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North Quad community to house student veterans

By Molly Block, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 29, 2013

Those who have served the nation’s armed services will find a welcoming community in North Quad Residence Hall next fall.

The Veterans Living Experience, which will be located in North Quad, is a new housing option for men and women who have served in active, reserve or National Guard forces.

University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said VLE is a part of University Housing’s initiative to build communities within residence halls.

“We recognize that within a larger community there are groups of students who have certain experiences or affinity that also want to be brought together within that larger community," Logan said.

Joshua Peipock, assistant director of residence education, said the need for on-campus veteran student housing has been a heavily discussed topic.

“We had been hearing around campus that veterans’ issues and veterans’ needs are something that’s on lots of people’s minds,” Peipock said. “We wanted to create some sort community that amplifies support and allows some connection and more specific resources for veteran students, specifically residents.”

Philip Larson, a transition specialist in the Office of New Student Programs, realized the need for veteran student housing through his discussions with current students who are veterans of the armed services. He said veterans living off-campus told Housing they were missing a connection to campus and their fellow veterans.

During its first year, the VLE expects to house only eight to 10 veteran students, but Housing has alloted 16 beds for the 2013-2014 school year, according to Peipock.

The community will also include its own resident adviser who will be carefully selected and undergo special training to provide necessary resources for the VLE.

“The RA who would ultimately be situated within the veterans living experience would go through some specific training and orientation about veterans’ needs, veterans’ perspectives and some of the challenges of older and more worldly students,” Logan said.

The new home for veteran students was specifically chosen for North Quad's mix of global and second-year students.

“Given the needs of veterans, lots of them have different life experiences, so they’re not like a traditional incoming first-year student," Peipek said. "Also the Global Scholars Program and International Impact in North Quad lends itself to a global awareness and may speak to experiences that veterans have.”

In addition to the international environment of North Quad, Logan believes that the veteran students' background will add to the initiatives of the global learning communities and activities sponsored by the residence hall.

“Having a group of veterans living in North Quad ultimately may provide some synergies in terms of internal programming, international awareness, multicultural competency and so forth because veterans do bring unique perspectives to the table,” Logan said.

In the future, Larson hopes to provide other housing options for veteran students, specifically those with families.

“I think the veterans community here (is) really excited about this opportunity,” Larson said. “We’re looking at expanding to family options with Northwood Apartments and other things that come up down the lines.”

VLE is one of two learning communities being created by University Housing this year. The Gender Inclusive Living Experience, which will be located in East Quad Residence Hall, has already filled up six of the 12 available beds for the fall 2013 semester.

“We’re really excited to be able to provide these housing options for residents,” Peipock said. “It’s going to start out small, but the hope is that it will catch on and grow.”