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The Veterans Resource Center at SOU has been awarded a grant that will enable enhanced services to the university's veterans

SOU Veterans Resource Center awarded grant to enhance services

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Veterans Resource Center at Southern Oregon University has been awarded a $68,254 grant from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs to help improve outcomes for student veterans at the university.

SOU is one of 14 Oregon universities and community colleges to receive the one-time veterans resource grants, which range from $25,830 to $79,290. A total of $900,000 was awarded.

“A post-secondary degree or course of study at a technical or vocation college is a critical gateway for many veterans to transition out of the military into a successful civilian career,” said Kelly Fitzpatrick, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “But unlike most students, veterans are often older and have very different life experiences from their peers.

“Campus veteran resource centers provide critical veteran resources and offer support networks with other student veterans, which can drastically improve outcomes and help ensure success for student veterans in their educational endeavors and future careers.”

The Veterans Resource Center at SOU provides support to student veterans, current service members, and their families during their transition from military service to college life, and as they complete their educational goals. The grant will provide funding for orientation and outreach, and help the SOU center create a cultural competence training course, hire a graduate assistant and add new programs to support veterans and military families.

“It was a lot of work, but we are excited and humbled to receive this grant,” said Kevin Stevens, coordinator for the SOU Veterans Center.

“The SOU Veterans Center is more connected to the region and campus than ever before, and this grant will help us take our outreach programming to the next level,” he said.

The grant program is intended to augment existing campus resources by paying for innovative projects or programs that will improve the lives of student veterans.

A Veterans Affairs committee evaluated the proposal of each college and university that applied for the grants, approving some projects and declining others. Most projects in the SOU proposal were approved.

Other institutions receiving the Veterans Resource grants are the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Oregon Institute of Technology and Western Oregon University, and Blue Mountain, Chemeketa, Clackamas, Klamath, Lane, Mount Hood, Rogue and Southwestern Oregon community colleges.

More information about SOU’s veteran-affiliated programs is available at www.sou.edu/veterans.

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SOU is designated as military friendly

SOU added to Military Friendly School list by VIQTORY

SOU has been designated a Military Friendly School by Viqtory, a veteran-ownd marketing company that connects the military community to civilian employers, and educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Viqtory’s Military Friendly awards are given to schools, nonprofits and companies that meet their data-driven assessments and take their proprietary survey. The difficulty of the survey increases each year due to improved methodology, criteria and weightings. This year’s list includes 695 colleges, universities and trade schools that exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience or spouses.

“This designation places SOU on the lists that our transitioning service members will see as they leave service,” said Kevin Stevens, director of the university’s Veterans Resource Center. “It reflects positively on the university community as well as our greater community, as places that veterans, military and their families can achieve academic and personal success.”

More than 200 SOU students each year are considered military-affiliated. Most of them are veterans or dependents, while many others serve as cadets in the Army ROTC program. SOU also offers a Military Science Program that serves nearly 150 students per term, and various campus organizations are dedicated to helping veterans – including the Veteran’s Resource Center, the Student Veterans Association and the Veterans’ Student Union.

SOU was also the first Oregon university to adopt the Military Order of the Purple Heart proclamation on Nov. 27, 2019. President Linda Schott pledged the university’s support to military veterans and placed SOU on the Purple Heart Trail, a symbolic system of roads, highways, monuments and cities that give tribute to those awarded the Purple Heart.

“(The military-friendly designation) is a great step forward for the university,” Stevens said. “This shows that we meet the minimum standards for the military-friendly designation, however, my plan is for SOU to continue to rise in the rankings as one of the top military-friendly universities for students in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the country.” 

Higher ranking designations include Bronze, Silver, Gold and the coveted Top Ten awards.

SOU’s Military Friendly Rating breakdown rates the university in six areas: academic policies and compliance, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, financial aid and assistance, graduation and career, and military student support and retention.

The 2020-­2021 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer

SOU to adopt Purple Heart proclamation

SOU president to sign Purple Heart proclamation

Southern Oregon University will become the first Oregon university to adopt the Military Order of the Purple Heart proclamation during a formal ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 27, pledging the university’s support to military veterans and placing SOU on the “Purple Heart Trail.”

The Purple Heart is the United States’ oldest military award that is still issued – awarded to any member of the armed forces who is physically harmed or killed in action. The Military Order of the Purple Heart is a U.S. nonprofit organization made up of military veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart.

“(This proclamation) is a way to show appreciation and support for those who have earned the Purple Heart in service to our country,” said Kevin Stevens, coordinator of SOU’s Veterans Resource Center. “It also correlates with the core values and mission of our university.”

More than 200 SOU students each year are considered military-affiliated. Most of them are veterans or dependents, while many others serve as cadets in the Army ROTC program. SOU also offers a Military Science Program that serves nearly 150 students per term, and various campus organizations are dedicated to helping veterans – including the Veteran’s Resource Center, the Student Veterans Association and the Veterans’ Student Union.

SOU President Linda Schott will sign the proclamation on behalf of the university at 10 a.m. on Nov. 27, in SOU’s Veterans Resource Office – Room 301 of the Stevenson Union. The proclamation encourages SOU students and others to “show their appreciation for the sacrifices the Purple Heart recipients have made in defending our freedoms, to acknowledge their courage, and to show them the honor and support they have earned.”

The proclamation will also induct SOU into the Purple Heart Trail, a symbolic system of roads, highways, monuments and cities that give tribute to those awarded the Purple Heart. These locations have special signage to denote their participation in the trail.

While SOU is the first university in Oregon to make the declaration and become a part of the Purple Heart Trail, the trail includes 21 cities in Oregon, as well as Grant and Jackson counties.

Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer