Inside the Valencia Student Veterans of America

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Inside the Valencia Student Veterans of America

Veteran's Day event held on the West campus of Valencia College on November 9, 2017 in Orlando, Fla.

Veteran's Day event held on the West campus of Valencia College on November 9, 2017 in Orlando, Fla.

Valencia College

Veteran's Day event held on the West campus of Valencia College on November 9, 2017 in Orlando, Fla.

Valencia College

Valencia College

Veteran's Day event held on the West campus of Valencia College on November 9, 2017 in Orlando, Fla.

Mickenzie Hannon, Contributor

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Did you enjoy your day off class? This was the first year that Valencia College has made Veterans Day a student holiday, and Jasmine Moreno, the Valencia President of the Student Veterans of America, couldn’t be more excited.

“I think it’s awesome that finally it’s gotten to a point that the school will be closed for veterans and students.” 

However, faculty and staff members are still obligated to attend their regularly scheduled job on Monday. “I don’t think it is fair that faculty veterans who have served don’t get the day off,” Moreno said. “They have to request it off and it counts into their days off.” 

With this being the first year that Valencia College has made November 11 a student holiday, Moreno and other faculty members feel confident that everyone at Valencia, including students, faculty, and employees will all have Veterans Day off in the coming years.

Valencia offers student veterans many services and resources, including open counseling and participation in the Student Veterans of America Association. “Whether it’s homelessness, needing help getting your benefits together from education benefits to disability compensation, financial aid questions, and all that stuff, we’re here to help,” Moreno said 

Moreno strongly encouraged all student veterans to maintain contact with Veteran Services at their campus and to schedule appointments in the Veteran Affairs Office.

After the efforts of Veteran and Valencia Academic Advisor Eric Bobo, Valencia College is now implementing a new student experience course that is strictly focused on student veterans. This course not only integrates students into the Valencia community, but it will make veterans more aware of their individual resources.

“This new course is specifically for veterans is definitely something that we want to promote as much as possible. If you’re a veteran and you take this course, you’re not going to be as stressed out being a Valencia College student,” Moreno said. “You’ll have a better rapport with your professors moving forward and things like that.” 

East Campus students are able to enroll in this class for the spring term. 

The Student Veterans of America Association provides students with fellowship. “We try to alleviate stresses, we promote a lot of fellowship, and we’re always ready for open communication,” Moreno said. “We always have several different apps where we communicate on. We’ll send each other memes or we’ll just text message each other to keep each other in the loop.”

The Student Veterans of America Chapter at Valencia’s East Campus currently has about 12 student members,  and the board members consist of Moreno, Vice President Tom Purdy, Treasurer William Stelmack and Senior Advisor Denise Asselta. The secretary position is currently not filled.

Moreno also hopes that students join while at Valencia so that if and when they transfer to UCF, they can be a member of the Student Veterans of America chapter there, to make the transition from Valencia College to UCF less stressful. 

Many veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, and Moreno advises other students and employees to be compassionate.

“A lot of our veterans won’t verbalize what they’re feeling. They’ll look fine, they’ll look happy and act like everything is all great, but it’s really not. If you see a veteran that’s irritable, try not to combat it with the same response.” 

Moreno hopes that all students and faculty will be understanding toward veterans on campus.

The Student Veterans of America at East Campus meets the first Friday of every month in Building Two, Room 116 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Refreshments are typically provided at the meetings, as well. The Student Veterans of America at West Campus meets at 1 p.m. in Building Five, Room 115. More information can be found on the groups’ Facebook pages.