Veterans Welcome Workshop Showcases Resources


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To serve as a resource for student veterans, Jacksonville University hosted a veteran’s welcome workshop on Feb. 21, in the Davis College of Business. Faculty from the registration office, advising center, counseling services, career development, the learning center and more discussed the resources available on campus for incoming student veterans.

“We are your contact people,” Ines Paulino-Chindra, assistant registrar, said. “Whenever you need something, you can come to us and we will try to help you. If we don’t have the answer, we will make sure you leave that office with somebody to go talk to. So feel free to come by.”

Potential barriers for veterans included physical needs such as stress, fatigue, PTSD, depression, injuries and pain. Those with physical needs were directed to the JU Counseling Services, those with social needs were encouraged to get to know faculty and student advisors and interact with other students, those with monetary needs were directed toward Veteran’s benefits office and JU Registrar or the Career Development Center and those with academic needs were transferred to the JU tutoring and learning center.

“Feel free to use JU’s resources because that’s what’s going to help you in your college experience,” Paulino-Chindra said.

One of the resources available to veterans is the Career Development Center. Devan Coughlin, director of the CDC, wanted the students to know the benefits of Phin Connect.

“We do forward resumes out to businesses looking for veterans,” she said. “There are a lot of military friendly organizations here in Jacksonville.”

Along with campus resources, JU welcomed the Jacksonville Vet Center to discuss the services they had available for the student veterans, including individual counseling, group counseling, marital counseling, counseling for family members or problems that coincide with losing a loved one who died on active duty, counseling for warzone related issues and military sexual trauma.

“We know that being in the military can be very stressful,” Carmalita Gaines of the Vet Center said. “Working those long hours—18, 19 hours a day. Trying to sleep at night was very difficult. Other times you’re just trying to get through the day. You’re over here in a foreign country; your loved ones are back there doing their thing. They’re worried about you; you’re worried about them.”

The Vet Center will also help veterans with Agent Orange information and medical referrals, applying for veterans benefits, employment guidance, community education, outreach and more.

“The first thing that you have to do is you have to get them in the door,” Gaines said. “Getting that person in the door and getting them to trust you is something that we really do take to heart. When that person comes through the door, whatever that person shares to that counselor, we cannot share that information by law unless that person is talking about harming a person or harming themselves. Otherwise what you’ve seen, what you’ve done and what you’ve experienced, you can share that with us and we will not reveal that at all. If you have something that you haven’t quite dealt with and you haven’t quite thought about, maybe you have some triggers going on, you can talk to that counselor about it.”

Student veterans in need of assistance can visit any of the campus resources including the Counseling Center located in the Sam Marks Chapel Annex, Academic Advising located in Howard, and Career Development located on the third floor of the Davis Student Commons. Students can also visit for more information about the counseling services offered at the Jacksonville Vet Center.

“We care about you,” Gaines said. “We want to make sure that you are successful, that the quality of life that you choose to have is a good quality of life. Sometimes as veterans we can be a little prideful. If there’s something wrong with us, especially in the military we were told a lot of times to suck it up, you got to work through it. Work through the pain, work through the sadness, work through going from place to place and not being around your family for a long time because that’s what we signed up for. But that’s not what you have to endure.”

The next information session for veterans will be held on Monday, March 4, from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Davis College of Business room 159.

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