By Brooke Hill | Staff Writer
Baylor veterans now have a space to call their own.
The new VETS, which stands for Veteran Educational and Transitional Services, lounge, located in the Garden Level of the Sid Richardson Building, opened on Aug. 25. It is designed specifically for veterans attending Baylor with the sole purpose of providing the unique support veterans need for the transition from military to college life.
Clayton Tynes, the Veterans of Baylor student organization president said the lounge will help connect veterans on campus.
“I think the lounge offers the veterans a place that we can call our own,” Tynes said. “It helps us get connected with other veterans around campus. We can plan out our meetings, we can study, we can hang out. It really just reinforces the brotherhood that we all learn in the military, having this veterans lounge that’s all ours.”
The lounge includes an American flag themed rug, a foosball table, comfortable chairs, a computer, a microwave and a mini fridge. A quote from Abraham Lincoln is on the wall to remind veterans of the honor Lincoln said they bring to this country.
VETS strives to connect veterans with each other, as well as with resources available to them campuswide. Some of its services include a mentor program that connects vets to faculty that are also veterans in their specific field of study, a veterans transition course and career and development resources.
“I think it just provides organic connections,” VETS program manager Kevin Davis said. “While most students are connected and rubbing elbows with each other from similar backgrounds all over campus, this is a space where our veterans can know that they will feel at home and be able to connect with other students that share similar backgrounds and experiences and perspectives. It’ll just give them that core peer support that will hopefully launch them into the greater Baylor community because they just provide so much to our community—leadership and perspectives and hearts for service.”
The VETS website shares statistics about veterans from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as questions that are respectful for people to ask veterans. Davis encourages students to look at these questions to get a sense of what is and is not appropriate to talk to a veteran about.
“Once you’ve met a veteran, you’ve met a single veteran,” Davis said. “We’re not all the same. Just like every other student has different thoughts and ideas and perspectives of things. Even though we share the common military experiences we are a range of political and religious and different ideologies.”
The Veterans of Baylor student organization has been working to plan events throughout the year. They will have events for veterans week, including a golf tournament in the spring, and plan to be involved in Diadeloso.
“Our intent for the school year is to get as interconnected with all the other students and student organization throughout campus,” Tynes said.