Resolution to create special orientation for Veterans passed by student government


sga

Students sit and listen to a presentation during the Student Government Administration’s general assembly meeting on Oct. 3 in the Bovee University Center auditorium.

Veterans could receive their own special orientation to help them transition into the college life after a resolution unanimously passed in the Student Government Association house and senate on Oct. 10.

The resolution needs final approval by the Academic Senate and University President George Ross.

The resolution to create a veteran’s orientation came after the previous director of the Veteran’s Resource Center tried to get a veteran-only orientation approved. Mio senior Nick Badgero, who wrote the legislation, said he thought having the student body’s support might help.

“I’m hoping that going about it this way, with not just our Resource Center backing it up but our student body, would make more of a difference because SGA is a representation of what the university wants,” he said.

Veterans attend a transfer student orientation where they do not receive veteran-specific information. They can go downstairs in the Bovee University Center to meet the Veterans Resource Center at their table for information and resources, but this is also before being asked to meet in the Student Services Court.

“In the past we had to rely on the veterans to walk down there to meet us at our veteran table,” Badgero said. “I would argue half do not because the majority of students that were supposed to meet at the Student Services Court that day never showed up.”

Hosting a veteran-specific orientation would benefit incoming student veterans by showing them how to receive information like healthcare-education benefits, points of contact on campus and veteran organizations, according to the resolution. 

SGA Senator Mohammad Khan was part of the Governmental Affairs Committee that put the resolution forward. He said understanding the logistics of getting healthcare and college paid for is something a lot of veterans don’t know.

“I was interested in the veteran portion of it because I have family members who are veterans,” said the Shelby Township freshman. “My brother, my cousins and my grandpa — they are all in the military.”

Duane Kleinhardt, director of the Veteran’s Resource Center, said the current general orientation also does not cover academic-specific issues veterans might have. 

“Often our student veterans bring with them transfer credits from other colleges, universities or from their military schools,” Kleinhardt said. “That quickly puts them over the 56 credit hour limit to have their University Program Requirements complete and sign a major.”

Western Michigan University and Northwestern Community College were among some the schools listed within the resolution as higher learning institutions that already have separate veteran orientations. 

As someone who spent four years in the Marines, Badgero said this resolution could assist veterans.

“I think (the orientation) is necessary,” he said. “Veterans deserve their own orientation because they are a small demographic of people that have given quite a lot to come here. They deserve extra (orientation) time so they don’t slip through the cracks and are prepared to be the best students they can be.”

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