SUU’s Veterans Center Secures $28k in State Support

Published: November 15, 2021 | Author: Lawrence Mbaki | Category: Academics

SUU Veterans Resource and Support CenterSouthern Utah University's Veterans Resource and Support Center recently secured $28,000 in annual grant funding from the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs to support the 2021-2022 academic year. The majority of funding will support the veteran success specialist position, which serves as a personal mentor and coach to SUU’s military-connected students. Additional funds will be used to furnish the Veterans Center lounge area, train staff, and hold events. 

The term “military-connected students” includes military veterans, active-duty military personnel, reservists, guards, or dependents who may be utilizing the educational benefits of a member of the armed forces. The purpose of SUU’s Veterans Center is to graduate military-connected students by delivering programs and services designed to recruit, retain, and support these students as they pursue their educational goals and achieve skills needed to lead productive and meaningful lives.

Veterans Center Director Mike Miller worked with the SPARC office on campus to secure continued funding for the veteran success specialist position. He believes this position is essential to the success of the students served by the center. Miller served in the Army and began his role as director in June of this year. 

“The Veterans Center is a safe space for all our military-connected students to relax, study, collaborate, and—above all—it is a place that can be used to strengthen the opportunities to sustain their academic success,” said Miller. 

Veteran Success Specialist Amy Ellington, a US Army spouse for about 12 years and SUU graduate, has held the position since August 2019. One benefit of her position is to see all the unique skills and outlooks that SUU student veterans and military-dependent students bring to the academic setting. However, the transition is not always easy for these students. As a career in the armed forces provides an environment of such concise structure, comradery, and daily opportunities to do something extraordinary, adapting to university and civilian life can be difficult.

“SUU’s Veterans Center is here to bridge that gap between university and civilian life," said Ellington. "My position affords me the opportunity to provide resources and support to our military-connected students—and not just academically, but professionally and mentally as well.”

Establishing a meaningful and cooperative relationship with military-connected students during their first three semesters at SUU is key. As such, Ellington strives to provide guidance in as many aspects of university life as possible to set the foundation that will carry student veterans and dependents through to graduation. Ellington has conducted over 550 meetings with students in the last year alone but also welcomes a constant flow of walk-ins to answer questions, provide a safe environment to express concerns, or just shoot the breeze.

Time and again SUU proves the student is the key to the University's success. Learn more about the Veterans Resource and Support Center at SUU


Tags: SPARC Veterans Center

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