Military outreach reinforced during Military Awareness Month
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More than 23 percent of University of West Florida students – about 2,800 people – are active duty military, veteran students or their dependents. Military Awareness Month simply reinforces the efforts made at UWF to meet the needs of this unique student population.
“It’s our goal here to help military and veteran students with a variety of challenges,” said Marc Churchwell, director of UWF’s Military and Veterans Resource Center (MVRC) and U.S. Navy veteran. “Whether it is helping a veteran choose a course of study, determining how to use their veterans’ benefits to go to school or addressing the transition from military to civilian life, we are here to serve these students and their families.”
In October 2011, the University opened the MVRC on the main Pensacola campus, creating a one-stop shop to assist with advising, tutoring, counseling, disability accommodations, GI Bill education benefits and referrals to other state or federal resources.
“We are here to assist students in making sound decisions,” Churchwell said. “We can help them before they’ve even enrolled, from setting up meetings with advisors to determine the best educational program or certifying them for GI Bill benefits. This is the best place to come.”
In addition to providing a wide array of services designed specifically for veterans, the MVRC also serves as a location for military students to relax before or after class, study and get to know other veteran students.
“We even had a veteran who was a member of UWF’s first graduating class who volunteered in the MVRC assisting with our military students’ resumes,” Churchwell said. “With one exception, all of us working in the center are also veterans, and we’ve been through the challenges of transitioning from active duty to being a student and civilian. We can use this knowledge to help others.”
The one student employee who is not a veteran is a child of a veteran using the benefits transferred from her parent, and so she is helpful working with students in similar situations, Churchwell said.
“This is a new and growing demographic as a direct result of the transferability of the Post 9/11 GI Bill,” he said.
There are a wide variety of resources available at the MVRC located in Building 38, Room 147 on the main Pensacola campus. Call 850-474-2550. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Learn more about the MVRC at http://uwf.edu/militaryveterans/index.cfm.