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Grant helps Southwestern increase service to veterans

Anne Matthews News

Coos Bay, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College is excited to announce it has received $32,182 to expand its veterans center on the Coos Bay campus and increase support for students at its Brookings campus. The funding is part of an Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) grant package totaling $600,000 to expand Campus Veteran Resource Centers at 15 community colleges and public universities throughout Oregon. 

“I feel very fortunate that we have received the support for our Veterans Resource Center this year from ODVA. We wouldn’t have one on campus if it wasn’t for them,” said Shana Brazil, Southwestern’s Veterans Service Coordinator.

Veteran Resource Centers are vital in helping veterans transition from military service to college life. The center’s staff help veterans complete their educational and vocational goals and successfully transition back into the civilian workforce and community.

The College received $54,092 in 2018-19, which helped develop and open the resource center on the Coos campus. ODVA then gave the college $72,460 to support services the following year. 

This new round of funding allows Southwestern to move the Veteran Resource Center to a larger space that includes a study area and the Veterans Services Coordinator office. The larger area will allow for more variety of uses by veterans, and their families will be welcome in the center as well. Brazil and her volunteers also will be able to increase the center’s hours, staying open until 8 p.m. three-days a week.  

In addition, the grant will fund additional outreach and student support. This means opportunities to host on-campus speakers, trainings for staff and faculty, a suicide prevention seminar, and increased veteran events. The grant will also help to meet students’ basic needs by providing snacks in the resource center, emergency lunch vouchers for the dining hall, and emergency gas cards.

It’s good news for veterans in Curry County as well. The grant will fund quarterly trips by the Veterans Service Coordinator to the college’s Brookings campus. Veterans and their families living in Curry County can meet with the coordinator to get help filing VA paperwork, filling out financial aid forms, and registering for college courses.

For more information regarding Southwestern’s Veterans Services, please call 541-888-7236; email [email protected]; or visit www.socc.edu/veterans.