Thursday, September 23, 2010
OU named a national "Military Friendly School" for 2011Veterans and their dependents don’t have to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of attending Oakland University. OU offers a wide range of services to support them – which has led to a special designation.
Oakland has been named a “Military Friendly School” for 2011 by “G.I. Jobs” magazine, a veteran-owned media business that gives the designation to the top 15 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide. OU initially received the award for 2010.
Derek Blumke, president of Student Veterans of America, said, “The Military Friendly Schools list is the gold standard in letting veterans know which schools will offer them the greatest opportunity, flexibility and overall experience.”
At OU, the key is an institutional commitment to veterans and their dependents, said Steve Shablin, OU registrar. “We make a concerted effort to help in any way we can,” he continued. “And, we have plans to do more – for example, we will begin giving veterans priority registration beginning in summer 2011.”
Of the 240 veterans that have been admitted to the university, 180 veterans or veteran’s dependents have registered for fall 2010 classes.
Getting started at OU can be a complicated process for veterans and their dependents. Beyond applying to Oakland, veterans must research numerous benefit programs to find which one is the best fit, and then apply for it. For new, returning and transfer veteran students, the university must follow a multi-step certification process mandated by the Veterans Administration.
“Almost every veteran has a unique situation,” said Joann Denby, assistant registrar. “But we’re able to help in a number of ways.”
Ann Besaw of the registrar’s office, who handles veterans’ certifications, credits close cooperation with other OU departments. “For example, advisers on campus have been very good at responding to our office. They are a big help.”
The Office of the Registrar also works closely with the Veterans Support Services office, led by Mike Brennan, an anthropology major who served two tours in Iraq.
Brennan is often the first contact with a prospective student, and can direct veterans to many resources in addition to the registrar’s office, including the Academic Advising office, Graham Counseling Center and Pontiac Vet Center.
“We also continue to connect with students through events,” Brennan said. “November 11 is Veterans Day observance – we’ll have a panel discussion, show what services are available to veterans and offer refreshments.”
Brennan says the Veterans Support Services office will continue to partner on events with Student Veterans of OU. Marc Hobart, president of the group, said SVOU is planning activities such as screening military-themed films in Oakland Center, reserved seating at an OU basketball game and possibly a laser tag or paintball event.
“We’re also looking at doing some volunteer work at a disabled veterans’ facility,” Hobart said.
For more information on services for veterans or their dependents, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Veterans Support Services website at oakland.edu/veterans or call (248) 370-2010. The Veterans Certification Office can be reached at (248) 370-4010.