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First Year Experience supports veterans

Summer has come to a close and many new students will be navigating campus in the coming days. While most of these students are recent high school graduates, some incoming students aren't as traditional; some of them have served in the military.

3D scannerLSU’s Veteran's Welcome event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 25, in the LSU Journalism Building's Holliday Forum.

3D scannerVeteran and Military Student Services include programs, outreach and individual assistance to ensure veterans have the support they need to graduate.

3D scannerVeteran and Military Student Services assists veterans with their military benefits, as well as active military students, especially in the case that they are called to duty.
Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

To help veteran students, the university established Veteran & Military Students Services in February of this year. The department serves a critical role in assisting veterans, guardsmen, and active military through the admissions and certification process and acclimating into campus culture.

Although Veteran & Military Student Services was recently developed, it's the third year for the Veteran's Welcome event, hosted on Sunday, Aug. 25, in the LSU Journalism Building's Holliday Forum. The event will give veteran students a chance to meet each other, hear President and Chancellor F. King Alexander speak, and meet staff from Veteran & Military Services.

"We especially welcome our veterans," Alexander said. "We owe them so much and want to ensure that our university not only thanks them, but provides them every educational opportunity possible."

With LSU's rich military history, these services include programs, outreach and individual assistance to ensure veterans have the support they need to graduate.

Adam Jennings, First Coordinator for Veteran & Military Student Services, who also served in the military for more than three years, said he enjoys working individually with veteran students.

"I know how difficult transitioning from the military to the civilian world can be," Jennings said. "I want to make sure that attending and succeeding at LSU is not one of those difficulties. Veterans know that when they walk in my office, they have my full attention, and I will take a personal interest in resolving their needs."

Jennings said veteran students are non-traditional because of what they've accomplished, such as difficult missions and hardships. Some veteran students have concerns about their families, children, finances, or military benefits, which the department can assist with.

"One constant is that they were a member of a team, and the team shared the hardship and persevered together," Jennings said. "I think one of the biggest challenges facing veterans today is losing that support system and structure when they leave the military. We have a unique opportunity here at LSU to establish support systems that assist veterans in achieving their goals."

The term "veteran" can be confusing because it's often paired with the assumption of an older person. However, many veteran students at LSU are in their young twenties. While these students are still new, they aren't 18, so they are coming to college at a different point in their life, having seen many different things than their peers.

The department can also assist veterans with their military benefits, as well as active military students, especially in the case that they are called to duty.

In the future, Jennings hopes Veteran & Military Student Services can expand to include additional programs, services, and even a veteran's center on campus where resources will be available.

"The long-term goal is to have a dedicated space for veteran students to be able to connect to one another and connect with the veteran alumni, so that the new generation is connected to the former," Jennings said.

Veteran students are recognized by Veteran & Military Student Services by self-identification on their admission applications.

For further information, please contact Adam Jennings at ajenn15@lsu.edu.