Students at UH Maui College often seek to find a comfortable, safe and motivating place to study for their classes or just relax in between them; the Veterans Resource Center(VRC) is a great place to find all of these qualities. The center offers services such as networking with fellow veterans, printing, computer usage, peer mentoring and tutoring, free coffee and a comfortable environment for Student Veterans to work, relax and find the resources they need. There are many resources offered for veterans and they have the main priority, however, all UH Maui College students are welcome at this hospitable center.
The VRC is a volunteer and Veteran run center at UH Maui College. Their mission is to “provide Student Veterans with academic support services to help them become successful, independent learners and reach their educational goals.” They help Student Veterans with topics like assistance with applying for the E-Benefit system, assistance with applying for college and connecting students with services on campus. “Veterans and non-traditional student’s success rate is much higher if they have a peer to peer relationship, so our goal is to also provide that,” said Anne Jenny, Veterans Student Support Staff. “Nearly 73 percent of students these days are what we call non-traditional, which are students who are older, employed, have no high school diploma, there is a number of different criteria that creates a non-traditional student,” Jenny said.
Having the VRC on campus doesn’t only benefit Student Veterans but also benefits non-veteran students. The facility is open to all UH Maui College Students and studying there can have benefits for them as well. “The thing with Veterans is, they tend to have higher GPAs, better retention, better graduation, and tend to graduate sooner then the average student, so having them as a role model for peer-to-peer is a really valuable thing for the campus,” said Jenny. Student Veteran and VRC Monitor Jacob Evans added that one of the main reasons for Student Veteran’s success is their discipline, “Not only do we have great discipline, but we have comradery, so we have no problem with going to each other for help,” said Evans.
Because the Veterans at this center are open to learning from each other and helping others, it creates a great tutoring environment that is very casual but also a great resource for students. “In the military you have to work with people regardless of their gender, their gender bias, their age, their ethnicity, their cultural values, it doesn’t matter, what matters is what you can do. So having these folks in here as peer tutors means it doesn’t matter who or what you are, they’re going to be focused on what you need,” said Jenny.
One of the biggest challenges the VRC currently faces is funding. The VRC is not part of UH Maui College’s budget plan, so their primary source of funding comes from grants and donations. Since this center is such a useful resource for Veteran and non-Veteran students making sure they have the funding they need is very important. Donations are excepted for their various services like printing and coffee, but aren’t required.
The VRC staff is planning a community appreciation barbeque in order to give back to the community and bring people together. “Often times when people find out you’re a Veteran they say ‘thank you for your service,’ so we wanted to sort of flip that on its head and thank the community for their service,” said Jenny, about their upcoming event. More information will be out on this event soon.
The VRC has created a comfortable, safe place for Student Veterans and non-veteran students alike. “I find that whenever I come into the VRC I feel comfortable being in here, and it makes me feel like I can not have to put up a front, and I can be myself,” Student Veteran and VRC Monitor Kevin Oda said.
The VRC is open Monday-Friday, 8:30am-8:00pm and can be found on the first floor of Ka Lama Building. If you would like to learn more about the center you can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UHMCVRC/ or their website at www.maui.hawaii.edu/veterans/.