News Release

DePaul University has committed to look for new ways to support the more than 30,000 student veterans enrolled in Illinois higher education institutions by signing a pledge alongside other Illinois schools.

The “Valuing Veterans: How Our Campuses Can Better Serve Those Who Have Served” event brought together university leaders, including DePaul president Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, and military and civic leaders to declare their commitment to meeting the needs of student veterans on college campuses. By signing the pledge, DePaul has committed to enhancing student veteran outreach and recognition, providing transition services, and establishing support policies and procedures.

Sponsored by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs and Student Veterans of America, the event held at the University Club of Chicago on Sept. 27 featured a keynote address by Col. David Sutherland, U.S. Army (Ret.), former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for warrior and family support, and a panel discussion about campus support systems and ways to improve services to student veterans.

The panel featured Dennis Trejo, a senior accounting major and DePaul student veteran, who also serves as a veteran liaison and president of DePaul’s Student Veterans Union to connect fellow veterans with benefits, resources and provide support in transitioning to academic life. As a returning student, Trejo has firsthand knowledge of the challenges veterans face as they transition back to civilian life.

“To see our president sign the pledge, it was a great feeling because only great things can come of this,” Trejo said. “This pledge shows a material commitment that DePaul University is going to make and that the challenges veterans face are being addressed. After overcoming those challenges and seeing how daunting the transition process can be to return to school after deployment, I vowed to help those who need it, especially right now when we see an influx of veterans transitioning from active duty to academic life. I can relate to them. I know what they are going through and how tough it can be. I want to let them know that there is someone here to help.”

DePaul’s Office of Veterans Affairs was formally established in 2009 as a result of an increase in post-9/11student veterans returning to campus. This quarter, the office has identified 325 student veterans at DePaul.

Haydee Nuñez, director of adult veteran and commuter student affairs, explains the importance of the veteran student population to the university community. “Veteran and military students have been a priority of DePaul University since World War II. Since 2009, we’ve seen about 300 students per year come through the office looking for camaraderie, assistance with benefits and support services. We also try to increase awareness across the university about student veterans on campus.”

“Nationally, veterans have a higher unemployment rate than nonveterans, but with a higher education degree they do much better. For a few years now we have been focusing on transitioning veteran students onto campus. Now as these post-9/11 student veterans cycle through, we are focusing on transitioning them into the workforce through partnerships with alumni relations and the career center.”

For more information on veterans’ services or to contact a student veteran liaison at DePaul, visit http://studentaffairs.depaul.edu/va/veteranscorner.html.

 



 

 

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