NSU’s newest organization Nova Student Veterans Association (NSVA), has crafted a proposal to create a veteran resource center on main campus, sponsored by the group’s Founder and President Kelsey DeSantis.
NSVA is a university-wide organization that aims to support veterans — regardless of the military branch served — who are now taking on the roles of citizens, along with students and future professionals. It is also open to spouses and family members of veterans. DeSantis, sophomore business administration major, started the group last semester.
DeSantis said, “The primary purpose of our organization is to bring together all resources available for those who have served our country. Our goal is to create a competent support system, development of a networking connection database, and create a solid starting point for our student veterans to work with.”
Students asserted in the proposal that creating a veteran resource center and having an advisor for student veterans could possibly increase NSU’s rank when it comes to veterans’ preferred schools, and also help grow NSU’s undergraduate population.
NSVA Vice President and Marine Corps veteran Jake Milkovich, first year criminal justice major, said “Leaving active duty and entering back into the life of a civilian catches you off guard when the men and women you served with are no longer around. I feel NSVA’s support is essential in bringing student veterans together. Veteran resource centers at colleges across our country are proving to be more than successful and it is our goal to create NSU’s first one.”
The NSVA proposal has been presented and received support from many NSU faculty members and administrators, including Vice President of Student Affairs Brad Williams and Assistant Dean of Student Development William Faulker. The organization hopes to meet with President George Hanbury II in the near future.
There are over 800 student veterans on NSU’s main campus alone. But, according to DeSantis, they have no easy way of communicating with each other. She created NSVA with the intention of bringing them all together. So far, the organization has recruited over 40 veterans, including both undergraduate and graduate students.
The proposal states that in 2015, there will be over one million veterans in the nation. DeSantis envisions NSU as the number one university that will be most welcoming to them. She believes that a veteran resource center would aid greatly in this goal.
The new center, as NSVA describes, would be a place where veterans can find resources in the community, receive advice from other veterans, and speak with a veterans’ counselor/advisor who would help guide them in the right direction, especially as these individuals are transitioning from military to student life.
DeSantis said, “We look forward to giving back as we create a community and a team of veterans who help each other out.”
Vilma Rosario, a Navy veteran with 25 years of service who is pursuing a master’s degree in education, recently joined NSVA. Previously, Rosario had conducted research and wrote a paper for an educational research class concerning the needs of student veterans.
“With all due respect, I know that Nova can do better at meeting the needs of their Veteran students,” Rosario said. “Kelsey is well aware of [this] void and I applaud her for her efforts in trying to remedy this.”
NSVA’s first official meeting will be on Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. in the conference room on the second floor of the Rosenthal Student Center. Its members will also have a table at CommunityFest on Feb. 9.