Clayton State University has a variety of fruitful branches in its diverse community of families, all of who support each other by their common roots in the University. One such facet is the veterans’ services at Clayton State.
Clayton State’s programs are constantly in a motion of progress, always assessing and amending in how to best assist their students. In the spring of 2014, Diana Peters, administrative specialist and coordinator for the Clayton State Center of Academic Success, attended the Deployment Psychology University Counseling Center Core competency program held at University of Georgia, where universities from across the state gathered and collaborated on how to better improve their military support.
What Peters discovered was that a majority of universities were in the “talking-stage” of what Clayton State had already accomplished.
For example, in the fall of 2013, Clayton State held faculty training on assisting veterans in their transition to campus life, creating a solid backbone of support throughout the University’s staff. For more specific assistance, veterans are also always given an open door to the University’s Office of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
One such veterans advocate in CAPS, and a licensed psychologist, Dr. Sherri Allen, has even created a group for female veterans, “designed to further empower these students via a supportive and confidential environment.” A Supportive and Encouraging Resource for Veteran Empowerment, or S.E.R.V.E, was held during the spring 2014 semester every Monday in the CAPS Group Counseling Room. Plans are to start-up S.E.R.V.E. with the fall 2014 semester.
Veterans at Clayton State also have their own Veterans Resource Center (VRC), which consists of an area for the military community of the University to hang out; furnished with computers, printers, a refrigerator, microwave, and a variety of military publications and informational brochures. In addition to free coffee and often muffins and other pastries that the military supporters or the military students themselves provide, the environment is one that cultivates a culture of openness and comradeship. Coaching for academic success is also provided in the Veterans Resource Center by appointment, to help students gain and maintain organization, time management, and study skills.
The VRC averages approximately 200 visits per month. In the month of April 2014 alone, there were a total of 295 visits. With just more than 400 active military and veterans attending at Clayton State, it is clear that many find this resource to be helpful.
Clayton State’s latest military support accomplishment comes into effect this summer, dictating that military-affiliated students are granted priority registration, due to Reserve and National Guard’s limited availability and veteran’s educational benefits having a time limit.
While Clayton State has accomplished so much, still the VRC’s Veteran’s Advisory Council strives to find and complete more. As Clayton State’s one of many military advocates, Peters, says, “there’s always one more reason to be proud to be a Laker.”