EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Oregon celebrated an addition to campus Saturday with the grand opening of the UO Student Veteran’s Center.
UO Alumni Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter Defazio both spoke at the grand opening outside the new location in the Erb Memorial Union.
The center will act as a hub for students who served in the armed forces, bringing all of the college’s veteran services offices (like the Veterans and Family Student Association and Dog Tags to Ducks) to the heart of campus in the Erb Memorial Union.
Many other campuses across the nation have pushed for centers to house the unique group of students that are going back to school after serving overseas.
Co-director of the VFSA Jonathan Brunton said he sees the center as a huge asset for student veterans, as the transition from the armed services back to school can often be challenging.
“Almost all of the student veterans are over 22 years old, so they’re a little bit older than most of the other students,” said Brunton. “It’s hard for some of these guys to talk to an 18-year-old who hasn’t been around the world … hasn’t experienced the things that military members experience.”
As a UO senior and veteran of the U.S. Navy, Brunton said he identifies with what a lot of these students are going through.
“Veterans all share a story, no matter what generation … or what branch of the military you are from. Because of what you’ve been through and how you’ve gotten here. It’s the journey of getting back to college.”
The Executive Director of the Student Veterans of America, Michael Dakduk, also spoke at the grand opening. The SVA has over 700 other chapters of student veterans across the nation.
Brunton said he hopes the center is a jumping off point with the SVA.
“Currently there are the highest amounts of veterans in universities since World War II. Since we are starting to cut back on our military we have a lot of veterans who are going to start using their benefits,” Brunton said.