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UALR receives grant to renovate Student Veteran Center

Kathy Oliverio, UALR director of military student success, stand at VFW Post 9095 in Little Rock.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has been awarded a $9,963 grant from Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation to renovate space on campus to create a Student Veteran Center.

UALR was one of 50 universities to receive a grant of up to $10,000 to build or renovate centers for veterans attending college. Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation awarded a total of $422,747 to the universities.

“Veterans have always been an important population of the UALR student body,” said Kathy Oliverio, director of military student success for the university. “With expected growth of the veteran student population and the needs that the veterans have, the grant will allow dedicated facilitates, staff, and training to help UALR expand the services that are available and better serve a growing population of veteran students.”

UALR is home to nearly 1,000 student veterans. The Student Veteran Center will serve as a centralized location where veterans can socialize, study, and get information about the many resources available to them.

The center will house a veteran student support team that includes representatives from the offices of admissions, records and registration, transfer student services, financial aid and veterans benefits, academic advising, student health, mental health counseling, career advising, disabilities resource center, and UALR’s military student support organization, Students Affected by the Military.

The center will ensure student veterans are successful by engaging them in community service, empowering them to complete their degrees, and providing the connections necessary to gain employment after graduation. The center also will create a heightened awareness and sensitivity by helping faculty and staff achieve a better understanding of a student veteran’s unique needs.

“Many veteran students face challenges that most other student populations do not,” Oliverio said. “The majority of UALR’s veteran students are first-generation college students. Typically, this means there is a lack of a support system when it comes to the unfamiliar college environment. Additionally, veteran students oftentimes endure stressors related to their military duty, such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Student Veterans of America and The Home Depot Foundation launched the Vet Center Initiative in 2014 as part of the Student Veterans of America mission to provide veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation. By the end of 2016, 111 campuses in 40 states will have earned more than $970,000 benefiting more than 53,600 student veterans.

Renovations for the new Student Veteran Center will take place this summer and fall. UALR plans to open the center in a to-be-determined location on Friday, Nov. 11, in celebration of Veteran’s Day.

In the upper right photo, Kathy Oliverio, UALR director of military student success, stands at VFW Post 9095 in Little Rock. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III/UALR Communications.