Group Aims To Support Veterans
Military veterans have sacrificed a lot for their country throughout the years. A new group—the Military Student Organization—was created to assure that their sacrifice is rewarded and their voice is heard.
The group, started last August, is open to veterans from every branch of the military.
There are currently about 15 active members on North Campus, but about 30 to 40 veterans have attended meetings, according to Danay Montes de Oca Hasmi, intervention specialist and adviser to the group.
“[The MSO] is a very unique group because of the vast experience we bring from where we’ve been and what we’ve done,” Hasmi said.
The group’s mission is to promote awareness and service to military students and their families.
They aim to accomplish their goals by creating a network of support at the college.
“We will advocate for those veterans who feel they don’t have a voice and provide them with the means to facilitate change,” said Priscilla Vasquez, president of the MSO.
Hasmi, a 17 year veteran of the Army Reserve, says there is a major need for the groups services, noting that North Campus has about 350 vets currently receiving VA benefits.
The group is fighting for more space to conduct their business. They currently have a petition circulating aimed at creating their own office at North Campus.
“Right now were shoved into the registration office. We want our own space; I don’t see why we don’t have it,” Vasquez said.
Hasmi attributes this lack of office space to the low number of vets previously enrolled at the college, but notes that the number of vets is increasing.
“Since the inception of the post 9/11 GI bill, and all of its benefits, we have seen a surplus of veterans coming back to school or coming to school for the first time,” Hasmi said.
While North Campus was the first to implement such a group. Homestead and Wolfson campuses are following suit.
Linda Saumell, director of the Academic Support Center at Wolfson Campus wants to make MDC as vet-friendly as possible.
“Our hope is that this will give veterans and current military students a way to connect with and support each other,” Saumell said.
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