresses. Stick to your hobbies and balance life.”
The fall semester will bring to campus and online a total of about 7,000 veterans and military-affiliated students, including family members. This makes ASU one of the public universities with the highest military-affiliated student enrollment per capita in the nation.
ASU is an attractive choice for students because here they can earn their degree and much more. The Pat Tillman Veterans Center is constantly seeking to create and connect veterans to opportunities, said Steve Borden, the center’s director.
“We want them to think about not just earning their degree,” Borden said. “For example, what would it be like to take that degree and add to it undergraduate research opportunities, an internship, a specific kind of study abroad, a work-study program to help them get some experience in the career field they want to use their degree in after they graduate?”
Many other universities are solely focused on veteran retention and graduation but not thinking about how to expand the education opportunities for veterans, Borden said.
“We’re trying to take an innovative or different approach to getting vets to think about the full scope of what they can do here,” Borden added.
For more information about the Veterans Welcome events, including time and locations, go here.