Student Veterans Need Support for Renovations, Furnishings, Supplies
DECEMBER 2, 2019 BY ANGELA ATKINS
A new online fundraising campaign launched by the University of Mississippi intends to welcome student veterans to new headquarters in the George Street House in the heart of campus.
UM announced in the move to locate both the Office of Veteran and Military Services and the Veterans Resource Center would take place by moving the offices into one building – a historic house in a premier location. However, the house needs a few cosmetic renovations, in addition to furniture, rugs, window treatments, computers, kitchen supplies, new light fixtures and more before it is ready for the move at the end of the year.
An Ignite Ole Miss campaign launched recently to help fund those improvements at https://ignite.olemiss.edu/veterans.
Assistant Director of Veteran and Military Services Andrew Newby said disabled veterans had trouble accessing the previous locations and traveling daily between the two offices proved inefficient for everyone. The move to the George Street House solves those issues.
“I can’t think of a more fitting place to welcome our student veterans than the heart of campus in the George Street House,” Newby said. “It will be a one-stop shop where student veterans can meet with each other, receive the services that they need, and unwind and connect with their peers.”
The new location further expands other ongoing efforts to support the thriving community of veteran students that have led to the university being ranked among the nation’s best places for vets to pursue a degree. UM is the No. 53-ranked public university in the Military Times “Best for Vets: Top Colleges 2020.” It’s also one of only five Southeastern Conference schools recognized in the ranking.
Once renovations on the George Street House are completed, the location will offer study spaces, computers, printers, a kitchen and a living room, Newby said. In addition, Newby and other professionals will offer help with VA disability claims, housing, employment and more.
“Anything a student veteran needs to be successful, they can do within our new location,” Newby said.
Jamie King – a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, combat veteran and officer in the Student Veterans Association at Ole Miss – said student veterans need the help of their peers to ease the transition from the military to academia. Shared spaces to congregate make mentorship possible, King said, which is why the George Street House is so important.
“These veterans sacrificed a lot for everyone else – their blood, sweat and tears. They earned these opportunities available to them at the University,” said King, a geology major. “To help foster an environment where they’re going to do the best they possibly can is a game-changer.
“It doesn’t take much help from everybody. It only takes everybody doing a little bit to make a big difference for us.”
In addition to financial support from the UM community and friends, U.S. Navy veteran and journalism graduate student Eli Buguey said the new location shows that Ole Miss values its military-affiliated students.
“The best part about moving into the George Street House is it really puts a stamp that this school supports veterans,” said Buguey. “Right next to the library, right next to the Lyceum, it is a flag in the center of campus that shows that this is a school that supports veteran students. That is a huge heart warmer to me as a veteran student.”