When asked how he or she is assimilating into civilian life while attending college, most student veterans would likely tell you they are fine. But beneath the bravado, most feel adrift when venturing into, or returning to, the world of civilian academia.
For most of these student veterans, the solution to this conundrum is a simple one: Community. Locating a community of individuals with similar life experiences and rigorous conditioning is a powerful resource. It is for this reason that The Evergreen State College in Olympia is opening a Veterans’ Lounge on the first floor of the Daniel J. Evans Library.
“Evergreen has a long history of supporting veterans,” Evergreen President George Bridges said in a statement. “We are proud to dedicate this new Veterans’ Lounge to past, present, and future veterans who walk through the doors of our institution.”
The lounge will serve those who have served in a variety of ways, according to retired Navy officer and Evergreen Veterans Resource Center Director Randy Kelley.
“Although it’s not a United Services Organization, it is a USO-like environment,” Kelley said in a statement. “They can come into the lounge and do a multitude of things like study, watch movies, get computer access and do much more. It’s also a place where the Evergreen Students Veterans Organization (ESVO) can hold their meetings.”
Previously, the college’s Veterans’ Resource Center had been a gathering place for student veterans. However, with the increase in veteran students over the last few years, the student veteran population outgrew the center. The charge for the new lounge was led by the ESVO.
“The new Veterans’ Lounge is another step toward welcoming veteran soldiers, students, and their dependents so we can feel at home on campus,” Evergreen senior and ESVO President Frank Brooks said in a statement. “Our organization is open to everybody and I would hope that all Evergreen students feel comfortable sharing our space.”
To celebrate, the college will hold a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of its new Veterans’ Lounge at 2 p.m. on April 3. For more information, visit The Evergreen State College online.