The University of Washington Bothell will be celebrating this Veterans Day with a new Veteran Resource Center on campus.
The opening of the center is a milestone for the school as it has been in the works since 2010. Chancellor Wolf Yeigh said the new center reaffirms UW Bothell’s commitment to the veteran community.
“We are committed to building a more welcoming and supportive campus for veterans and their families,” Yeigh said in a release. “This is where veterans can turn for resources and support as they transition and launch the next phase of their lives.”
About 200 veterans and their family members use Veterans Affairs education benefits to attend UW Bothell. Enrollment figures show the total number on campus is likely greater than that — about six percent of the student body.
The center is designed to provide veterans a place where they can build a community based on their shared experiences.
The center fulfills commitments made through the UW Bothell Veterans Life Task Force and the Partners for Veteran Supportive Campuses program of Washington’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VRC is staffed by Vet Corps Navigator Sean La Marr and three student assistants — Robert Lewis, Peter Rodriguez and Jonah Au — funded by the VA work study program.
The center also is a space for the UW Bothell Student Veterans Association (SVA) to meet, said Rosa Liu, veterans services manager.
She said the resource center will be open to all veterans and their family members with VA benefits. The resource center will also be open to everyone who is interested in learning more about the SVA as well as anyone wanting to be in community with veterans.
The UW Bothell Veterans Services Office in the Division of Student Affairs remains the main arm in helping veterans smoothly receive benefits so they can focus on their studies. The new center adds to a supportive environment that includes the Veterans Archway, challenge coins, graduation stoles and training for the campus community, Liu said.
More than anything, Liu said the resource center “will save peoples’ lives.”
“This resource center will help rebuild relationships and create camaraderie among our vets,” she said. “This will save peoples’ lives. It will be a way for them to cry out and receive help…if it helps one vet reconsider suicide, it makes this all worth while.”
According to a VA report, about 20 veterans die by suicide a day. In addition, after adjusting for differences in age and sex, risk for suicide was 22 percent higher among veterans in the United States when compared to non-veteran adults. The risk for male veterans — after adjusting for differences in age — was 19 percent higher than non-veteran men. For veteran women — after adjusting for differences in age — the risk of suicide was two and a half times higher when compared to non-veteran women.
The new center is located in UW1-011 at Founders Hall. An opening ceremony was held on Thursday, followed by the annual UW Bothell Veterans Reception. The reception recognized the service and sacrifice of UW Bothell veteran alumni, students, faculty, staff and their families.