Veterans Day honors those who have served our country. Observed annually on Nov. 11, the federal holiday is an opportunity to show appreciation for the men and women of the military, not just on the holiday, but every day.
The Veterans and Military Affiliated Student Services Center is located in Holland Library on the first floor to the right of the Dimensions Lab. People from all walks of life go to the center for a sense of community, and for services it provides to those in the military, veterans, and family members.
Browse interviewed center staff—two veterans and a veteran’s family member—about their experiences.
Joseph Malan enlisted in the U.S Army in 2018, where he served as a combat medical specialist. During his time in Afghanistan, he was shot multiple times and lost his hearing in his right ear due to an explosion.
After relearning how to physically balance, he eventually enrolled at WSU, where he plans on getting his degree in nursing. Without someone telling him what to do, Malan says one of his bigger challenges has been self-discipline as a student.
Malan now works in the veterans center, where he helps students fill out paperwork. “It’s very fulfilling work,” he says. Many students are scared and nervous when they come in because they do not know how the school system works. One of the biggest reasons many people visit the center is for help filling out paperwork, especially when it comes to finances. Malan’s advice for future veterans going to WSU is to ask for help.
Malan says that the veterans center is one of the best associations to be a part of as a veteran. “Others going through the same struggles, we all get it. I don’t think I would still be in school if I didn’t have the support of some of these dudes here.”
Xander Roberson has many family members in the military, including his mom, dad, brother, and uncle. He’s considering going into the Air Force. “I love my country, I love the people, and I really want to represent family ties,” he says.
Roberson is majoring in political science and criminal justice, and he plans on pursuing law school after graduation. Roberson says his favorite areas to study are in the veterans center booths, and he spends about 15-20 hours weekly in the library.
He has seen how the military affects people, specifically when it comes to relationships. Roberson says it is difficult to keep connections with those close to them.
Roberson has experienced a sense of camaraderie in the veterans center, the feeling of being in a place where he knows most have that connection to the military and can share their experiences. Yet the center is not just for veterans or those who have family in the military. Anyone who needs a quiet place to study is welcome.
Carrie McCool was a pharmacy technician in the Air Force for 10 years. She says she wasn’t planning on going to college, and the military seemed like the best option. McCool met some of her lifelong best friends in the military.
McCool is a junior pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She plans to become a kindergarten teacher after college.
As a woman veteran, one of the challenges she faces is that people do not acknowledge her as a veteran. “They always assume my boyfriend is the veteran,” McCool says.
The veterans center has given her a place to work and to talk to like-minded people. She has made many friends there. The center has helped her know where to find anything she needs at WSU. McCool not only works at the center, but is also often there to hang out and study as well as meet other veterans and dependents.
Advice she wished she had received was to ask about what she qualified for at the university as a veteran. “It’s a lot more than I thought,” she says.
The veterans center is an immense help for those who come in not knowing what to do, and for those who simply need a place for community and studying.