Pair of UH organizations providing services for veterans
Much like fraternity brothers and sorority sisters, veterans flock together because many share a bond that cannot be broken. The relationship between veterans is almost similar to that between brothers and sisters.
Because of the US’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many veterans today have been, as most military personnel say, “baptized in fire.” In other words, many have seen combat and have returned with a fair share of problems.
UH has two outlets for veterans to seek help: the Veterans Collegiate Society and the Veterans Service Office.
The VSO offers peer-to-peer counseling and veterans work-study programs. It provides referrals for counseling in financial, vocational and academic problems.
“Our job is to help create the holistic student veteran. We don’t just look at grades,” VSO Director Allen Grundy said. “We don’t just look as graduation rates. We look at the total student.
“We look at how the student gets involved. We have a mentoring system to help student veterans. We talk about how to retain students by having a support system.”
The VCS is a student organization that tries to make it easier for veterans to transition from military to student life by encouraging them to help one another. It represents more than a thousand student veterans, Reserve, National Guard and active duty military students.
“We have to help them to be able to survive as a student,” Grundy said.
Most veterans never get involved with either organization because most generally prefer to keep to themselves, but both are making a push to help student veterans become aware of the availability of both outlets.
“We do outreach to feeder colleges where students come to the University of Houston. We have nine feeder colleges, and we attend career fairs,” Grundy said.
According to Grundy, financial issues also affect UH student veterans.
He said that although student veterans are eligible for Pell Grants, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, this governmental help is still insufficient.
“We’re working at making the UH college system and (Veteran’s Affairs) benefits more transparent for veterans,” Quentisha Mason, VSC secretary and public affairs liaison, said. “(We) assist in networking with other veterans for fellowship and academic support and provide access to knowledgeable veterans around campus to assist in any problems veterans face.”