EWU Veterans Resource Center welcomes back students


EWU students Blake Ellert and Je ery Clark conversating amongst each other at VRC welcome back social. | Dayana Morales for The Easterner

By Dayana Morales, Arts & Entertainment Editor

WU has always been nationally recognized as a military friendly campus. Military veteran population on campus continues to grow. About 600 veterans are now enrolled. It is the largest center in the Northwest.

EWU Veterans Resource Center had a welcome back social Sept. 21. The room was filled with conversation among veterans enjoying a slice of pizza.

The center is located in the historic Showalter Hall. Currently at this center you can take care of your GI Bill questions, residency, financial aid, class sign-up, and childcare. There is also a computer lab.

The staff that supports this center includes a director, David Millet, a benefits supervisor, Lena Tanguayt, and a recruiter, Billie Hall.

The center also assists the students with community engagement initiatives, such as workshops to connect veterans with military friendly employers.

Shelby Miksch, a student veteran at EWU, served in the Navy for twelve years. She did shore duty in her most recent mission in Maryland. This is her second year on campus. She is a senior. Prior to being at EWU she also received education in the military.

Miksch joined the military because of her brother.

“He went in before I went and I saw that it helped him get his act together. My family has a strong tradition of military, said Miksch. “There has been someone in the military in almost every branch and every generation dating back for years.”

Miksch said she is glad she joined the military. It has given her a lot of discipline and direction that she wouldn’t have if she hadn’t join.

“I don’t know a lot about other people but it is a bit of an adjustment leaving the military and going back to school, it is kind of like a little bit of a culture shock. Having a place like this is comfortable. You can talk to people who might be dealing with the same thing,” Miksch said.

Veterans are important resource for each other. The center is not only a place for students to hang out, but a place for advice and recognition; it’s a place that feels like home.

“I like it because the people here have specific experience on issues that are tailored to veterans, so they may be able to more accurately answer a question that I may have as opposed to the financial aid office where they do their best,” Shelby Miksch said.

Aurelia Cromwell, student veteran at EWU, served in the United States Coast Guard for four years. She was station off the coast of Washington and Massachusetts on a ship. She studied at Boise State University prior to EWU. She was affiliated with the veterans service program there as well. She is fifty-fifty about going back to the military; she has until she is 37 to decide.

Cromwell joined the military because of a call to service. “I’ve spent most of my teenage years working in rescue and life saving and I still feel a call to do it so I chose the Coast Guard.”

“Having a veterans center means we have a place were we still have that camaraderie, and we also have that understanding of different trainings and different perspectives that we maybe don’t always get in other places. You come and it is comfortable and familiar,” said Cromwell.

The center is also great location for students to lounge and talk to other veterans that have been through the similar experiences.

Coffee and Wi-Fi is what attracts student veteran, Blake Ellert to the center.

Ellert was Core Man for the Marines. He served for four years and nine months. This is the start of his third year at EWU. He is an undergrad in Mental Health Council. He took two classes while in the United States Marine Corps and he also had running start credits.

Ellert likes to use the center as his own private library.

Student veteran, Jeffery Clark served in the United States Army for eight years. He served seven year of undergrad at the University of Maryland. This is his first year of grad school for social work.

Clark uses the center to relax, have coffee and to see other veterans and staff whom understand.

“There is always someone in here to talk to, Dave and the staff are amazing,” said Clark. “ When I first retired from service in January and came here in November they kind of helped me through what’s going to be coming up and put me at ease for it, they are fantastic.”

EWU is at the forefront of universities for providing services to veterans.