Josef Gibbs, Staff Writer
With over 400 Veteran students in its population, Stockton University is setting an example for other institutions on how to cater to transitioning student veterans. Thanks to Dr. Jason Babin and the Student VeteransOrganization, (SVO), Stockton has grown into a safe place for vets to assimilate back into the civilian world. Senior Angel Cordero, former Airman and the president of the SVO, has been the face of many positive changes on campus involving veteran students. Angel has revamped veteran involvement on campus, and under his guidance, the SVO has grown exponentially.
In 2019, Cordero, along with his E-board, supervised the opening of the new SVO lounge. The lounge gives vets a much-needed retreat, providing four computers with free printing, a common area, a 65-inch television, and easy access to the Veterans
Administration Office. The SVO also put its stamp on housing at Stockton by cutting out a veterans-only dorm area in the most luxurious housing units Stockton has to offer. “The new lounge gives like-minded people a place to stay since veterans are non-traditional students with similar experiences. Its top of the line and vets have a place they can call their own,” said Senior Tobias Chislom, SVO Vice President.
Cordero says getting vets involved on campus outside of SVO can still be extremely challenging for various reasons. “Each veteran’s transition period, the resources campus provides to ensure that veterans feel valued and a part of the community, diverse backgrounds, and the mindset of not wanting to affiliate themselves with traditional students ultimately hinders the likelihood that veterans will take the time to get involved on campus,” said Cordero.
“With the new lounge, Stockton has also aided veterans with not only counseling but also a place to be around like-minded people. SVO hosts on, and off-campus events and has collaborated with other clubs such as the Pakistani Student Association, Kappa Sigma, and the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Center, further bridging the gap between civilian and veteran students,” Cordero said.
Stockton and the SVO have provided ample opportunity for vets to gain confidence in a leadership role, while simultaneously giving them experience outside the military to strengthen their resume moving forward. Stockton University has approximately a 60% rate in graduation for veterans, which proves how committed the university is to supporting the SVO, and encouraging the smooth transition for students after military life.
“The more comfortable we can make the veteran feel, the more likely it is that they will succeed.”
Categories: Campus Life