Last updated on May 4, 2021
By Evie Shaye Herndon
The Volunteer State Community College Student Veterans of America (VSVA) club is looking for new members.
According to the Vol State website, “The mission of the Vol State Student Veterans of America student club is to provide military veterans with the resources, support and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.”
“The VSVA has been active at Vol State since 2012 and is now at the Gallatin and Cookeville campuses. Students from any campus may participate,” according to the website.
It was Faculty member and Instructor of Sociology, Stephanie Voris, who helped establish the club back in 2012, said current president of the Cookeville campus club, Daniel Zahr.
“I have a background working with active military and veterans through Soldiers And Families Embraced (SAFE) in Clarksville, Tennessee. I enjoy working with veteran populations and supporting all students as they transition through the college culture towards their careers,” said Voris
According to Voris, the VSVA help to support the many veterans who need assistance.
“Military culture is different from civilian culture. Often veterans can become frustrated with situations that move too slow or if there are too many individuals to contact to resolve a situation,” she said.
The veterans club helps to support those in need by “offering college support among veterans and dependents. It connects them to college support. Working with civilian students and engaging in community activities builds relationships and support systems for all involved through friendships and networking,” she said.
“Veterans have a harder time gaining the support they need. We can help that. We can fix that,” said Daniel Zahr.
Although Zahr is not a veteran himself, he believes others in the community should support and uplift veterans, he said.
“They helped us by serving our country, so in return we should help them get the support they need,” he said.
It is important to note that all students, not just veterans, are welcome to “come and talk,” said Zahr.
According to Zahr, talking and socializing is a big part of the club. In addition to community groups, they participate in community outreach and events.
“One recent event we participated in was the veterans day parade in Cookeville last year. We also help with tornado relief efforts in Cookeville,” said Zahr.
“We participate in community events, especially Veteran-specific events and focus on being a support network for Veterans and dependents concerning school and college-life integration,” said Voris.
Currently, the VSVA is lacking members and they need students to join, said Zahr.
“The more people we can get to join our club the better we can serve our community and the further out we can reach to help veterans,” said Zhar.
“I tell all students that their support of the veterans club is important. Civilians are a great asset to the club as they not only bring diversity but also can learn from and relate to some of the general student struggles so many of us go through in college. Veterans and dependents can enjoy meeting civilian peers but also focus on veteran-only issues such as veterans’ benefits, working with the Veterans Affairs office and sharing other community-based veteran support and volunteering opportunities among fellow veterans, family members and peers,” said Voris.
Students can also go to the Vol State website to see other Veteran related opportunities at the school.