The Social Justice and Equity Center (SJEC) Veterans & Military Families at Southern Oregon University has been awarded a $58,163 grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) to help improve outcomes for student veterans at the university. This is the second consecutive year that SOU has secured the Campus Veteran Grant Award and the first as the SJEC Veterans & Military Families (VMF) program, which was formerly known as the Veterans Resource Center.
SOU is one of 15 Oregon universities and community colleges to receive the one-year veterans resource grants, which range this year from $11,040 to $58,635. A total of $600,000 was awarded.
The Campus Veteran Grant Award will enable the VMF program at SOU to amplify its existing campus programs focused on supporting veterans and military family members. The grant highlights three pillars: successful transition from military service to college life, success in college and completion of educational goals; and the transition from college to the workforce and community.
Kelly Fitzpatrick, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, said that education can be “a critical gateway for many veterans to transition out of the military into a successful civilian career.”
Jesse S. Watson, Ph.D., SOU’s equity coordinator for Veterans & Military Families, said the new grant award will be used to create a two-pronged cultural competence training course for incoming students and for staff and faculty; provide funding for orientation and outreach; hire a graduate assistant; and add new programs to support the university’s veterans and military families.
“I am thankful for the work of my predecessor, Kevin Stevens, who secured the first CVRC grant for our veteran community,” Watson said. “The initial funding has strengthened the infrastructure of the Veterans & Military Families spaces, providing a foundation for future programmatic growth.”
A Veterans Affairs committee evaluated the proposal of each college and university that applied for the grants, approving some projects and declining others. Other institutions receiving the Veterans Resource grants are the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University and Western Oregon University, and Blue Mountain, Central Oregon, Chemeketa, Clackamas, Klamath, Lane, Linn-Benton, Mount Hood, Rogue and Southwestern Oregon community colleges.
For more information about VMF programs, please visit: www.sou.edu/veterans.